When I was in college, one of the fundamental marketing lessons I learned was the BCG grid. It explained the four types of products a company has: Cash Cows - the heavy lifters that are best sellers over the long haul and pay the rent each month. Rising Stars - Newer products that show great promise, but haven't reached the potential of a solid cash cow. Question Marks - New product launches that have an unknown track record on performance. Dogs - Products that should have been gone yesterday and are dragging the company profits down.
Now that I've given a brief marketing lesson, here's what brought that to mind. Every company usually has all of those to be successful and growing. A trip out shopping Saturday made me ask myself "where's the cash cow?" while at a particular store.
I make a trip to Bath and Body Works about once ever 3-4 months. I stock up on the body sprays, lotions, and soaps that I love so much. There's always a sale for something there and buying their products is a whole lot cheaper than perfume...and they smell just as good! I've gotten compliments on my aromas before, which is enough motivation to keep shopping there. But, one of the trends I've noticed recently is that every time I go, something else has been discontinued. First it was their line of makeup, which was, by far, some of the best lipstick, eyeshadow and gloss that I've ever used. After that mourning period, I got over it. Then, the rumors started flying about one of my regular scents, Country Apple, being discontinued. Sure enough, on this last trip, poof, it was gone. I had received a recommendation for a lovely peppermint bar of soap that friends had raved about and tried to locate it at the store on Saturday. When I asked one of the girls, she said, "Oh it's been discontinued." Good grief. Even as I was walking away with my purchases, I heard one of the clerks tell someone else, "Oh that's been discontinued."
Ok, I'm all for new lines, new fragrances, new whatever, but how do these folks keep afloat when everytime you go, the products lines are all in an uproar? I asked that question as I loaded my bag full 'o' goodies in my car and realized it hasn't stopped me. I suppose the beef of Bath & Body Works is their base product lines of lotions, sprays, etc. and they keep us coming back for more by switching it up every season. Even now they are reintroducing a new line of makeup that is rivaling their previous line. They may not be a textbook marketing case study, but obviously it works for them.