New as a marketing tool isn’t really, authentically “new,” its a manufactured new. It’s a carefully planned and controlled launch to capitalize on the emotional response to hearing about something before anyone else does, or trying to catch up if you were late to the party. But that feeling only lasts a short while, which means the marketers have to really blast out of the gates to make it work. And in a world where there is so much other “new” stuff going on, it’s getting harder and harder to command that attention. (Its a natural human response to be taken with something new, we do it every day. Try a new app, and promise yourself “I’m going to use this every day”…but 2 weeks into it, you taper off. This blog is a perfect example, if you look at the frequency of posts from when I started to now, it maps that attention deficit perfectly.)
New also benefits from control, if you can control the release so the emotional response only has one outlet–you pulling out your wallet–then you’ve done your job as a new marketer. But if I as a consumer can have even a little convenience, that means others can too, which eliminates that rush to be first in line, or the fear of missing out.
Decentralization has been the enemy of the old guard forever. Whether its the VHS format or the Internet, as soon as people don’t have to wait in a line around the corner you’ve lost. Unless you’re Apple, and you’re incredibly good at building up a launch, then controlling supply and release perfectly to maintain that frenzy. But Apple uses all of those tactics to deliver a GREAT product, so there’s a hype of anticipation rather than participation. And given no one is Apple except Apple, the rest of the business world is grasping at maintaining “new” stuff.
We see it as a toy company more than most. The big players LOVE new, until it’s old. Tickle me Elmo, Furby, silly bands. It’s a well timed build up, it’s hyped, supply is controlled and a frenzy occurs. It gets free press, stores sell out and have room for the next “new” thing coming down the pipe. I think that’s just about the most wasteful model in marketing. And thank goodness the Internet is starting to disrupt it, because it wastes money, time and energy on irrelevant garbage that is designed to be discarded come January. What decentralization has done is turn the focus back to the product, and its long term value. The industry is still largely hit-driven, but there has been more emphasis on whether or not the product will continue to be interesting after the infatuation has worn off. That’s what we try to do here at Zylie, is focus on how to build ON the value, not replace it with another meaningless trinket. For Zylie, that means more stories, more friends, more experiences and more things to connect children to the adventure. For the kids who already have Zylie, we hear from their parents that we’re hitting that mark. But we’re always looking to improve it, and raise the bar. People should expect more from a product, and we expect more from ourselves.