It’s been 13 years since our case with four products was published, which gives us a bit of a hindsight glare. But I tried to fill out a list of the attributes of the four products based on only what I knew from the case, and came up with the following:
What’s interesting to me is that I probably would have bet on the wrong product(s). The only one of these four that I’ve ever heard of is the satellite radio. I think what really stands out here is how important the relative advantage category is. No matter how simple or trialable your product is, it just has to be better than your alternatives and, unfortunately, that’s the hardest to put your finger on ex ante.
On the peanut butter - never underestimate the power of the ick factor. Just didn’t improve on the original enough.
On the bandaids - that one’s tougher for me, but what I found myself wondering as I was reading the description was how often I would really need to use these at home. If the injury is that serious, my doctor is in charge anyway. Maybe this innovation is flying in the medical community, but at home my old school bandaids are handling my blisters and papercuts just fine.
On satellite radio - my sense is they played with the testability here. I recall a lot of free one-year subscription offers floating around. Not to mention, every car I rent has satellite radio in it. I could see how the technology might be addictive if you get your audience hooked.
On the scented TV, I mean really. Sorry but this one’s just silly. It’s not a major improvement and it requires up-front investment.