Monopoly Revolution – Product Development Life-Cycle

Monopoly is probably the most famous board game in the world, and the Guinness Book of World Records acknowledges the board game as the most played, too. Patented in 1933, Monopoly is well-into the maturity stage of a product’s life-cycle, which is: research and development, market introduction, growth, maturity and finally decline. The typical maturity stage of any given product features sales levels that are consistent and flat; Monopoly has grown so popular in its existing market and so large globally that there is little scope for market development, by finding new markets, or even market penetration strategies, which would aim to boost repeat purchases. Although Monopoly makes a suitable cash-cow in a product portfolio, sales will inevitably decline until the product is no longer financially viable and discontinued after becoming a dead-dog. Despite this, how can Hasbro – the firm behind the board game – delay this decline and benefit from mature sales revenue for as long as possible? The answer is Monopoly Revolution

The circular version of the board game – which features credit cards, inflated prices, and music from The Beatles – is what is known as an extension strategy. Monopoly Revolution, in theory, should re-engage consumers’ interests in the product and thereby provide a short-term boost to sales to offset the inevitable progression to the decline stage (see below).

Evidently, the extension strategy in the short-term increases sales revenue, and in the long-term delays the product reaching decline. However, it is not necessarily the product that will make the extension strategy work – ‘product’, after all, is only one element of the marketing mix. Hence, for marketing to be most-effective, each element on the marketing mix needs to inter-relate to one another; Monopoly Revolution needs effective promotion of the new product to be a success. And this is something their marketing department seems to realise.

To promote Monopoly Revolution, which is being sold as a celebration of 75 years of Monopoly, the ‘Go’ location – the starting square for players of the game – was located at the South Bank in London, next to the London Eye, which is half-way between Old Kent Road and Mayfair. Moreover, the first 75 visitors to the celebration at the aforementioned location were able to claim £200 ‘for passing go’, while throughout the day everyone had early access to play the updated version of the board game. This is truly innovative and effective. It appeals to those who are already obsessed about Monopoly, those who will nag you to play with them when they purchase Monopoly Revolution; by appealing to such an exclusive audience, those subjected to the marketing feel the need to tell somebody. This in turn unleashes the most influential form of promotion: word-of-mouth.

Hence, particularly given the product’s launch in the Autumn in time for Christmas, I believe the extension strategy will live-out Hasbros’ marketing aim of extending the maturity stage. But, not because of the product – I, personally, think it’s pointless and a cheap gimmick – but because of the promotion. I’d like to finish with something I think is important to remember: just because it’s the product that is being updated, does not mean you can ignore ‘promotion’, ‘packaging’, ‘place’ – the other elements of the marketing mix that combined are even more crucial to a successful marketing strategy.

© Joshua Blatchford author of Manifested Marketing 20/09/2010

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