Lessons You Should Learn from the Keurig Kold Failure

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Not only was the price point too high, but, …it was an attempt to create a market for at-home single-serve soda consumption at a time when retail, packaged soda consumption is in serious decline.

This is a quote from Howard Telford, Senior Beverages Analyst at Euromonitor International regarding the recent Keurig Kold demise. He also stated, “…this was an ambitious experiment … without sufficient market demand for the end product.”

So, what can marketers learn from the Keurig Kold story? What you should not take away is that a product failed, since products fail every day. Instead, the learning is that a company attempted to push its agenda rather than listening to its customers and providing a useful solution.

So, how does this happen?

In learnings from 15,000+ hours of VoC research interviews we have determined that when marketers gather deep customer insights, every department and channel must be involved in understanding the results and using that data to drive important marketing and product decisions.



When companies roll out new products and services, consumers must immediately perceive the value. Here are some quotes from our research;

You can market laptops and cellphones and [cars], but this is my life you’re talking about! I’m not looking to be marketed to. I’m looking for help in making my specific life decisions.

I would appreciate if a company asked what I wanted, so when their stuff arrived I might pay attention…

When marketers are humble and listen, customers will tell us exactly what they want. Do not be arrogant and think that you know more than your customers. When it came to Keurig Kold, consumer comments like these predicted the outcome:

While I love Keurig and the thought of making sodas at home, this machine just hasn’t worked for me…

I would not buy this product. It is far from economical and there is no convenience benefit.

McDonalds on the other hand, is working hard to stay aligned with changing consumer needs. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook noted, “It’s not enough to say that we want to be a modern, progressive burger company. Consumers need to see us that way: shifting deep-seated perceptions… It requires us to move across legacy barriers …” He also commented, “It is customers that decide if we succeed. We are adding choice, whether it’s on service or the menu for our customers.”

One of the new services introduced to meet consumer demand was “all day breakfast.” Consumers have embraced this answer to their request as evidenced by fourth-quarter 2015 revenues and earnings topping analysts’ forecasts, with a 5.7% jump in same-store sales in the United States.

And the company continues to change in direct response to consumer sentiment. New changes on the agenda include more convenient ways for customers to get food at kiosks or table service. Plus, delivery in select markets.

TakeAways

1. Use consumer preferences and data learnings to drive corporate decisions and actions at every , department, level and touchpoint. Build processes for information sharing throughout the organization so vital insights don’t get lost in silos.

2. Change company culture and thinking from “how does this benefit us?” to “how does this benefit the customer?” Don’t force corporate agendas on consumers. Instead, develop new products and services as a direct response to needs and new lifestyles.



3- Motivate customers to provide ongoing feedback about the relevance of your offerings and communications. You cannot act upon information that you do not have. Open channels of discussion via social, surveys, web comments, and customer service interactions to capture “golden nuggets” of consumer sentiment.

When companies force-feed agendas based on sales needs rather than customer needs, they produce products that fail. The solution is simple; ask customers what they want, ask if what you developed meets their needs. Then share this information with every department and channel so you make the smartest possible decisions.

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