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This analysis will review the efficacy of Clay Christensen’s milkshake analogy in marketing products that are commonly used by an average American. For this purpose the review will look at how the concept works in the marketing of a brand of dry cells (Energizer batteries). In this regard, the basic functions of the product and why individuals would buy it, before applying the theories of Christensen’s analogy on it.
The Energizer brand of dry cells is commonly used to power small electronic gadgets such as digital cameras, flashlights, microphones, wall clocks and portable radios. Energizer Holdings, the company that manufactures the Energizer batteries, realized from a very early time that the buyers of dry cells usually go for the brand that will last the longest.
With this knowledge in mind, they rolled out a marketing campaign that presents their products as one of the best in its line. The broadcast and print advertisements for the Energizer brand always emphasize the message that their batteries last longer than those manufactured by their competitors. Their main intention is to get the customer to view Energizer as the brand that gives them value for their money.
Christensen’s approach and Energizer batteries
Using Christensen’s milk-shake analogy, the job of Energizer batteries is to power the specific gadget that it has been installed in, so that the user can get the service he expects from the particular gadget. For instance, when used on a flashlight, the Energizer batteries are hired to provide the power needed to give illumination.
Depending on the gadget being powered, the substitutions for Energizer are other brands of dry cells and main-grid electricity. Proper definition of the Energizer market will help the product increase its customer base by putting in place methods to attract individuals that have been using competing products/substitutions without taking into consideration the added benefits they can get.
For instance, there are customers who purchase batteries to use in disposable cameras. These individuals are usually not interested in batteries that last longer than their disposable cameras and would, therefore, pick any brand to use they find in the shops.
To target this particular market, Energizer holdings can come up with special batteries, which do not necessary last as long as those used in portable radios. These batteries can be branded Energizer Light and should be mainly indicated for usage in light photography.
Re-marketing the product will create a new market segment for the Energizer brand of batteries. This will come in the form of individuals buying batteries that are tailored for their needs. If customers know they can get a pair of batteries that will handle their specific needs without having to pay as much as the person who wants a pair that will last longer.
The main risk of using Christensen’s approach would be that it may end up not paying off as fast as is expected. In some markets, customers are used skeptical of new advancements and there is a chance that segmentation of the products might end up cutting down on the sales from the original line and distributing it to the new releases (Christensen and Raynor, 2011).
By using Christensen’s approach in the assessment of the market of consumer products, companies can come up with strategies for further tapping into the market. This analysis had set out to illustrate how the milk-shake analogy can be applied to the dry-cell market. Appropriate exemplification has been provided to show how the Energizer brand can be improved upon by taking into consideration the needs of the customer.
Christensen, C.M. & Raynor, M.E. (2011). The Clayton Christensen Innovation Collection. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Press