Marketers feel the effect of new technology more than most professions—it has not only morphed their job descriptions, but has fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with brands.
“The threat of new technology, increasing international competition, and changing consumers tastes” are some of the biggest challenges facing marketers that didn't exist 5-10 years ago, Peter Golder, professor of marketing at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, told Marketing Dive in an interview.
But as these trends change, marketers have to be vigilant to keep their brand alive. After all, “the Woolsworth’s building used to be one of the tallest in New York City. MySpace was a very significant social network. Every company should fear its own survival. After all, fear can lead to renewed action and innovation,” Golder said.
Here are three brands that may go under in 2015, and the marketing pitfalls they've made but you can avoid.
The chain of mid-range department store is struggling in the age of decaying malls—and has been for some time. In a retail sector increasingly dominated by fast fashion and speedy e-commerce sites, JCPenney hasn't found a foothold, even after several attempts at restructuring. After former Target and Apple executive Ron Johnson had a disastrous run as CEO from 2011 to 2013, the company is hoping to turn things around this year with Marvin Ellison, former VP of stores for Home Depot.
In 2015, JCPenney is still struggling to articulate its value proposition and is "living off its past," according to Golder. Going to a department store used to be an experience, but now consumer would just rather order something online, get something quickly at a fast fashion store, or invest in high-end pieces they want to wear for a long time. This leaves JCPenney at a loss for what it really brings to todays consumer. Great leadership has turned around sinking ships in the past, but until JCPenney marketing team can prove its worth in todays retail landscape, we could soon see this 112-year-old brand say goodbye.
Ever since it became apparent that the iPhone was an innovative device that would change how we listen to music, communicate, and take photos, analysts have been predicting the fall of the once-powerful Blackberry. Almost overnight, phones with larger screens centered around apps became all the rage, leaving BlackBerry unable to compete next to the iPhones, Droids, and phablets of the marketplace. But according to Golder, that isn't its biggest problem.
In 2012, after what were a couple of hard years for the brand, co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis stepped down. "When a company loses its core leadership—it is very difficult to get back," Golder said. To keep from completely fading away in an early-2000s time capsule, the company is focusing on software and services instead of phones. That could very well work for the brand going forward, but one thing looks certain: Kim Kardashian aside, BlackBerry won't be the phone of our future.
In the early-to-mid-2000s, Quiznos was a threat to sandwich chain giant Subway for seemingly no other reason than: Quiznos toasted its sandwiches. That is, until Subway started offering the same option. After that, the "farm-to-table," "all natural" and "fresh food" trends started to gain steam and affect mainstream consumer tastes, causing Quiznos further trouble.
Last July, the sandwich chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This month, the company replaced its CEO in a restructuring move. But like JCPenney, Quiznos doesn't have a clear-cut value proposition in a time when consumers are favoring fresh foods over mid-priced chain sandwiches. Unless the restructuring efforts include a complete overhaul of the brand, Quiznos is another business we could be saying goodbye to soon.