A market level contains several dimensions where a product competes. The dimensions are need, target or occasion. The last one is a combination of place, time, situation or experience.
You can use one simple technique to apply lateral marketing at the product level: change one of the dimensions. The easiest and most efficient technique is substitution.
Substituting one dimension for another is easy. What you are doing is substituting one of the dimensions of the market for another that was discarded.
Here are some examples:
Red Bull opened the category now called energy drinks – soft drinks that stimulate one's energy. This serves the new need (beside the normal one of quenching thirst) and a new market (those interested în sports and energy replenishment).
Bayer aspirin, seeing there were lots of competitors for treating aches, began recommending an aspirin a day.
You also change the target of your product. These should be non-potential targets of your current product – not those who have a need for the present product, but who could buy it at any moment.
Examples of products that have been altered în order to reach non-potential targets are:
- Gillette's sale of razors to women by introducing pink and feminine Venus razors.
- Amusement parks and colleges that offer heir locations off-season for business conferences
- Classical music for babies, leading to the recent success of Baby Mozart and Baby Beethoven videos în which the music is played with colorful images.
Other ideas include changing the time your product is used and moving your product to a new setting. Occasions and events are often linked to specific products. Champagne for Christmas, end-of-year parties, and celebrations, while white wine is for special dinners; candy is for Halloween, while cake is for birthday.
You can also choose activities or experiences where other products are strongly positioned and move in. For example,an important radio station created a new program of thirty minutes of news designed for commuters who might otherwise listen to music.
In most cases, you will have to refine some characteristic of the product. You will identify elements to be removed, generally those elements that are anchoring the product to its natural dimension. Do this by eliminating it or changing it.
For example, a French company that produced cheese wanted to get kids to eat more of it. The anchor was that kids did not find cheese sweet or fun to eat. The cheese producer sweetened the cheese and put it on a stick,which kids loved.
To apply lateral marketing at the product level, you must use one of six techniques for making lateral displacements. This is how each could be applied:
Substitution consists of removing one or several elements of the product and changing it.
Combination consists of adding several elements to the product and maintaining the rest.
Inversion consists of adding "no" to an element of the product.
Elimination consists of removing an element of the product.
Exaggeration consists of exaggerating one element of a product or imagining a perfect product or service.
Reordering consists of changing the order of one or more product or service elements.