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Line Extensions

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Line Extensions are the least risky of new product introductions, they tap into the success of existing prodcuts and refresh a line up with new flavours, fragrances and so forth. They are particularly important in categories where consumer like news such as in snacks, beautycare, fashion and consumer electronics. The challenge with line extensions is for them not to simply cannibalise existing revenue. For example a Lays Cucumber flavour launch may bring new users into the potato crisp category whereas "fillet mignon" may simply cannibalise "BBQ" or "Fried Chicken".

The real challenge for marketers is to expand their innovation portfolios from "safe" line extension and "commercial innovation" work into true innovation territory where both the risks and rewards are greater.

"Only 27 more to go", I texted when A175 went up.

"Only?", he texted back.

Suddenly, the lady who was tending the line and handing out tickets made an announcement. "The average wait time is 62 minutes. This is a first come, first serve department. The A tickets are the express tickets, and the B and C tickets will have to wait longer."

Thank goodness the A-tickets were express. However, just when we thought things couldn't get any worse, a baby started to scream. At least the air conditioning worked, and it struck me then: There is a huge opportunity for innovation here!

We waited one hour and fifty minutes to go through a three minute process. That isn't efficient. How could this be improved? How about a kiosk that asked multiple choice questions, had a camera, and a credit card swipe? I could even conceive that this could be done at home, over the internet, if there weren't concerns that people would get help with the test. (Not that giving you a sheet with all the answers on it while you waited indicated that they were really plumbing the depths of your knowledge with this test.)

I texted this to my son, who responded that if we sped this up, we would be depriving people of the soul-crushing "experience" we were having. Good point.

Anyway, I started a conversation with the fellow on my left, Kenneth, an older man who was passing the time reading the DMV handbook. I asked him if he thought that automation with a kiosk would be a good solution. He said yes, and there were probably a lot of ways to improve the overall situation as well. The lady on my other side said that she thought it would be a great idea to have an ATM nearby, especially since the DMV only takes cash and check. Vending machines would be a nice idea, and we thought video poker games would help pass the time, and both of these ideas would inevitably lead to more revenue for the state.

Not surprisingly, I am not the first person to think this way. Working on my Droid, I found a 2004 article by Lisa



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