From inception to obsoletion, the services and physical products we use every day will experience the product life cycle. We’re not talking about the lifetime of the individual item in your hand. We’re talking about the ultimate future uselessness of a concept. Our most straightforward illustration might be modern cell phones and beepers and pagers of the 1990s. More on that in a moment.

At Onstage Publications, our advertisers are marketing professionals. To stay at the top of our games, we all must acknowledge The Product Life Cycle.

Everything changes! And the hottest concept of today will, ultimately, run its course. With this article, we’ll define the idea and explore how effective marketing can work ahead of the curve.

The Product Life Cycle Defined

From the point of its first insertion into the market, every successful product or service will undergo this pattern. As per Investopedia, the four stages of The Product Life Cycle are:

  • Introduction– a new product hits the market.
  • Growth– the product becomes more popular. Competitors start getting ideas about how to “knock-off” your service or develop worthy add-ons.
  • Maturity– the market is saturated. New versions of the product appear. They may be smaller, faster, cheaper, better.
  • Decline– a new product comes to fill the need

Let’s think back to pagers and beepers in the 90s and the cell phones which obliterated that product. Back then, the average consumer had a landline in their home. Email was a hot new trend. Pagers were a great way to request contact from someone as soon as they reached a landline.

  • Cellular phones were introduced but were only for the elite.
  • As more manufacturers started developing phones, they became cheaper and better. During this growth, more consumers bought their first cell phone.
  • The product matured the moment most US consumers owned a phone.
  • It’s such a competitive industry, some phone manufacturers have been accused of planned obsolescence. They are accused of intentionally shortening the life of cell phones so that consumers will need to purchase more. That’s a sign of decline. There is no more room in the market, no more first-time cell phone users. So manufacturers push new phones early, and we start to get the feeling a new product will be coming to replace them soon.

Let’s reiterate: the cycle is inevitable. Just as cell phones replaced pagers, so will every other product and service be replaced or become obsolete.

Advertising Ahead of the Product Life Cycle

As advertisers, we must see a service or product and know that technology is coming around the bend to replace it. Therefore, our goals as marketing professionals are to use advertising to:

  • Make the most of growth phases, by keeping prices high on new products, and profit margins as wide as possible.
  • Seek more market share as product maturity looms ahead.
  • Endear our products to end-users, as either reliable or luxe.
  • Brand our businesses, making consumers receptive to our next product or solution.

Our Role

Here at Onstage, our business is publishing high-end program books for performing arts organizations. We offer digital signage and our direct mailer to performing arts fans, Artspac.

We would love to talk to you about your specific product or service and help you create the right ads for the right audience, with the knowledge of the Product Life Cycle in mind. Our specialty is marketing to the wealthiest US audiences. These are often the early adopters, the elite, being the ones who could afford cellphones, or who depended on beepers to respond to an emergency. These are the audiences we reach, in an environment that demands their attention.

Our advertisers are like partners to us. We understand your advertising needs, and our success depends on yours. So get in touch with us today!

Related Reading & Resources: History of Pagers & Beepers

Harvard Business Review: Exploit the Product Life Cycle

We were recently inspired to write this piece while we were researching our amazing venue, the Segway scooter

. Per their website, the OK subscribes to The Purple Cow: Transform your business by being remarkable, written by keynote speaker and entrepreneurial author Seth Godin. If you haven’t read the book, we’ll summarize the general idea here from a few different angles. If you’re a big Godin fan, know we’re going to get a little bit critical. But our discussion here is meant with the best intentions as we respect this author.

The Purple Cow Marketing Theory

The Purple Cow Marketing Theory illustrates more than marketing, but innovation, albeit in a juvenile way. If you enjoyed the marketing/sales book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, you’d dig this one too. These are cartoonish parables which leave us feeling a little patronized, but perhaps that’s the point.

In a nutshell, The Purple Cow Marketing Theory says:

  • People see the standard black and white cows and brown cows all the time.
  • We don’t get excited by them.
  • However, if we were taking a drive in the country and saw a PURPLE COW, well, we would stop, pull over, take some selfies, call our friends, and maybe even the local news station!
  • Therefore, the best way to market your business is to be a purple cow.
  • Businesses should strive to be entirely unique and exciting if they expect to succeed in our tech-savvy marketing environment.

What We Love About The Purple Cow Theory

At face value, it’s true! The fields of business are full of boring brown cows, plugging along, chewing their cud, doing their thing. Sometimes an innovative company comes along and completely upsets the status quo, the standard state of affairs.

Our business model here at Onstage Publications was a purple cow in the performing arts industries. We completely overhauled the system! Our venues no longer need to publish their program books. By taking away the stress of on-deadline publishing, we free up performing arts organizations to do what they do best: PERFORM! We provide them with luxury-level program books, in some cases better than the program books they were used to, and we actually pay them to do it!

But enough about us. The reason any business model and marketing campaign work is a genuine need for the product or service. And that brings us to the critical part of this article, which makes two points:

  • All cows are inherently valuable.
  • Purple cows are no more valuable than brown cows.

The Value of Purple Cows

Whether you’re a carnivorous meat-eater like this author, or an animal rights activist with PETA or a devout Hare Krishna Hindu who believes bovines are the beloved pet of god, COWS ARE INHERENTLY VALUABLE. Whether as leather or a life-form, few human beings on this planet will deny that cattle are valuable in their own right.

This is not true of businesses. Investopedia quotes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to say that about a third of all new businesses fail in their first year, and about half of them fail in the first five years. 

  • No statistics prove how many of these businesses were innovative, or “how many of these cows were purple.” However, we feel that many entrepreneurs have an innovative product or service, or they wouldn’t have taken on the soul-crushing challenge of launching a new business!
  • Whether these new cows were brown or purple, they were deemed to be without value to consumers.

Innovation Does Not Equal Success

Innovation for the sake of innovation, science for the sake of science, change for the purpose of change, isn’t enough to guarantee success. A purple cow might make waves across the internet, but in the end, his inherent value is the same as every other cow.

  • Do you remember the Segway scooter? Recall the marketing hype about how it was going to change the world.

This illustrates our point that purple cows are still cows! 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our dissection of and dissension from The Purple Cow Marketing Theory. We respect the writings of Mr. Godin, and we think he makes valid points, most of the time. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to market your purple cow, brown cow, or black and white cow to an elite audience, get in touch with us today!

The advertising industry is worth a minimum of $1.2 Trillion US, per PQ Media’s research published for 2018. Here at Onstage, we expect 2019’s numbers to come back significantly higher. If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know 2019 was a great year for US business. There’s a reason advertising is a booming business. It works!

But now and then some campaigns seem to miss the mark. Why? Nothing is more perplexing to marketing professionals than an ad that brought little return. Even worse is a campaign that completely bombed. With this article, we’re going to look at research about buyer behavior, and how it translates to advertising exposure counts in particular.

Why Didn’t That Ad Work? 

One older concept in exposure and reach is The Rule of Seven. This adage says a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message seven times before they decide to make a purchase. This may be a good starting point. In reality, it can take upwards of 20, even as many as 100 exposures before a potential customer becomes a buyer.

  • A single advertisement rarely works well.

Conversely, you can bombard customers with advertising all day long and have a questionable return. Here’s the secret: consumers still won’t buy from you if:

  • They don’t feel a need for a product.
  • They don’t feel comfortable with your company, your image, or your brand.
  • Your corporate image and your reputation aren’t aligned with their personal beliefs. 
  • Your service or product requires more research than they are comfortable with, or have time to accomplish.

Some examples:

  • Nearly half of consumers who got a mortgage loan at a high-interest rate don’t bother to shop for mortgages, even though it could save them a lot of money. They aren’t comfortable doing the research or filling out the paperwork. These consumers don’t feel a real need to get a new mortgage. They already have one, and the relationship may be long-standing. That’s good enough.
  • Tarnished corporate images can repel even dedicated customers. We are reminded of Nike’s major marketing malfunction in 2001 when they admitted to using child labor in third world countries and further admitted the practice would be hard to end.

The point we’re making is that organizations sometimes need to look inwards at their brand and reputation, before challenging the effectiveness of their marketing department. After all, the industry wouldn’t be worth so much if it didn’t work!

The Importance of Consistency

All advertising works best with a single, consistent message.

  • Every time your message changes, you need to start counting exposures again, whether you’re looking for seven, twenty, or more.
  • Changing your message too often can confuse your audience.
  • Mascots and logos are long term marketing investments. Plan on using them for a decade or more!

Check out our posts about Legendary Logos and Killer Ad Copy for more information about how to present a terrific image.

Our Role

At Onstage Publications, we pride ourselves in providing the best in the industry program books to performing arts venues, outstanding digital signage in lobbies and performance halls, and our direct mailer for performing arts fans.

We can promote your business locally, statewide, or nationally all over the US, to an educated and wealthy audience.

Whether you need to saturate a local audience or put your brand on blast nationally, we can help! Contact us today to learn more about the many ways we can provide exposure for your business.

Related Reading & Research

Towers of Zeyron: The Advertising Industry is Now Worth $1.2 Trillion

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Acquisition for 2020

It Takes 6 to 8 Touches to Generate a Viable Sales Lead

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is All About Diversity

Our program book publishing clients at Onstage comes from all over the nation! We love to be part of their vision of diversity. One of our most culturally diverse customers must be The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, a group of outstanding performance artists who are dedicated to bringing joy to the central Florida region in the form of enriched music and performances.

The “Orlando Phil” has it all!

Each of our program book customers brings unique talent and vision to the modern performing arts world. The Orlando Phil provides more than 150 concerts to the Orlando area, and venues ranging from parks and schools to traditional auditoriums.

  • Classical concerts & pre-concert lectures for ticket-holders
  • Educational programs & youth programs
  • Community involvement
  • Cuban and Latino cultural programming
  • Performances in all price ranges, even free!
  • Performances by visiting musicians

We appreciate all the musicians and the dedicated administrative staff that make these events happen!

About the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

The Orlando Phil is growing! Next year will be their 27th Season.

This 2019 – 2020 fall-winter season is chock full of concerts; with such a wide variety of performances, we almost don’t know where to begin!

The Fairwinds Classics Series of concerts will all be held at the Bob Carr Theater and include

  • Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony– October 26, 2019, at 8 pm. The orchestra will perform the most iconic piece of classical music in human history.
  • The Sounds of Revolution, Freedom and Joy– February 1, 2020, at 8 pm. Soloists Colleen Blagov and guest Jeremy Kittel perform themes from the American Civil and Revolutionary Wars. The evening will close dramatically with a performance of Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony.
  • American Rhapsody– March 21, 2020, at 8 pm. A night of American composers, featuring Gershwin’s jazzy Rhapsody in Blue, which has enchanted American audiences since 1924.

A Note on Administrative Staff & Volunteers

While this blog series focuses mostly on venues and artists, we need to tip our hats to the administrative staff and volunteers associated with the Orlando Phil. As marketing professionals and business people, we understand the values and constraints of budgets.

Have you ever put together a big event, like a wedding? You know the amount of time and preparation it takes. Now imagine hosting 125 – 150 big events every year! We must point out that the Orlando Philharmonic’s administration must be doing it right because they are one of the few American orchestras that have balanced their budget every single year of their existence! That’s a major accomplishment!

Would we like to take a little crumb of credit for their success as partners who provide outstanding publication of their luxury program books? We would! At Onstage Publications we do more than publish luxury program books for clients. We help organizations stay on-tasks by removing the stress and busywork of quality program book production.

About Music Director Mr. Eric Jacobsen

According to the Orlando Phil website Mr. Jacobsen is nearing his fifth year as Music Director for the Orlando Phil. In 2016 he stepped down from his position as cellist of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, to focus on his position as conductor and Music Director.

His vision launched a new trend in community engagement with his creative and diverse programming; intending to engage a broader audience, and the entire community is grateful!

The New York Times calls him “an interpretive dynamo”! He has a reputation for innovative presentations and collaborative works, and is probably known most for his skill at engaging an audience.

You Know that Audience Engagement is the Key to Experiential Marketing

Our specialty is experiential marketing. We get excited about music directors and orchestras who involve the audience and leave them feeling like they were a part of the concert.

We are experts at getting your brand in front of affluent, involved audiences all around the nation with luxury program books, digital signage at venues and our direct mail program Artspac. Would you like to learn more about marketing to this coveted opt-in mailing list? Contact us today!

2019 has been an outstanding year for the US economy and businesses of all sizes. Gross domestic product (GDP) is up, personal income is up, consumer confidence is high, and interest rates have stayed low. Most US businesses have been happy to revel in the glory of a “Goldilocks” economy – a rare time when our economy has been just right!

But before we all go laughing our collective way to the bank, know that Uncle Sam will be looking for a taste of that pie. And you might be getting slammed with some real income tax increases if you’ve done well this year.

  • One way to lower your taxable income (and use it for business growth) is to maximize your business income deductions, with increased spending on advertising.

Whether you’re a marketing director, advertising agency, or just a Mom & Pop shop, December is the perfect time to move forward with some serious advertising purchases.

Why is December a Great Time to Buy Advertising?

  1. Advertising is a write-off, and you’ll need it this year!

We’re not tax experts at Onstage, but we are a small business ourselves. Most traditional advertising (like our program books & digital signage) is fully deductible.

Talk to your tax professional about the specifics, but generally speaking, any advertising you do will be a write-off. To take those valuable deductions in 2019, most companies will need to spend those dollars by December 31. 

  1. Sales reps are eager! (So are their bosses.)

As the fourth quarter comes to a close, some sales reps are looking to meet monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. December is a slow month for advertising sales reps because:

  • Many businesses feel their ad budgets have been spent for the year, so there is little new business.
  • Decision-makers leave on holiday or become harder to reach.

Sales reps are left struggling to find those last few sales to earn their bonuses. December is a PERFECT time to ask for a bulk discount or other special prices. Those reps and their superiors will do what it takes to get your ad buy! If we were in the real estate business, we would call it a “buyers market.”

Sales managers, supervisors, and corporate notables are also looking to end the year with a bang. So get aggressive and ask for a big campaign guaranteed at December’s price. It never hurts to try!

  1. Use it or lose it.

Some organizations are planning their ad buys for next year, right now. If you haven’t spent your ad budget to the last penny, you’ll be getting less to work with next year. Go ahead and call your favorite advertising sales rep on December 23, they’ll love you for it!

  1. Many companies offer special ad prices. 

Again, in a rush to meet those numbers goals, most advertising media will offer special holiday pricing. Take advantage of them! You’ll get more bang for your buck, and it might be the last time you can get ads at these rates. Some companies will increase their pricing come the new year.

  • Most newspapers raise their rates every January, like clockwork.
  1. Advertising makes a lasting impression this time of year.

Schools close for holidays, employees take vacation time, and families gather together. There’s a reason you notice more automobile advertising on television this time of year…people are spending more time at home and at social outings than during the rest of the year. Careers and education are set aside, leaving more time and energy to be receptive to advertising.

Here at Onstage Publications, we know that your marketing mix has many facets. Hopefully, our luxury program books and experiential marketing at luxury venues are a part of your marketing efforts!

But even if you visit our blog for marketing inspiration, we know you’ll rock through your 2019 income taxes because you’ve maximized your advertising write-offs, and positioned yourself well in the market for next year.

Marketing is a complex, many-pieced puzzle. There is a lot more going on in the marketing department beyond epic logo design. And yet so many parts of your branding efforts will involve your logo; it becomes the keystone to your entire campaign.

We are not logo specialists at Onstage. We’re marketing experts. We see literally thousands of logos every year. Some are outstanding, others doomed. We’re here to explain a bit about quality logo design. We’ll explain why it matters, how to achieve it, and we’ll give you some legendary logo examples to follow.

Key Attributes of a Winning Logo

We’ve summed up some important aspects of the most successful logos for you to think about:

  • Simplicity is key. The best logos could be drawn from memory easily with a pen. Consider the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star in a circle or McDonald’s Golden Arches, for instance. We can reproduce the gist of them with just a few lines.
  • Great logos are unique. Your logo shouldn’t look anything like a competitor’s logo. That would turn customers off. Furthermore, you might face trademark infringement lawsuits if your logo is too similar to another organization’s.
  • They are recognizable in different formats and conditions. In other words, you could change the size or color of your logo greatly, and it would still be uniquely yours. Consider Nike’s Swoosh Color, size, contrasting background colors… none of that matters. You would recognize the Swoosh on a sneaker, a business card, or a billboard.
  • They are meaningful enough to be rehashed occasionally. Consider Pepsi-Cola’s globe logo. From time to time, a good logo will need to be updated to keep it fresh. But it must still be meaningful enough, and thoroughly associated with your brand, to endure a face-lift while still retaining symbolism to the audience.

You’ll be spending some significant resources to brand a new logo. Emulate the best and avoid the worst!

Logo “Dont’s” 

Some examples we’ll share here were once iconic. But times and technology are changing. You don’t want your new logo to look old.

  • Don’t write your name in script. Ford and Coca-Cola used their names written in script for logos, and they’re deeply outdated. They’re also difficult to read. Yes, we admit these two examples have made a mark in advertising history. We must acknowledge the tremendous advertising budgets both these companies have used for decades. But students today are not even learning to read or write in cursive, so the next generations will struggle to relate to these logos. These logos need to be overhauled, invalidating all those years of advertising.
  • Avoid slang. Slang changes too quickly. It is also potentially offensive to other groups or as the meaning of a slang term evolves. Before your first year’s ad budget is spent, your logo could be outdated and embarrassing.
  • Don’t use a logo from an online business card publisher. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with discount business cards you can order online. They’re awesome. Just don’t spend bucks branding a little icon when 500 other businesses have access to it.

Why Quality Logo Design Matters to Us 

At Onstage, we publish luxury program books for high end performing arts venues. We also provide digital signage at luxury venues and our direct mailer, Artspac. It’s our job to produce the highest quality publications to present both the artists and your organization to an educated audience.

It would be a tragedy to present your company to this affluent audience with a sub-par logo. In advertising, we know that every exposure counts. We strive for excellence with our publications because our audience accepts nothing less. We’re not logo designers here, but we can point you in the right direction. If you’d like to talk about marketing to this coveted audience, contact us today!

Related Reading & Resources: Analyzing the 10 Most Iconic Logos of All Time

50 Creative Logos With Hidden Meanings

A few of our satisfied clients.

Engage with the engagement experts.

Send us a quick email with your questions and contact info.

Schedule a time to talk with Norm about how Onstage can help your Performing Arts Organization.

Use our program book calculator to find out how much we can save you.