Google, a company founded in 1998, has grown from a search engine company to a global technology company used by billions of people (From the garage to the Googleplex, n.d.). Two products that are in different phases of their lifecycle are the Google Pixel 6 and the Google Home Mini. The brand-new Google Pixel 6 is in the introduction phase of the product life cycle, while the Google Home Mini has been in the market for 4 years and is growing toward maturity. Google uses different pricing and marketing strategies for both products as is expected in their different phases in their lifecycles.
Google Home Mini: Growth Phase of the Product Life Cycle
The Google Home, originally released in 2016, was Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo and Alexa, which was released in 2014 (de Looper, 2019). The Google Home Mini, now called the Google Nest, was released in October 2017 as a response to Amazon’s Echo Dot (Eadiccio, 2017), solidifying Google’s position as second to the market behind Amazon in the smart speaker market yet again. Currently, there are 52 million Google Home users worldwide, and 22% of Americans own a Google Home (Google Home Statistics That Predict the Landscape of Smart Speakers, 2021). The Google Home is still growing in sales, and the size of the smart speaker market is supposed to double to reach USD 15.6 billion by 2025, growing from USD 8.4 billion in 2019 (Smart Speaker Market, 2020). So, although the smart speaker market seems to be nearing maturity, it is still in the Growth phase of the product life cycle.
Although the Google Home Mini, now called the Google Nest Mini, is not in its introduction phase anymore, and is growing steadily in the growth phase, Google still invests in ads and marketing. Recent ads highlight the device’s ability to switch between languages and take voice commands to be useful to families (Hughes, 2020). In Google Store, the Nest Mini’s page does not contain the word “new” at all. The page discusses how the Nest Mini has improved, but it mostly plays on its features and what it can do ().
Google has slashed the prices of the device to half of its usual price in aggressive discounting, so that it is now very inexpensive and accessible at $24.99 (Baker, 2021). This is a penetration pricing strategy, where the price is dropped in order to undercut the market and gain market share, attracting customers away from competitors like the Amazon Echo Dot (Blechschmidt, 2019). Distribution of the Nest Mini, is through the Google Store, electronics resellers like Best Buy, Target. Walmart, other big box stores, and other partner resale channels.
Google Pixel 6: Introduction Phase of the Product Life Cycle
The Google Pixel, a refined Android smartphone by the maker of Android itself, resembles an iPhone in styling and with better performance than its Android counterparts, has been through many revisions over the year. The latest phone, the Pixel 6, was released in October 2021 after months of hype. There is a Pro version of this phone, as well, with specifications that beat any other phone made thus far (as of December 2021) in storage, memory, processor, and battery life (Segan & Winkelman, 2021). New to market, it is subject to supply chain problems, lack of manufacturing capacity, backorders, and even order waitlists. There is currently such a waitlist for the Google Pixel 6 Pro that it is currently impossible to buy one directly from Google without going through their waitlist process (Hector, 2021). Being less than two months after release, still marketing hard, and experiencing supply chain and inventory issues, the Pixel 6 is definitely in its introduction phase of the product life cycle.
The Google Pixel 6 is priced comparably to the Apple iPhone 13 and is priced significantly less expensive than Samsung’s newest phones, the Galaxy Fold 3 and Flip 3. Smartphones are usually sold with the price skimming approach, which is close to a premium pricing strategy. In this strategy, smartphone manufacturers use the energy and excitement around the launch to make the most money possible from the early adopters (Blechschmidt, 2019). The price then drops as a product leaves the introduction phase of its product life cycle and moves toward maturity.
The Google Pixel 6 is plastered through social media marketing, email marketing, web ads, and the Google Store. Everywhere, it is marketed as being “new.” On the Pixel’s page in the Google Store, the word “new” appears 20 times, and they focus on how the Pixel has been reimagined and redesigned to be better than ever. In addition, Google talks about it inclusivity and customized Pixel 6 is (Pixel 6, n.d.). Google’s ads discuss how the Pixel is more inclusive than ever, accurately capturing every skin tone, and being inclusive with phone camera technology is a revolutionary concept (Pocock, 2021). Google is pushing the ads hard. They are spending more on marketing the Pixel 6 than any other previous Google phone (Wilde, 2021). Distribution of the Google Pixel 6, as well as any Google electronic purchase, is through the Google Store, cell carriers, electronics resellers like Best Buy, Target. Walmart, other big box stores, and other partner resale channels.
Effects on Company Marketing Strategies
Google is settled into a predictable growth phase with reliable supply and distribution for the Google Nest Mini (Google Home Mini), so marketing of it is at a point of stability. Google is putting all efforts into launching and promoting the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro. Google is not launching other new products at the same time as the Pixel 6, as it is taking most of the company’s brand and marketing power to create hype for the product. One of the obstacles surrounding the waitlists and the supply chain issues with the Pixel 6 is that customers may get angry or lose interest, waiting for the ability to buy the phone. This is a huge risk, since alternate products are immediate options for consumers. Early adopters can only sustain momentum initially, and if there are no phones to deliver to them, then the launch has the potential risk of falling on its face. Once the Pixel 6 line reaches the growth phase of its life cycle, Google will pivot most of its marketing to its next product launch.
As the Pixel 6 moves through its lifecycle, the price will drop, and it will take a penetration pricing strategy. As the Nest Home Mini reaches maturity, its sales will plateau and it will eventually reach decline, where it will be replaced by a newer model. In electronics such as smartphones and smart speakers, manufacturers like Google tend to force the decline of older products by making the product “end of sale” or “end of life,” replacing it with a newer product.
Right now, the Google Pixel 6 launch is Google’s focus as Google hypes the product into its introduction into the market and prices are following a skimming pricing strategy. Early adopters are hungry for the product and are waiting for the opportunity to purchase a phone when it is available again in stock. Older products like the Google Nest Home Mini are still in the growth phase but are not receiving the same marketing attention and energy were involved when they were launched, and the price has dropped into a penetration strategy. They are in stock online and in every retail box store.
by Art Ocain
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