In these days all the media report the news of how, in front of empty shelves of pasta, the only product that survived the hoard of excess psychosis were the penne lisce, that remained lying melancholy on the shelves. Even Massimo Gramellini in his daily background article in Corriere della Sera mentions the "penne lisce phenomenon".
A well-known ironic site rightly joked about the topic by creating the fake news: "Penne lisce accuse Italians of bullying"
We believe that every company has a penne lisce type product in its portfolio. Indeed, the objective of this brief analysis is to analyze the penne lisce syndrome from a marketing and commercial point of view to understand any motivations, choices and positioning problems.
When addressing final consumers, you normally have several products in your portfolio, regardless of the sector to which they belong. Of this bouquet of products, normally few make the large percentage of turnover while the others are often projects or attempts to capture certain targets in order to extend the brand's consumer population.
When it come to the product life cycle, we consider 4 distinct phases: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. As suggested by Levitt, each phase of the product life cycle is marked by different strategies, related for example to the market situation, the level of competition, the price, costs, sales, distribution, consumer satisfaction and so on.
Chester Wasson reworked the Levitt model, considering nine possible variables for a greater focus on the level of sales achieved, which take the name of "flash in the pan" and "failure". They are respectively models in which scalability is fast, because a "love at first sight" occurs between products and customers, and models that guarantee economic sustainability over long cycles.
Despite their seniority, Levitt’s theory (1965) and the Wasson’s rework (1974) make it clear how the continuous analysis of the different variables in the different phases provides the keys to understand if and how to prolong or reduce the presence of a product on the market over time.
The present digitalized world, with the relative multiplication of marketing touchpoints with the omnichannel customer, greatly facilitates this process for obtaining information and suggestions in real time and for making quick decisions.
As we started at the beginning of this article, we believe that all companies have a "penne lisce product" in their portfolio, the result of a wrong marketing strategy, a nostalgia for times gone by, choices not in line with the taste of consumers and decisions or postponed analysis.
Systematic and critical analysis of one's positioning, perception and customer satisfaction in relation to the products and services marketed is essential today if you want to overcome the new competitive challenges and avoid the penne lisce syndrome.
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