I’m pretty sure that we all know about Gatorade – the brightly colored sports drink that we always see pro athletes drinking during matches and pouring on their coaches when they win a game. However, times change. The product managers at Gatorade realize that they need to change their product development definition with the times if they want to keep selling their sports drink. It appears as though they plan on doing this by going high tech…
The High Tech Version Of Gatorade
Let’s face it, the market for sports drinks is huge and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. However, customer tastes are a fickle thing. The product managers at Gatorade realize that they need to keep innovating their product line if they want their customers to keep buying their products. One of the most significant changes that the Gatorade product managers have noticed in their target market is that many of their customers have started to wear FitBit devices.
These FitBit devices are bracelets with sophisticated electronics built into them. A person who is wearing a FitBit device can monitor a number of important body functions such as how far they have traveled, what their pulse is, and what their heart rate is. The Gatorade product managers would like to add to this functionality. What they’d like to be able to do is to create a sweat patch that the athlete would wear. Additionally, they’d put a smart cap on a bottle of Gatorade and the entire system would be connected via a FitBit device.
The thinking is that most athletes don’t know when they have become dehydrated and should be drinking more. What the Gatorade product managers would like to be able to do is to have their sweat patch detect that an athlete has sweated enough that they have become dehydrated. This would be signaled to the FitBit which would then relay the message to the smart bottle cap which would start to flash. This would indicate to the athlete that they needed to start to drink.
The Future Of Sports Drinks Has Arrived
The Gatorade product manager are not putting all of their eggs in one basket. They are also planning on diversifying the Gatorade product line. Currently, 95% of the company’s revenues comes from the sales of the Gatorade sports drink. They want to add before and after game product offerings that consist of protein chews, bars, powders, shakes, and form of yogurt that will be eaten at night in order to rebuild muscles while a person sleeps. The goal for the Gatorade product managers is to get their customers to use their product around the clock, not just when they are at the gym.
Their focus on the FitBit wearers is understandable. Sales of FitBits and devices like it surged 172% last year and over 75 million units have been sold. Gatorade’s interest in expanding its product line is motivated by the growth in various markets. The market for sports-protein powder grew by 13% last year and is now valued at US$4.7B – now that’s something to put on your product manager resume.
One of the reasons that Gatorade is so interested in expanding its product lines is because it is starting to come under pressure from competitors. Other firms are offering coconut and alkaline waters along with all natural versions of their sports drinks. Gatorade has tried to make changes to its product line in the past; however, they ended up simply confusing their customers. The good news for Gatorade is that their #1 rival, Powerade currently has no plans to offer similar products.
What All Of This Means For You
The Gatorade product managers have come to the realization that they need to keep innovating or else their competition may steal their customers away from them. Basic product manager job description stuff. Their approach to extending the Gatorade product line is taking on two different approaches. The first is to go high tech and the second is to start to offer new types of products.
The high tech approach realizes that Gatorade customers are starting to change. More and more of their customers are wearing FitBit electronic brackets so that they can monitor the current state of their bodies. Gatorade would like to create a sweat patch that would use the FitBit to talk to a smart bottle cap that would tell athletes when it is time to drink in order to replace what they’ve lost. Gatorade product managers also plan on offering new lines of sports related food in order to better compete against new arrivals in their market.
The market for sports drinks is very competitive – what else would you expect? The Gatorade product managers are trying to be innovative and create new versions of their product that will appeal to the changing lifestyles of their customers. Their sweat patch and smart bottle caps may turn out to be exactly what their customers have been looking for – someone to tell them when its time to take another drink of Gatorade!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that the Gatorade product managers should start to give away FitBit devices with their sports drink?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
If you had to, how quickly could you get a new product to market? One month, two months, 6 months, a year? For most product managers, we get our next product to market when we choose to get it there – our customers really don’t have too much say in the matter. However, over the in the fashion industry things are a bit different. Fashion industry product managers live and die by how quickly they can get their next product to market.