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View Full Version : why did Wilson market the Tour 90?


PrestigeClassic
07-06-2004, 12:09 AM
What do you think? Regarding the Tour 90, certainly Wilson must have heard sharp critism from their playtesters. I'm an optimist, so here's my guess as to why the racket was marketed: Wilson was tired of having people request a pro-spec or Sampras-style stick, so they finally just made it available. What better timing than having Sampras switch to the same racket? This sounds logical enough, but let's dive deeper. Not only would Wilson be able to line their own pockets with people going from the 6.0 85 to the Tour 90, ultimately to an already-envisioned nCode 90 that is more similar to the 6.0 85 than the Tour 90 is, but Wilson thought they would help their customers see the light and know for certain what they themselves like and don't like.

Possible pitfalls of my theory? Since a 90 sq. in. replacement to the 6.0 85 was already in high demand as the release of the Tour 90 was approaching, potential profits must have been seen as being large enough, so why not just make that "6.0 90" to start with?

Of course when people are conditioned to a terrible product, they will see that better product as that much better. Perhaps the legend of the 6.0 85 was too great to upstage, so what better way to push a product than make a totally bad one before it?

Does anybody really know why the Tour 90 came out? And come on, of course both the Tour 90 and nCode 90 were targeted at people that like 6.0 85, even if they there isn't a "6.0" painted.

This is of course assuming that the nCode 90 plays close to a "6.0 90." Hey it's getting late,, Now I'm not sure what I just typed.

Coda
07-06-2004, 01:08 AM
that actually sounds logical

Bo
07-06-2004, 07:56 AM
According to some Japanese Tennis mag ads, Sampras was going to switch to Tour 90 in last year's Wimbledon (or some other major tournament, I can't recall exactly), but Pete just decided to retired and Federer switched instead.

For the nCodes, I think Fed changed it (or endorsed the "paint job") simply because Wilson need someone BIG to push the latest hype of nanotechnology, cos Babolat already had Rafael Nadal playing with the NCT Tour or something.

mary fierce
07-06-2004, 08:03 AM
About 80% of all products, of all type, introduced in the US are not available after one year. It costs very little to introduce a new product like a tennis racquet, so it's generally good business to throw all kinds of variations at the consumer. Caveat Emptor.

BreakPoint
07-06-2004, 09:56 AM
It costs very little to introduce a new product like a tennis racquet, so it's generally good business to throw all kinds of variations at the consumer.

Do you work in marketing, Mary? I believe it generally costs a company a lot of money to introduce a new product of any kind. In fact, I think most new products are not profitable for quite a long time. Think of the R&D costs, the changes in manufacturing, re-training employees to make, market, and support a new product, the advertising costs, creating new SKUs, getting the product through distribution channels, stocking of an additional product, training salespeople and retailers, etc., etc. The Tour 90 was a new product that was very different from its predecessor, so in my opinion, there were probably a lot of costs involved in getting it market and into the stores.

PrestigeClassic
07-06-2004, 10:08 AM
Not to mention gravely discounting any remaining stock of the old product. My only guess is that early sales potential is what drives a new racket now. It's also what drives most new movies.

mary fierce
07-06-2004, 10:16 AM
Breakpoint:
If it is so expensive to introduce a new product, and that product is not profitatable "for a long time," then almost no company should survive if 80% of new products don't even last a year (the 80% figure is from "The Wisdom of Crowds," a great book that deals with the social psychology of decision making, particularly with reference to business). While a new automobile model can cost a billion or more to develop, I think you may overestimate the amount of "research" and development for a tennis racquet. Have you seen any "research" articles in engineering journals. Automotive engineers publish despite their affiliation with corporations; I wonder if racquet engineering research reaches this level. Training sales staff can be as simple as a series of e-mails; perhaps it is, since I've found that company reps often don't know all that much about the product. Inventory is less complex than you suggest as the typical retailer may carry only a handful of the one or two dozen frames a company makes, so there seems to be little concern about being comprehensive. Products that involve enormous safety and liability issues (cars, foods, pharmaceuticals, electrical products, power tools, baby toys.....) doubtless entail enormous expense to develop. Racquets that sometimes seem barely to have been tested (witness all the reports on this board of racquets cracking after relatively little use) would seem to me to be easier and less costly to develop. And with tooling costs limited to perhaps one mold and a tool to drill holes, production is likely cheap as well.

BreakPoint
07-06-2004, 11:01 AM
Breakpoint:
If it is so expensive to introduce a new product, and that product is not profitatable "for a long time," then almost no company should survive if 80% of new products don't even last a year

Mary,
You only need 20% of your products to be very successful to make up for the 80% that are not (if, in fact, those numbers are accurate). Just imagine all the profits Wilson must have made from the PS 6.0 over the past 20+ years. That can make up for dissapointments like the Rollers and Triads. But you do need to have some big sellers once in a while or else the company could get into big trouble. Tennis racquet companies have not historically been highly profitable anyway. Witness Prince, which was in major trouble and had to be saved by a management buyout. Dunlop/Slazenger was also in trouble and was recently sold to a company that promptly fired all of its R&D staff to cut costs. Volkl was also recently sold for not a lot of money. Going a little further back, lots of racquet companies got out of the business because they weren't profitable, such as: Spalding, Bancroft, Davis, Rawlings, Donnay, Puma, Adidas, Kniessl, Rossignol, Snauwaert, Le Coq Sportif, the list goes on and on. These are companies which likely had new products that bombed and could never recover financially due to the high cost of new products (including pro sponsorships) or decided that the development and marketing costs of new products, and keeping up with the competition, were prohibitively too high.