Bob Reiss realized in 1983 that the success of the board game named Trivial Pursuit in Canada could be repeated and go at a larger scale in the United States according to the rule of thumb. Thus, he decided to design and market a new trivia game in the US. The process of launching such a product involved a number of difficulties that Reiss had to overcome. Yet his experience in the toy industry was a major advantage, which enabled him to expect the short life cycle of the market and be aware of competition.
Moreover, he knew many people and had established a good network that helped him find the best people for every position. This helped him save time, since when you enter a new market it usually takes time to find the best partners and nonetheless, it proved that the new game entered the market on the most appropriate timing. The fact that he made a joint venture with his friend, Kaplan, solved a significant funding problem and his experience in the toy field strengthened the team further.
Perhaps the most important element of his success was his association with TV guide that covers all broadcasting channels. Reiss realized that the average American watches TV about 7 hours a day, therefore he contacted the best-selling TV magazine in the US that apparently went to every American household. His cooperation with TV guide was also key to his success because he thus established a successful promotion channel and used TV guide as the main advertising tool, since he launched the TV guide game. Through TV guide he managed to secure immediate distribution in return for large orders.
Furthermore he decided to outsource everything in order to minimize fixed costs. Reiss applied the factoring system and managed to have receivables in 45 days. He then had to secure sales. Therefore, he commissioned sales representatives that were paid well, according to their level of sales. As far as manufacturing is concerned, Reiss managed to maintain a good product quality by paying manufacturers on time; the full price and thus he had the power to demand the best quality for his product.
Bob Reiss's scope was not the product itself. He had been in the toy industry for years not because of a special interest on a specific game or toy. He always used his experience to launch entrepreneurial ideas and projects. All he aimed at is to market successfully the ideas he develops. His everyday actions revolve around finding solutions. He did not worry about sticking with one product all life long, but he wanted to see his ideas come true and as an original entrepreneur he is always prepared to take risks and face the consequences of these risks.
Now he has to decide between staying with TV guide and going with WHOOZIT. In order to decide between the two he has to find the most profitable solution by considering the advantages and disadvantages of the two options. In my opinion, Reiss should stay with TV guide game and make small alterations to beat the limited life cycle of the product. I recommend this option, as it seems to gather the majority of advantages.
First of all, by continuing his cooperation with TV guide he maintains the competitive advantages of their existing partnership. Yet, he can differentiate his product in order to boost competition further. Reiss felt that people might have lost interest in trivia games like the TV guide game because they may find some of them difficult to play. In response, Reiss could launch separate categories of game cards and specify them, i.e. for adults only, for children with specific age groups, for students and so on. In this way he can downsize the production of boards and increase the production of separate packets of cards, which is of course cheaper. Thus, he can keep the production of the same board of the existing game, while he launches separate packages of cards that will be updated quite often.
Familiarity involves the advantage of less advertising, since consumers know the actual product and would still buy it even if it changed a little bit. It does not involve the risk of launching a completely new product in the market. As far a difficulty is concerned, Reiss could decrease the level of difficulty of the existing TV guide game by introducing cards with photos instead of questions. This will make it easier and more fun for people to play, plus by establishing special age and group categories people will know what to expect as far as difficulty is concerned.
At the same time, launching WHOOZIT as a completely different product would mean that Reiss would have to face all risks of introducing a new game in the market. He should start over by finding new cooperators to finance and advertise his product and also train people to play an entirely new game.
As a result, Reiss should market a slightly different trivia game, which includes a photo category and minimizes the level of difficulty in order to boost sales.