The term “Special Edition” or “Limited Edition“; when used in marketing management, intends to give the product something new and previously unseen in the regular edition. Limited Edition marketing strategy carries a sense of immediacy and exclusivity as the products would only be available for a short time and/or in limited numbers.
The term “Limited Edition” has its origin in the publishing industries where limited numbers of copies of books are printed with top quality impressions. These limited editions are sold at a premium price. Although limited edition are sold at premium, there are many FMCG companies which have implemented this concept minus the premium price. The industries which are using limited edition marketing strategy are automobiles and luxury lifestyle products such as wrist watches, designer wear, etc.
There can be variety of motivations for a marketer to launch products as limited or special editions. The reason can range from long-term strategy for building a brand to survival strategy to save an ageing brand.
Although there are many advantages to using limited editions as strategic marketing tool, these are expensive for both the company and consumers because of the small volumes. Most often, the exact return from these limited edition are not quantifiable. It is also possible that some limited edition can turn to be failures and thus, effect the equity of the parent brand. The much-hyped and much —advertised limited edition-Vanilla Coke-was a dismal failure because most customer did not like the taste. Maruti once launched a two-door version of its popular Zen car, but the variant failed to generate the desire response in the market.
Marketers have to make sure that there is a compelling reason for the consumer to buy the limited edition product at a premium. Another important factors that determines the success of limited edition marketing strategy is the truthfulness of the claim of being ‘Limited’. If the company advertises that the product is available in only limited quantities but in reality releases unlimited quantities to the market, then consumer will feel cheated. The charm and the exclusivity of limited edition would be lost if this happens. Marketers should not expect to drive volumes through limited editions. Rather, they should focus on the qualitative outcomes like renewed customer interest, brand image etc.