Posted by: calinnova | October 7, 2011

The Future Of Horse Calmers

The Future Of Horse Calmers

The horse calmer market will either produce a zillion new products confusing customers even more, or it will change dramatically and grow. The current market is certainly mature as it is no longer growing strongly and we are seeing all sorts of product differentiation going on. We don’t just have magnesium calmers, tryptophan calmers or B vitamin calmers any more. We have various mixtures of all these. We have chelated magnesium and inorganic magnesium and blends of these. We have magnesium with herbs and magnesium with probiotics and magnesium with tryptophan. In fact any combination not already in the market will probably be there very soon.

None of these variations make the market any bigger. These product differentiations are all about maintaining or nibbling away at market share. And in truth they do nothing to adjust the real balance of power which is dominated by a combination of retail distribution dominance and big promotional budgets.

The reason that the market will not get significantly bigger is because the technology is mature. All of the products work in a certain number of horses and fail in the rest. Our estimate is that the best magnesium supplements work in about 25% of “difficult horses”. The other technologies lag behind that. Or to put it another way existing calmers fail in about 75% of horses they get tried on.

Horse calmers are not yet in the “saturation and decline” phase of the life cycle. There are still a lot of potential customers who haven’t even tried one yet. But, exacerbated by the economic climate the outlook for calmers isn’t particularly rosy.
Yet not all products are constrained by the classical life cycle curve. Do you remember the original brick sized car phones? How many technological developments have come along and transformed the car phone into the hand-held mobile phone and eventually to the all-singing, all-dancing gizmos we nearly all carry whether we live in advanced countries like ours or the depths of darkest Africa.

And the secret to beating the life cycle trap is technology. Something has to come along that makes a significant difference technologically. It must make the product better or cheaper or more versatile. Chelated calcium calmers are exactly that for the horse supplements market.

Trials and careful product monitoring tell us that calmers based on organic (chelated) calcium work in about three times as many difficult horses as magnesium based calmers. That makes chelated calcium calmers an approach that can take calmers to another level commercially.

At the risk of oversimplifying things imagine the market for calmers in four quarters. Current technology satisfies about one quarter and three quarters of target horses get a relatively poor response.

Chelated calcium calmers have the potential to work in three quarters of difficult horses. There is some overlap with magnesium calmers so let’s imagine that magnesium retains its current position, calcium calmers take two quarters and one quarter remains unsatisfied. This means the calmer market is potentially three times its current size. That is a very exciting prospect.

So what does that do for the product life cycle curve?

It may accelerate the decline of magnesium and tryptophan calmers but this impact will be relatively modest. But it opens up a huge new potential market in horses where traditional calmers have failed. Even if this scenario is over-optimistic a doubling of the calmer market would be very welcome to most supplement suppliers right now.

And how does this fit into traditional marketing strategy? Perfectly. In the mature stage of product life cycles firms battle for market share by product differentiation. Tinkering with existing technologies simply juggles market shares a bit and possibly postpones the price cutting phase but introducing new technology (if it is good enough) revitalises the market and kicks the life cycle back into the growth phase.

The use of organic calcium supplements in horse calmers is a patent pending technology owned by Calinnova Ltd. (trading as EquiFeast) They are offering non-exclusive licences to manufacturers of horse supplements, feed balancers and feeds around the world. Manufacturers that are interested should contact them on 01453 836974 or email advice@vcal.info. More information is available at www.vcal.info or www.equifeast.com 

Retailers interested in this technology should use the same contact for details for existing products available to them.

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