Feature creep, along with its big brother, range extension, have been mainstays of marketing activity for 50 years.
Marketers should now start thinking about, and asking consumers about the relative value of new features or variants. Ask them what they must have, and what they would like to have, and do some analysis of the purchase intention at different price points, with differing options.
Consumers will make tougher choices in tougher times, are they really prepared to pay the extra for the cosmetic frill, or would they take a less “optioned up” option at a cheaper price.
Marketers should also be asking their operations people and bean counters about the real cost of adding the “frills” and reflect the savings in the price to consumers were the frills removed. In most cases, the savings are far greater than the purchase cost of the added frill, as manufacturing cycle time, labor, inventory, and freight costs, amongst many others, are all reduced, delivering savings that are often hard to see if you are just using the P&L to monitor performance.