As much as we wish the whole if-you-build-it-they-will-come philosophy would work for something like a new product launch, that approach only seems to work in Kevin Costner movies. (I can’t deny, though, it was a darn good movie.)
In order to understand how to launch a new product successfully, we perhaps need to first understand the reasons why many of them fail to begin with.
Top 10 Reasons for Product Launch Failures
- Inaccurate value proposition
- Lack of value propositions for all parties
- Wrong product
- No process in place
- Poor communication between sales, marketing, manufacturing and development
- Insufficient marketing effort
- Bad timing
- Poor sales tools
- Product problems or defects
- Not enough budget
To combat these reasons for failure, there are many factors that need to be considered. A recent article by Rick Steinbrenner on MarketingProfs.com lists these 10 important steps to realize new product launch success:
- Really understand your customer/consumer. Figure out what really motivates your customers/consumers to purchase your product or service.
- Think big. Think outside the box. Remember that the customer/consumer might not think about your product category in the same way you do.
- Involve more than just marketing people. Although marketing people usually drive new products, they don’t know everything. Good ideas can come from your customers who resell to the ultimate end user. They see what your competitors are doing.
- Test the validity of your ideas/concepts and prioritize them. Once you have a range of ideas, you need a way to quickly screen them with the right target consumer.
- Put together alternative business propositions. Summarize your top product ideas, including a summary of the opportunity, barriers to entry, product line strategy/expansion potential, and rough unit/ volume potential.
- Use a new product development process. If you don’t have a new product development process…get one. There are many staged tollgate new product models that can fit your business.
- Put together new product road maps. Product life cycles are now incredibly short because of a combination of changing consumer needs and competitive offerings. Plan a multi-year new product road map outlining what could be follow-up innovations to extend their new product life cycle.
- If you sell to a reseller, be sure to highlight the opportunity from their perspective. You need something to give your reseller a reason to stock and carry the product. Otherwise, end users might not ever see your idea.
- Put together a comprehensive marketing plan. You will need to “broadcast” your new product news so customers/consumers can see it in the marketplace. Don’t just assume consumers will “find” your product.
- Go back to re-evaluate whether your new product programs were successful. Once you launch a new product or service, it should be re-evaluated to see whether it performed as expected—and if not, why not?
The moral of the story is this – just because you create it and you love it, doesn’t mean the same will be true for your customer. Take the proper steps (and avoid the land mines) to ensure the best possible acceptance and market uptake of your new product.