1/ Running out of budget before the launch!
Last year there were over 42,000 new product launches, but the vast majority of these failed – why is this?
It makes sense to get your product just right, but did you know that the main reason companies fail is that they spend SO much time and money perfecting their product that they don’t have enough left to market it. So that perfect product gets seen and used by nobody.
Remember, it’s a new product, no one but you knows about it, so your firt job is to educate and excite them about it before you can hope to get anyone to actually buy it!
2/ Being too afraid of failure
Wouldn’t it be better to launch a pared down, basic product first, market it properly then use the money you’ve made, and the lessons you’ve learned from the market, to perfect it over time?
The market will always be filled with “early adopters” who seem happy to run the risk of an imperfect product just to be able to say they got it first!
If the product proves to be flawed or an imperfect fit for the market, you can use the money made or your remaining budget to refine or relaunch it.
You can then offer free upgrades to your original customers as a loyalty reward for being with you from the beginning.
3/ Failing to research your market
Following on from this, you know your product, but do you know who is most likely to buy it? Where do they live? How do they shop? How are you going to get it there?
The markets are extremely complex, ever changing and interconnected, so don’t just research your own market, or what’s happening right now, look at the trends over time to predict whether demand for your product is stable, growing or even declining. Also look at related markets, what ELSE are your consumers buying, do these complement your own offering or potentially threaten it?
4/ Failing to Plan your Sales Strategy
Will you need to pass your goods on to retailers or distributors? These “middlemen” are frequently vital to sales, but they need to make a living too, so it’s important to know how much they are going to take from your bottom line.
Know whether your product is Evolutionary or Revolutionary
An evolutionary product is one that tries to improve upon an existing one, like a better skateboard, or a slightly improved steering wheel. A revolutionary product is an entirely new concept (or at least one which your market THINKS is new) like the IPad or the Segway. Evolutionary products are, by definition, niche products, so are hard to launch to the mass market as usually most people are pretty happy with the unimproved version they already have and you’ll generally have a LOT of competition.
Revolutionary products can be wildly successful, but they must have a market – the iPad did, the Segway didn’t – which is more common on the streets today? Exactly. Also, although early adopters will be ready to take up this new product, there’s a huge gap between these consumers and the general market, so you have to work hard to educate and inform to make sure your product makes the leap from specialist market to mass market.
Watch this Video by product marketing specialists Joan Schneider and Julie Hall from the Harvard Business School