According to Harvard Business School about 95 percent of new consumer products fail. The problem often is that their creators are using an ineffective market research. Harvard Business School encourages consumer brands to look at products the way customers do: as a way to get a job done. In this post we’ll offer (based on our experience) the 5 steps to acing a consumer product launch.

 

Anatomy of a failed product launch

In our experience at Revuze, consumer brands repeatedly fall into the following patter that causes them to have problematic product launches, and lengthy failure cycles post launch:

  • Brands rely on narrow research to plan a new product launch
  • Narrow research + bugs in a completely new product = post launch issues
  • New product launch hype causes consumer euphoria for first few weeks
  • Consumer brands falls in love with the euphoria and lowers its guard
  • Product issues start to surface 3-6 weeks post launch
  • Consumer brands can take up to 4-7 months to figure and fix new issues

 

Step 1 to ace your launch – Research

With so much information available online and in house, use AI driven systems to mine the data and make sure you understand in details:

  • Your audience – demographics, needs and wants, ideal product description…
  • The competition – existing products, capabilities, what buyers like and don’t like about them…
  • Key trends – what is hot, what is considered innovative

 

Step 2 to ace your launch – Build your messaging

Messaging is mostly about refining your product narrative to focus on only the most valuable aspects of the new product via a simple message. Its challenging but is critical to make sure you answer the core needs of your audience. For example if you want to launch a new product that compares to a competitor product you need to understand the weaknesses of the competitor so you can go after them in your messaging. Similarly if you launch a new product and want your audience to upgrade to it from their existing product you want to emphasize why they should do so, what are their core benefits

 

Step 3 to ace your launch – Baseline

To make sure you fully understand market behavior post launch you need to sample the market behavior before your launch and make sure you have it nailed down. You want to know the competitor brands and product momentum, sentiment, strengths and weaknesses. Post your launch you will want to be able to monitor those aspects and derive from them your success and failure points. Where you succeed you will see a decline for your competitors. If you don’t see it or don’t see enough of it – it could be early signs of a problem

 

Step 4 to ace your launch – Analyze

Once your product is out you need to analyze like crazy, as the hype cycle means you will mostly get positive data back – great news coverage, great feedback form happy customers who just bought your product but have not used it for a long period of time, even feedback from promotions and incentivized reviews (see our latest research report – The pros and cons of incentivized reviews). The problems will surface, there is no question about it. You will need to continue to monitor the feedback coming from the market (reviews, social media, call center, emails, website, etc) for the early warning signs

 

Step 5 to ace your launch – Repeat

It’s a never ending cycle impacted by many factors so you always need to stay on top of your product. You will need to fix it, revise it, upgrade it and match it with new competitors. At all times the thing that will help you the most is to keep understanding your buyers, competitors, trends so you are always on top of where your specific product is and what you need to do next and why so you keep ahead of the market

 

To chase a moving target you need a better mousetrap

So we need to track social media, eCommerce, call center, in store data, open ended surveys and what not to stay on top of a product and a market with competitors, for that we will need some serious software that can be:

  • It has to be self learning
  • Able to identify topics and interests
  • Able to understand that different terms talk about the same topic
  • Able to learn new terms that surface and their meaning
  • Simple for a wide range of business users to use

Luckily we at Revuze invented the first all automated market research software – zero effort and no experts or IT needed!

Conclusion

Launching a new consumer product is practically guaranteed to fail as research shows. Luckily new technologies can help you prep and monitor a launch so you can ace it. You’ll need to skip the hype phase/cycle though to cross the chasm to success. You will also need to make sure you don’t miss data sources as hints of failures can come from everywhere. The good news is that help is around, if you know what to look for

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