More product launches fail than succeed. Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School even said that of the 30,000 new products launched each year, 95% fail.
In fact, it happens even to the best of us. The top brands of today have had their share of failures, too, from Coke’s poorly received New Coke formula in 1985 to Microsoft’s Zune that was discontinued in 2011.
This isn’t reassuring, and we understand. If these big names can fail, then so can small businesses. How then can a business make sure that their products don’t end up being rejected and forgotten?
Do Thorough Research
Usual factors that come to mind when determining the cause of a failed product launch are poor product quality or an unprepared market. However, there are many times that these failures can be attributed to ineffective marketing strategies. Here are a couple of questions to help you avoid these issues.
1. What does your market need?
Customers will not buy a product that they feel they have no use for. That is why you must know if the product you are hoping to sell will respond to anything that a consumer needs.
When you want to gauge how viable your product is, ask yourself first why consumers should buy it. Considering if customers “need” your product means understanding what problem it solves and how it can add to the quality of your customer’s life. When you begin formally marketing the product to consumers, you help them understand what purpose it serves in their lives.
Take this time to go over your shop and your current product line, too. See that your existing goods do not overlap with your new product and compete with it.
If you are selling your products in an online marketplace, choose a platform that conducts regular market research. These platforms often provide paid market research insights that can give you a deeper understanding not only of your market but also their behavior on that particular platform.
2. What does your competition offer?
It is not enough just to understand how your product can help people. You also have to know what your competitors are doing to respond to this need.
If your product is the first of its kind in the market, then you have a clear product positioning. If there are similar products from competitors, however, then you must find a way to differentiate your product from theirs.
Find out what makes your brand unique and use it to your advantage. These give consumers a reason to trust your brand amidst the presence of other businesses in the market.
Spread the Word
You then have to take what you have learned and turn it into a solid marketing campaign.
1. Do a pre-launch campaign
First, you want consumers to anticipate the launch of your product. Do this by building hype for it ahead of its official release through social media efforts, among others.
One approach you can take is to pin posts on your social media pages and have a popup or a landing page on your website to announce the launch and save the date. Support this with launch offers and reminders for loyal customers subscribed to your mailing lists. For example, bundle your new product with compatible items in your store and offer them for a special discount in time for the launch.
These are just some of the many ways to accomplish this. Remember that your goal is to keep the launch on people’s minds and get them excited.
2. Listen to feedback
Boosting your ads and promotions for the launch is a given, but one aspect of marketing a new product that you must not overlook is listening and responding to customer feedback after the launch.
Positive reviews tell you what your brand has done well regarding your launch and the product itself. On the other hand, negative reviews, although tough to receive, allow you to know your shortcomings so that you can avoid them in the future.
Make sure you express gratitude for positive feedback and offer gracious, empathetic, and helpful responses to negative ones. These small actions show commitment to providing great products and customer service, which lets customers build trust and loyalty with your business.
Many failed product launches can be traced back to a failure to do extensive research on the target market, competitors, and available platforms. When these are lacking, it leads to insufficient marketing efforts that do not generate anticipation and sales. Make smart, thorough marketing a priority if you want your product launch to succeed.