Forbes Essentials: What are the four mistakes to avoid when launching a new product
Over the years, I have witnessed many companies fail to launch their product due to common mistakes that could have been easily avoided.
Launching a new product can be an opportunity to show your creativity, innovation, and experience to the world. However, with great emotion comes great pressure, and the stakes are high.
I am currently dedicated to finding solutions for startups in complex markets such as the cannabis and consumer wellness industries. Based on my experiences, I am happy to share the top mistakes to avoid when launching a product.
1. Skimp on market research and competitor analysis
I believe de-prioritizing market research and competitor analysis is a fatal mistake, as both are crucial to the success of a product launch.
Market research can provide important information about the optimal time to launch a new product, potential customers, and effective marketing strategies. Additionally, researching and evaluating the competition can provide valuable insight into what is and is not working in the industry.
Carrying out market studies
Market research begins in the field: attending conferences, reading the literature, participating in online forums, and fully immersing yourself in the target market for your product. Outsource research that you cannot easily or affordably carry out, and ensure that team leaders participate in interviews and research based on experience.
Entering the cannabis space, my team took a multi-pronged approach to conducting cannabis industry market research and competitor analysis. We spent months reading reports, interviewing industry leaders, attending cannabis conferences, and hiring outside research organizations.
Other simple market research techniques, such as surveys, focus groups, and online analysis tools, can help prevent a mistimed or bland product launch. Many free tools provide invaluable information on consumer behavior; Resources like the US Census or Google Trends can tell you where consumers are and what they are looking for.
If you hire a research or analytics firm for specific market information, make sure they have experience in the target space.
2. Overlook the interrelationship between brand and distribution
Branding and distribution are essential to the success of your new product launch. They directly influence the success of marketing, advertising, and distribution. Therefore, your company must carefully plan marketing and advertising strategies when it comes to generating awareness and interest. Try to build beneficial partnerships with marketing firms, distribution channels, and other agencies to fill skills gaps.
If your product needs better branding, convincing potential customers to buy it can be difficult. If your product is not distributed effectively, it may be difficult for customers to find it. Your distribution channels should align with your target audience, such as focusing on digital distribution channels if your target audience is young, tech-savvy consumers.
A great brand is defined by the recognition of the product by the public. Consumers must be able to quickly identify your brand through a visually appealing and memorable design. Additionally, consistency across all touch points is key to building brand recognition and trust. Don’t forget to use your distribution channels to reinforce brand messaging, such as eco-friendly packaging and shipping, especially if your brand is known for its sustainability commitments.
By understanding the interrelationship between branding and distribution, you can avoid ending up with a hard-to-sell product.
3. Not thoroughly testing the product
Testing your product before launching it is essential to ensure quality and meet the needs of the target market. There are many different ways to test your product, including
- User Acceptance Testing: Gain feedback from potential customers about your product through surveys, interviews, or usability testing.
- Technical tests: Guarantee that your product has no failures or errors.
- Environmental tests: Guarantee that your product resists different environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures or humidity.
By testing your product thoroughly, you can avoid costly mistakes. As someone who has helped launch countless technologies and delivery methods for active ingredients, here are some of the main steps in testing your product before you launch it.
1. Define your target market
Who do you want to reach with your product? What are their needs and wants? For example, although the initial target market for one of my company’s newer products was originally for those in need of medical nebulizers, during the market research phase, we discovered that there was a need for non-harmful lung delivery in the vaporizer markets. .
2. Create a prototype
Prototyping will allow you to test the product and get feedback from potential customers. He works with design firms and manufacturers to create a product that is stylish, functional, and durable.
3. Test the product
Perform user, technical and/or environmental tests. Especially for the types of products I work with, technical testing comes first to ensure the safe use of the product before moving on to user testing.
4. Make changes
Iterations will help you improve the product and increase its chances of success. For example, the design can become thinner over time.
5. Launch the product
Launching will involve marketing and distributing the product to your target market. Partnering with partner media distribution channels has benefited my company.
4. Lack of vision for future growth and success
The last mistake companies make when launching a new product is a lack of vision for future growth and success. When you have a clear vision, it becomes more manageable to decide how the product fits into the company’s overall strategy and how it will be marketed and sold.
First, companies must clearly define the unique selling propositions (PUEs) of their product. PUEs are the features or advantages that differentiate a product from its competitors. Once the USPs are defined, you can develop a marketing and advertising strategy that highlights them. It is essential to periodically reassess current market conditions and see if your USPs have changed.
Second, a strategic business plan is essential. Is your goal to expand the brand? Sell it in five or ten years? Develop complementary products or brand associations? Have a clear vision of what success looks like for both your brand and your company’s trajectory.
Avoid basic mistakes
To successfully launch a new product, I have found that it is imperative to approach the process with careful planning, meticulous execution, and attention to detail. By avoiding the above pitfalls, I hope entrepreneurs can significantly improve their success and the likelihood that their product will align with the needs of their target audience.
Note published in Forbes US