Consumer Experience

Introducing a New Product: A Guide

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Developing a new product and introducing it to the market is a huge and often daunting task, but it’s necessary for businesses that want to stay competitive in a fast-paced industry.

The Harvard Business School says that 30,000 new products are introduced to the market each year, and according to Mckinsey & Company, less than 50 percent of those launches achieve their target business goals.

With statistics like that, it’s easy to see why product development and launch are so important. There are a lot of moving parts that go into a product launch, and any one of them can make or break the successful implementation of your new product. Factors like timing, promotions, target audience, and more can affect your chances.

So, no matter the product, it’s important that you start planning your product launch as far in advance as possible.

What Does Product Launching Really Mean?

New product introduction starts with a promotional strategy and other marketing tactics to raise awareness for the product prior to launch. This usually takes place after the product has passed its developmental stages but well before its actual launch date.

For example, let’s say that Apple is developing a new type of electronic gadget. They won’t be releasing this new item for two years, but it’s currently in development. Well, now is when their marketing team would start advertising for it. Commercials, Q & A’s, and prototype demonstrations are all possible ways of promoting their new up-and-coming product.

All of this is done to create a sense of anticipation and excitement within the target audience, while also using these opportunities to gather valuable feedback that can help the production team as they continue to develop the product.

How to Introduce a New Product

Product launching can be exciting and intimidating, and it’s not always clear exactly where you should start.

No. 1: Market Research

Learning more about your market and potential customer base is the best place to start when preparing to launch a new product. You can’t sell to customers if you don’t know who they are or what they want. You need to identify your target audience, their motivations, their goals, and, most importantly, their pain points.

What are your shoppers missing from their lives that your product could help them achieve? That’s your opening.

The best way to gather this information is to ask. Conduct some customer development research and learn what their preferences are. Pay special attention to what they don’t like about current products and what they feel could make them better. Find out what competitor brands they are purchasing from now and what they know and feel about your own brand. Even if you end up developing an amazing product, you will still need a healthy amount of brand awareness to get any attention from shoppers.

These conversations should inform your product and advertising decisions so you can best appeal to your demographic.

No. 2: Define Your Product’s Key Selling Point

Your product’s key selling point is what should compel shoppers to buy it. Selling points are usually advantages that your product is offering shoppers, hopefully filling a void that existed previously.

Maybe your product has a long battery life, is easy to store, or solves a common problem.

Knowing what would pull your customers in can help with designing advertisements and generating interest from prospective customers. Consider questions like:

  • Is your product similar to any competitor products? If so, what makes yours better?
  • What is your product’s best feature? Why would you buy it?
  • What is the first thing you want a customer to notice about your product?

No. 3: Train Your Team With Enthusiasm

Your team should all be on the same page before your product enters production. What is the product’s purpose? What functions are you most excited about?

Generating enthusiasm from the start will motivate your team to work harder and act passionately. It’s important that they remain informed and interested in the product’s development and release.

Allow your teams to demo the new product and become familiar with its capabilities. By including them in the creation of the product, you will generate even more excitement around it. You can also utilize your team as a test group and gather their feedback on the product to make improvements and updates.

No. 4: Set Product Launch Release Date and Goals

Consider determining your product launch schedule and release date ahead of time so you can plan the rest of your timeline accordingly. The success of your product might depend heavily on its release date for many reasons, including:

  • Seasonal Advantages – Some products might benefit from being released during a particular season. For example, releasing a new type of lawnmower at the end of winter right as people will start needing to care for their yards could yield more sales than if it was released at another time.
  • Competitor Advantages – It’s important to keep track of your competition and any new products they might be releasing in the near future. If they are working on new products that are similar to yours, then it might be in your best interest to plan a release sooner rather than later. Releasing a new product first means that you will receive shoppers’ excitement. Releasing later might make your product appear as old news.

After you have set a product launch date, you should think about what your goals are. What are you hoping to achieve from the launch? Maybe it’s brand awareness and an established position in the market.

Either way, keeping your goals in mind as you create your launch strategy will help to shape your success.

Every product launch journey is different. Some can take months; others take several years. It all depends on the industry and the product’s own unique capabilities.

No. 5: Demonstrate Your Product to Target Audiences

Demonstrating a prototype of your product for audiences is a very common technique and can generate even more interest and excitement for your eventual release. People are much more receptive to new ideas when they are able to see them in action and understand the product’s functionality.

If you plan on doing a product demonstration, then make sure your prototype is functioning well and that your team is fully aware of how the product works. It’s important that they are confident when showing off and answering questions about the product.

No. 6: Promote Your Product

After planning your strategy and setting your goals, the next step is to create promotional content for your new product. These promotions can occur both online and offline, and include promotions such as:

  • blog posts
  • demos/ tutorials
  • billboards
  • signage
  • online advertisements
  • commercials

These types of advertisements can inform your audience about your product, generate interest and anticipation, and even persuade them to purchase the product.

No. 7: Launch Your Product

After you have completed all of the previous steps from this guide and feel confident in your new product, it’s time to launch!

It doesn’t end there though.

Continue to measure your product’s success after launching. Did it live up to expectations for shoppers? Are you meeting the launch goals you set previously? If it seems that there is room for improvement for your product, then maybe there’s a 2.0 in your future.

What Can You Bring to the Market?

Every product launch journey is different. Some can take months; others take several years. It all depends on the industry and the product’s own unique capabilities.

Bringing a new product to market is a daring project for any retailer, but the pitfalls can be avoided with thoughtful introspection of the product’s value and careful planning of your product’s rollout. By following this guide, you can launch your product in steps and break down this overwhelming task into smaller, more digestible parts.

Editor’s Note: Contributing writer is Min-Jee Hwang. This post was originally published in January 2015 and has since been updated and refreshed for readability and accuracy.

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