Launching a new product is a big day for your business. If it’s the first new product since the company itself launched, it could be the big day for your business, with the entire future success of your company hanging in the balance.

Today we’re taking a look at how product launches can go wrong, and learning some lessons you can apply from the beginning of your new product development process right through to launch day.

Nobody Likes It

This is the biggest problem you can encounter: you launch a new product to…one-star reviews, customer complaints and low sales. Your customers simply don’t like it.

This is a serious problem and one it’s difficult to recover from: the Coca Cola Company had to spend millions of dollars back-peddling away from the failure of New Coke,and rebuilding their standing with their customers, investors and supply chain. If you don’t have the deep pockets of an established multinational company, you may not be able to recover as successfully.

The best thing you can do is try never to encounter this problem in the first place. Work with market research companies throughout your product development process to make sure you are working towards a product that they will see the value in easily, and want to pay for!

Nobody Sees It

Even if you invest time, resources and effort into a design process that puts your customers’ needs first, people won’t buy your product unless they’re aware of it. Quietly adding it your shelves, physical or digital, is not enough to generate the sales that will recoup the investment you put into developing the product. You need to proactively put it in front of as many people as possible, to generate the revenue you need.

Marketing is one part of this: if you have the resources it’s well worth working with both creative and digital agencies, generating distinctive and persuasive adverts and then ensuring they are finely targeted so they’re served with precision to the customers who are most likely to buy.

You can also generate more organic word of mouth: find out what and who the key publications, blogs and influencers are in your industry and investigate the possibility of supplying early copies of your product for review. Receiving an endorsement here can be worth more than any advert: the right influence has enormous potential to create sales.

Nobody Buys It

It’s still possible to see disappointing sales, even with a product that’s engineered for the market and a smart marketing strategy. There are no guarantees in the world of business, but there is one important thing you can do to mitigate against this possibility: optimise your timing.

Market research can help you again here: you’re looking for a launch when three important things line up: your customers have money to spend, they’re looking for products in the area you’re working in, and your rivals aren’t likely to launch a competing product.

Launching a new artificial Christmas tree in January is sure to avoid the competition, but that’s because very few people are interested in buying Christmas trees in January, and don’t have as much disposable income available anyway. It can be hard to find an appropriate launch time that also gives your product its individual chance to shine, but it’s well worth the planning and research that goes towards giving your launch the best possible chance of succeeding.

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