There’s a lot of work and also probably a fair amount of anxiety that goes into the introduction of a new product in a business.
On the one hand, it’s exciting. If you’re introducing a new product, there’s a high likelihood that you’ve done well with at least one previous product. You probably have some understanding of the demand that exists.
On the other hand, there’s a lot of uncertainty and plenty of room for things to go wrong.
For example, product cannibalization can be a big concern. What that means is that your current customers switch to your new product, rather than you growing demand. Then, you have a reduced market share and less profitability.
Cannibalization is just one of the many things that can go wrong.
With that in mind, the following are some of the critical things to know about the introduction of a new product.
Identify What Exactly Your Product Introduction Will Be
There are three general categories that a product launch could fall into.
One is an entirely new concept. It’s innovative, and you might even be creating a new market.
Then, there are additions to your current product lines. Maybe you refine or tweak something on an existing offering based on what you know about your customers, but it is also a completely new product.
You could also revamp a current product to improve performance or better meet needs.
While innovative new products tend to sound the most glamorous and exciting, they’re also the riskiest.
Don’t Cut Corners On Your Research
The most important thing you can do before you introduce a new product is making sure you’ve done the legwork on the research. You need to understand not just your product but whether or not it fits with consumer demand.
Comprehensive market research will help you decide on the timing and whether the demand for the product is there at all. Research will also help you refine the product to ensure that you create something that offers usability and features that will be in line with customer expectations.
If you have existing products, there is an advantage for you as far as market research. You can use what you know about your current customers as you build profiles of your targeted consumer. You have something to base your personas on, even if there might be some differences.
As part of your research, you need to do extensive testing and get feedback. Never be afraid to make changes as required.
Don’t get so stuck on one feature or component that you ignore the reality.
The saying is that timing is everything and that’s, of course, true when it comes to product introductions.
You want to time your product launch based on the marketplace. Are your consumers anxious to see the features? There is a sweet spot to be found. You want to wait long enough that consumers know they want and need the product, but not so long that your competitors beat you to it.
There is something to be said for moving in a little past the competition. This way, you know the demand, and you can also fill the gaps as far as particular features that your competitor might have left out.
Get Your Entire Team’s Buy-In
One of the most important but often overlooked things you need to do before you introduce a product is ensuring that you build buzz not with your consumers but with your team.
You want everyone on the team to have a sense of belief and excitement, and understanding about the product.
Have your team using the product, coach them on it and incentivize them to want the product to do well.
Once you’ve got a pretty clear idea of the direction you’re heading with a new product, you want to build buzz. A lot of building buzz means that you create suspense.
Maybe you use social media to give a sneak peek, for example.
During this time, you might also start reaching out to influencers within your arena.
Remember, modern customers rely primarily on word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews when they make decisions.
Connect with micro-influencers, who might be happy enough to partner with you in exchange for complimentary products.
Basically, when you’re thinking about introducing a new product or tweaking an existing one, go with the Marie Kondo approach, as in aim to create something that sparks joy in your employees and your customers.