Launching a new product is never easy. There are multiple steps than any entrepreneurs must go through to get it right. But, as proven by countless businesses in the past, it can be done, and done well.
Launching a new product takes time. It’s not a matter of quietly building something that customers want; it’s also about timing, strategy and cost. Many businesses, including some of the most successful in the world launch products, only to find that they fail to live up to expectation.
Google Glass is the best example of this from the last decade. Despite being one of the largest companies in the world with some of the most powerful technology, the search giant failed to understand its target market and wound up wasting billions of dollars. You don’t want that to be you, so plan wisely.
Plan The Next Version Before Launching
In today’s market, customers not only want a viable product right now, but they also want to know what’s coming down the pike in the future. As with any new product, there’s always more that you could do to refine and improve it, so create facilities which allow customers to give feedback. You could do this through email, ask them to leave reviews on your site, or send out a survey to all purchasing customers after a month on Survey Monkey.
Know Your Product’s Weaknesses
Businesses focus on their product’s strengths for good reasons: that’s how they sell them. But savvy companies also know their weaknesses and how their product fits into the overall marketplace. Entrepreneurs must be wary of their limitations and work out ways that they can minimise them when launching a new product. That could mean hiring the right people, investing in new technology, or outsourcing specific skills to third parties.
Keep Your Product In Testing
Too many businesses launch a product without putting it through rigorous testing first. A faulty product can make or break a startup, so it is essential to test a product in many different situations. Don’t just test a product until failure: keep pushing it from multiple angles and in many different conditions. Think carefully about its weak points and whether failures are likely to ruin customer experience.
Incentivise Early Buyers
The graphics company NVidia is one of the hottest in the world right now, thanks to its incredible products and exploding share price. The company is famous for its graphics card launches, holding big events every time it releases a new series.
Nvidia is a company that knows how to launch a product, having been on a yearly launch schedule for the last twenty years or so. And they’ve discovered that one of the best ways to create a buzz is to offer early adopters an incentive. For Nvidia, it’s “Founder’s Edition” cards - special, limited edition premium card they hope will help their customers feel exclusive and connected to the Nvidia brand.
You can incentivise customers too, either by offering a limited edition product, discounts for the first 100 buyers, so something else.
Be Different From Your Competition
The hardest thing in business is doing something similar to a competitor, but better. Doing the same, but better, is more straightforward since processes already exist for this. But you want to be differentiated so that you can compete on something other than price and make more money.
According to CLSmith.com, the type of packaging you choose is essential. It’s the first thing that many customers will see, and the best way to make your business seem unique. Packaging needs to reflect the nature of your product while also telling a story.
Find Out If Your Product Has Been Tried Before
Before you even begin investing in a new product, it’s worth having a look to see whether anybody else has tried to solve the problem before. Most products are not new, even some of the most celebrated in history. Take the Model S, iPod, or Facebook - all those products had less successful predecessors.
The trick, though, is to work out whether your product will succeed when earlier versions failed. Knowing this is not easy: you need to work out whether your competitors failed or whether the market does not demand your product. If it’s the former - the failure of competitors - you need to have a clear vision for why that happened and how you will improve on their efforts. If it’s the latter, then it’s best to avoid any costly product development in the first place.
Also, it’s worth avoiding reinventing the wheel. You don’t want to spend millions of dollars developing a sophisticated product when something elegant and straightforward already exists. Space pens, anyone?
Create A Team Vision
What are businesses? Mostly, they are groups of people united by a particular goal - well, that’s the theory, anyway. In reality, company fragmentation can be a real problem. Not all members of the team necessarily know about the direction of the company or even the purpose of a new product.
So what can you do? The first thing is to get everybody on the same page. Team members need to know what type of messaging they should use, how to interact with customers about the new product, and what the purpose of the product is. They need to understand how to coordinate marketing channels to provide customers with a seamless experience.
Create A Free Or Trial Version
Even if your marketing efforts are excellent, there’s a good chance that people still won’t fully appreciate what your new product can offer them. It takes time for customers to comprehend the advantages of any new service, which can lead to slow uptake, at least to begin with.
Companies want to avoid a slow launch, so many sidestep this problem by charging nothing - an irresistible proposition for customers who may be on the fence according to Forbes.com. Create some free or trial versions of your product so that customers can try them before buying. Ask them for feedback to see what they think, and then use their advice to improve the product you want to sell for money.
Walter G. is a software engineer with over 10 years of professional experience. When he isn't blogging or being a CTO he enjoys coding randomly complex things that he hopes many people will get a chance to use one day.