New products hit the shelves every minute. In today’s competitive landscape, simply having a great product might not be enough to cut through the competition and earn consumer interest. Brands need to catch and hold their audience’s attention with products that solve real problems, strategies for hearing and responding to feedback, and messaging to which consumers can relate.
It should take you about six minutes to read this article. While you do, three new products will have hit the marketplace, according to Nielsen research, and more will be launching shortly thereafter.
If you think that sounds a little overwhelming, you’re right. Each year, tens of thousands of items hit the shelves. Some are unique. Others are upgraded versions of existing merchandise. But all are vying for shelf space, longevity, and buyers’ interest.
This may give you pause, especially if you’re planning to launch a product soon. How can you make sure that it sizzles rather than fizzles? What measures can you put into place to avoid ending up with a warehouse filled with unsold inventory? As it turns out, following these three steps can increase the chances that your product won’t fade into the background.
- Solve a specific pain point.
Whether it be for T-shirts or phone apps, one of the fastest ways to gain positive attention for a product is to solve a problem. Luckily, it doesn’t matter what the problem is, just so long as you can pinpoint one. A clogged drain can be just as exasperating to a homeowner as a clunky user interface is to a gamer. The point is that you need to name a pain and then come up with the cure.To do this, you need to conduct vigorous research regularly. You can’t assume you understand the customer experience or what people will value if you don’t ask your audience directly. By checking in with your prospective clients and committing to meeting their needs or wants, you can guarantee your product will solve the problems specifically addressed.
This is a vital stage in production, as even brand giants like Coca-Cola have had spectacular product fails because they missed the pain-point mark. With Coca-Cola C2, for example, the idea was a drink that would straddle the line between Coke and Diet Coke. However, it contained too many calories to gain momentum as a diet alternative and did not solve the expressed pain point of Coca-Cola’s audience. The takeaway here is clear: Do your homework. Then, do a little more homework just to be sure that you’re meeting a real need.
- Listen to consumers and take feedback to heart.
Always be prepared to listen to what you hear. A huge disconnect in product development can occur when you interpret consumer input to fit your goals. That’s a little like having someone tell you they want cherry ice cream and you giving them a bowl of strained chicken broth. Sure, it’ll solve their hunger, but it won’t satisfy or delight them, and it certainly won’t enhance their trust in you. The point is that research alone isn’t going to work unless you remain open-minded to what you hear and ready to implement the findings.Take the idea of sustainability, for instance. Seth Casden, CEO and co-founder of materials science company Hologenix, explains that if you’re going to advertise a sustainable product to prospective buyers, you can bet that they’ll hold you to your word. Casden notes that if the sustainability box remains unchecked, consumers take notice and begin to question the authenticity of the brand.
To maintain authenticity and the respect of consumers, you must pay attention to what’s being said on surveys, in focus groups, and during your online social listening endeavors. Take it to heart and use it to dig deeper. The more you truly can understand your audience, the easier it will be to deliver what they expect.
- Keep testing for a marketing message that connects.
Before launching your product, don’t forget to put data collection and testing measures into place to ensure you’ll know what is and is not working. Going back to basics such as A/B split testing is a terrific way to figure out which advertisements and marketing campaigns are having the most impact. However, as Preply co-founder and CTO Dmytro Voloshyn writes, you have to make sure you don’t fall into A/B split test potholes.
What are some of the obstacles to avoid when conducting A/B splits on your new product launch content? First, make sure that the two items you’re evaluating contain minimal differences. If they’re drastically different, you can’t be sure what makes one outperform the other. Second, give your A/B splits enough time to mature so you can get a high-quality comparison.Additional testing is necessary as well. You can launch to a small subset of a larger group, experiment with price points, or even test how your product performs on a couple of marketplace platforms. The more information you gather, the more confident you will be about the direction your marketing should take.
Consumers have a complex relationship with newer products. They love to find out what’s available but will hesitate to become early adopters until they see signs of a burgeoning trend. Your job is to overcome their reluctance by knowing their pain points, listening to their insights, and connecting in a language that keeps them coming back for more.
Written by Rhett Power.
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