The past three weeks, I’ve been writing about why new products fail. The first blog post revealed the four root causes of new product failure. The next week, we took a tour of the Museum of New Product Failures to see what we could learn from several of the biggest product flops of the past 35 years. Last week, I shared the secret to new product success.
This week, I’ll be focusing on why it is so important to know the most common causes of new product failure.
You need to know why new products you introduced in the recent past failed for two reasons.
Reason One: Diagnose past new product failures
If you understand why your new product failed, you may be able to figure out how to salvage the product.
Maybe you made a mistake in planning. Maybe you introduced the product into the wrong retail channel, launched the product at the wrong time, introduced the product at the wrong price, based financial forecasts on incorrect assumptions, or did not allocate enough money for marketing support.
Maybe you made a mistake in packaging design. Maybe the package did not grab the shopper’s attention at retail, didn’t effectively communicate the benefit of the product, or didn’t give the shopper a good reason to buy your product instead of other products on the shelf.
Maybe you made mistakes during product development and design. Maybe you included some features that consumers didn’t want or chose the wrong color. Maybe the product had too large a footprint or wasn’t aesthetically pleasing to consumers.
Maybe the product concept itself was fundamentally flawed. Maybe the product didn’t meet an unrealized need or solve a problem for the consumer. Maybe the product was not unique or superior to competitive products. Maybe the product failed to deliver promised claims/benefits or did not perform to the expectations of the consumer.
If the mistake was a planning mistake, you might be able to salvage the product by adjusting pricing, targeting a different channel of distribution, or allocating more money for marketing support.
If the mistake was package design, you might be able to salvage the product by redesigning the packaging.
If the product concept itself was fundamentally flawed or the product was not user-friendly, did not meet consumer expectations, or deliver promised claims/benefits, there is not much you could do to salvage the product.
Do you know why your new products failed? If not, you need to find out. Contact me to find out how.
Reason two: Avoid making the same mistakes in the future
Second, if you understand why new products failed in the past, you can screen out ill-fated concepts before you spend much time and money on product development.
Let’s face it: the odds that the new product you are currently developing is going to fail are about the same as the odds that a heavy gambler will win money in the long term — 19 to 1.
There’s not much gamblers can do beat the odds. Even the savviest most experienced gambler is going to lose far more money than he wins in the long run.
There is, however, a lot you can do to beat the odds. You won’t ever be able to achieve anywhere near perfect success rate – there are just too many things that can go wrong, many of which are out of your control. But you CAN increase the likelihood that the new products you launch will be successful.
The single most important thing you can do to increase the likelihood that the new products you launch will be successful is to make sure that they meet unrealized needs or solve problems for the consumer. If a product doesn’t meet a need or solve a problem for the consumer, it will fail. Why? Because if consumers don’t think the product will meet a need or solve a problem for them, it is highly unlikely that they will purchase it.
Next week, I’ll be starting a new series on the five-step process you can use to make sure that the products you develop meet unrealized needs and solve problems for the consumer. Follow this process and you will increase the likelihood that the new products you launch will be successful.
Find out how to increase your odds of new product success. Click Here to Download the Beat the Odds eBook.