Three… two… one… we’ve got a new product launch!
Or do we?
The truth is, most new products don’t succeed.
According to the Marketing Research Association, only 40 percent of products developed ever make it to market. And of that 40 percent, only 60 percent generate revenue. The chances of a new product succeeding are even worse for consumer packaged goods: 75 percent fail to earn even $7.5 million during their first years, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review.
Some fail because the products simply aren’t needed (see: Segway). Others fail because they can’t distinguish themselves from other products (Coca-Cola C2, for example). And some are simply wrong ideas (think: Febreze’s high-tech air fresheners, “Scentstories”).
So what’s an ambitious company with an eye toward growth to do to avoid becoming a sad statistic? Here’s one answer: leverage the power of whole brain thinking.
Whole brain thinking is a way to respond to the age-old question of how some people can be so incredibly intelligent and yet so disturbingly dumb at the same time. You know, like the “absent-minded genius.” He’s a savant when it comes to computers, but having a simple conversation at a party is beyond his grasp.
The chances are good that the genius is an analytical thinker. That type of thinking can be an attribute when it comes to developing and launching new products – but it can’t be the only way of thinking in the room, around the table or out in the field conducting research.
There are four types of thought processes, according to the whole brain thinking theory – and you will want them all to play a role in your product development and launch. You’ll want practical thinkers (who tend to be more organized, sequential and detailed), relational thinkers (who are emotional and interpersonal) and experimental thinkers (who are more intuitive and able to integrate everyone’s ideas into something tangible).
Whole brain thinking helps you understand the way people prefer to think, how they process information, and how to leverage those thought processes to make sure your new products are more likely to launch successfully. If you understand (and leverage) the power of whole brain thinking when you’re developing your new product, you will be more likely to experience a successful launch (because the product will be more appealing to all types of thinkers). Here’s a second answer: find out what your customer thinks.
Oh, yeah, the customer.
Product launch strategies are too often developed in an internal vacuum. Creatives drive the process, engineers are the engine, and marketing creates a strategy to promote the product.
And the customer is too often forgotten.
But what if you took a little time to find out what the customer thinks about your new product (before the launch)?
We live in a whole brain world, so gathering information from clients who are analytical, practical, relational, and experimental thinkers helps ensure that your product has mass appeal. It’s a strategy that worked for Kinect Adventures – and it can work for you, too.
Here’s a third answer: prepare for the unexpected.
It has been written that many new product launches fail simply because companies think everything is going to go perfectly.
New product launches rarely go as planned. You need to prepare for the unexpected. Put contingency plans in place. Make sure everyone in the organization is up to speed on the product, its features, and the launch plan.
Then get ready to pivot.
The better prepared you are for the unexpected, the more likely you will be to beat the odds and launch a product that succeeds.