Bringing a new product to market can be equal parts thrilling and daunting.
It can be easy to jump straight to decisions – on pricing, distribution, launch campaigns etc.
Prematurely pressing full steam ahead will dramatically reduce the odds of a successful launch, whilst simultaneously decreasing commercial effectiveness and efficiency.
So here is how JDS plan for bringing new products to market.
Step 1: Evaluate the Market.
Customers, Competitors and how your Company ‘fits’.
- Customer – demographics / attitudes / behaviours
- Understand the customer in lieu of your product and market. This helps to ensure the entire potential customer base is included and allows a deeper understanding of who the customer fundamentally is.
- Discover how customers shop the category. With this you can create a purchase journey and experience map.
- Competitors – profile / strengths and weaknesses / tactical delivery
- Gather all the information you can, with particular emphasis on who they are and how they operate. Typically, each will appeal to a sub-set of the whole customer base you have identified above.
Ultimately, seek the truth. It is critical not to let your personal opinions and preferences create bias. Use research, seek objective balanced opinion, and don’t jump to decision making.
Stay curious. If you do this, you will hit the true jackpot - The insights. Making sense of how it all fits together, synthesising all of your data will help you identify the ‘blue oceans’, and opportunities and how to unlock them.
Step 2: Answer your Strategic Questions
Now you have coordinated your insights, you can answer the following 5 fundamental questions:
1. Who is your target customer?
- Which segment of customer are you going to target, and why?
2. Why should they buy your product?
- How will you position your product to be relevant to the customer, and different to your competitors?
3. What are your customers ‘triggers to buy’?
- What moves the customer into ‘buying mode’? Are they organic triggers (e.g., weather) or stimulated (e.g., NPD advertising), or a combination of both?
4. How will they become aware of, and research your product?
- Which Marcomms channels will you prioritise to enable the customer journey?
5. Where will they purchase your product?
- Will you be operating via D-2-C, securing retail distribution, or both?
The most effective answers to these questions should be in the Market Evaluation you conducted in Step 1; based on your customer, your competitors, and your companies’ capabilities.
Remember - avoid opinion, be as objective as possible!
Step 3: Create your Tactical Plan
This (should!) be the easiest part; you have done all the hard work above which should enable this self-populate. Here we revert to the simple, yet effective ‘4P’s’:
- If you’ve conducted an R&D process, you have your finished product ready to go.
- If you’re launching a range, hierarchy management should be considered.
- Will you launch via skimming or penetration?
- Will you encourage discount promotions?
- D-2-C or Retail?
- D-2-C – is your website transactional? Do you have the infrastructure?
- Retailers - which ones and how will you secure the contract?
- From awareness to action (AIDA) though we would strongly suggest working backwards from point of purchase to awareness advertising.
- There’s no point in creating demand if the purchase stage is poor!
All the above requires resource. All of it requires time. All of it requires money.
But it will be worth it.
To help with prioritising tactics, try using an ‘Impact-Resource’ matrix (click here to load).
You may well find yourself flitting between Steps 2 and 3 as you decide on your appetite for investment and risk. That’s ok . . . if you completed Steps 1 and 2 first!
Above all else, remember that Strategy precedes Tactics. If you do, you will be in good shape to make a success of your next product launch!