6 product launch challenges that require agile product development solutions
Launching a successful new product means truly understanding your consumers and what they need.
Developing new products is now hyper-paced for many brands and more essential to success than ever. Remaining relevant, maintaining growth and entering new markets can expand profit potential. But for every new product that is successfully brought to market, there are hundreds if not thousands that haven’t.
There are countless companies vying for share-of-wallet. This forces companies to stay vigilant beyond back-end design, engineering and prototypes. To win the race from confident ideation to successful execution, companies must rely on calculated steps to guide the development and marketing decisions along the way.
Let’s take a look at six key product development challenges and the ways to help resolve them all.
1. Cutting your time-to-market
Shaving weeks off a development timeline could guarantee companies the space to capitalize on everything from being first-to-market and seasonal demands and trending topics to dominating hypercompetitive markets. But the urge to save time also allows opportunities to skip vital development phases that normally produce key results.
Sacrificing quality insights for speed isn’t just risky – it’s completely unnecessary. Trust in each development phase. No matter how quickly you work in these initial steps, they will only provide limited short-term returns. You need this time up front to test and retest to ensure the viability of the product in the long term market. The key here is to save time on the things that can be streamlined.
2. Ideation drives innovation
The genesis of product development means a flurry of ideas both big and small, and it’s always best to start with your customers. When you land that killer idea, it’s critical to whittle down, refine and reject poor performers until a single concept is chosen to cross the finish line. But the odds that your one idea will yield disruptive success is fairly slim. You can’t afford to choose the wrong one.
Early-stage screening and customer feedback mean hundreds of ideas can be distilled to a single strong consumer-approved product because you’re actively refining your ideation during the process. Connecting with customers ensures that you streamline your ideas with a target audience and asses specific criteria to drop on the way to the product coming to fruition. Because you’re consulting the very consumers you want to eventually buy your new product, you’ll be able to find out which refined idea has the most appeal.
3. Leading customers to your new product
A consumer’s dollars may be interchangeable, but they can still only spend each dollar once. To spend money on your new product, consumers need to stop spending it on something else. Figure out how to motivate them to do that so you can capture that spending.
Key initial feedback and follow-up data help establish market gaps so you can successfully refine your product and marketing needs to gain consumers. Those kinds of tools help analyze segments and allow companies to delve into consumer needs to, in turn, establish a solid idea of potential buying habits.
4. Proving your product’s viability
Establishing enough information to confirm the authenticity of your product is one thing. That product harmoniously integrating with your brand and being disruptive enough without creating unrealistic expectations is another.
A brand can’t suddenly do something different and expect consumers to outright accept it. Testing the veracity of a concept via a prototype or other means can offer discoveries on how to give consumers realistic, believable context on the product that encourages them to buy.
Is your product different? Does it willingly satisfy customer needs? Will the product arrive on the market at an optimal time? Are there beneficial profit margins within an achievable timeframe? Strategizing and answering fundamental questions during the process will allow you to move to more tactical aspects of getting your product to market.
5. Establishing an initial price
Charge too much for your product and consumers will pass it over immediately. Charge too little and you risk losing out on profits — not to mention leaving its market value position undervalued and stagnant.
Pricing isn’t about finding the top-end amount that a consumer will accept. It’s about using the process to discover what price ranges can motivate a consumer to make a purchase.
These include where consumers would expect to see the item, how much legwork your marketing materials need to do, what existing products can serve as reference points and what bottom-line price points motivate versus which ones deter. All these factors put practical but insightful limits on what your consumers will pay for your product.
6. Implementing actionable post-launch refinement
Post-launch is just as important — if not more — because the immediate days, weeks and months afterward have the biggest impact on how to refine your product.
You can effectively update the product to boost its profitability only when consumers use it or not. But you must remain vigilant and make sure you’re gaining the proper post-launch sales and customer-based information.
These include whether sales rates meet expectations or whether consumer attitudes pan out as planned. The expense of this ongoing research and the post-launch results can’t outweigh its benefit toward the specific goals your company hopes to achieve. But within the scope of the post-launch period, continual improvement and evolution should be as important as early development.