More than half of new products fail. And that includes products from respected consumer companies who are viewed as marketing experts with a lot of experience introducing new products. With all the time, money, and effort companies invest in new product ventures, you’d think more companies would take the same level of devotion to making the launch successful.
So often, I see building materials companies making the same mistakes when introducing new products to people like architects, builders and contractors.
Why Most New Building Product Introductions Fail
Launching products is not easy. There are a number of ways to get it wrong. The following are the most common mistakes I see building material companies make when introducing new products. Have you seen any examples of these?
- Underestimating how hard it is to get the building product customer to change. New product launches must overcome a prevalent “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude more than rely on a “Let’s do things better” attitude.
- Not realizing how the customer associates change with risk more than they associate it with benefit.
- Assuming that the new product is a good solution for everyone, everywhere. You need to focus your new product to a situation where it is clearly a better solution. Gain success where it is most likely to succeed and then expand the target customer base.
- Not assigning the “A” team. Many companies see the new product as a side project rather than the future of their company. They keep their best players on their biggest product. They assign less experienced people which is like sending an inexperienced poker player to Las Vegas when you have a Poker Champion on your team.
- Comparing new product team’s success to the sales and profits of their biggest products. The new product team needs recognition. They are working harder than most others and sometimes failing on their way to success. Even the smallest success needs to be recognized.
- Assuming the product’s promised benefits alone are the reason a customer will buy the product. Sales and marketing strategy is a vital part of a product’s survival. Manufacturers of great products can fall into thinking that their product is the “obvious” choice. There are many great products, invented by very smart, inventor-engineer types who just won’t listen to sales and marketing people. Most of these product introductions fail or the company remains small.
- Being in too much of a hurry to launch the product and assume success. This happens when companies don’t spend enough, or even any time, discussing the product with customers to gauge reactions. Questions like, “If you could get a product that did this, would you be interested in it?” “What would be your biggest concerns using this product?” and “Can you see anyone else who needs this product?” can provide invaluable information when creating your strategy.
- Proceeding based on expensive quantitative research and skipping the actual customer interviews. Companies will say, “The research shows that 72% of customers would buy this product, so let’s proceed.” They launch only to hear those same people tell them, “I don’t want that product now” or “You didn’t tell me these other issues when you asked if I would buy it.”
- Assuming success and going all the way in, the first time. It is much better to assume that some or all of your sales and marketing program won’t work and be prepared to modify it on the fly. Listening to the sales team and making calls with them can redirect your launch to success.
- Not being patient with the messy new-product-introduction process. This process takes time, requires enough money and views failures along the way as lessons on how to be successful.
- Not appreciating how different a new market is or how to act like a small guy when you are used to being the leader.
- And more…These are just the most common mistakes I see building products companies make. There are still other strategic and tactical pitfalls to product launch success.
Don’t Gamble With Your New Product Launch
With all the time, money and effort invested in product launches, the details can’t be overlooked. Keep this in mind as your company brings new products to market.