By: Robert E. Cannon
The most optimistic success rate I have run across for new product ideas is about 3%. In other words, 97% of product ideas never successfully enter the market. There are lots of reasons for this low level of performance, but there is a consistency around a few common mistakes that routinely present themselves with inventors and new product marketers. These are not the only reasons, but if you can avoid these mistakes, you can greatly improve your chances for success.
The Product: The single biggest shortcoming in new product introductions is not fully understanding the product, its usage and the target market. A dead give away to this problem is when I ask inventors to define the target market and they tell me, “Everybody.” If your target market is everybody, you are doomed to failure. It is like shooting a gun at a bull’s eye. You will most likely never hit the bull’s eye if you are aiming at the whole target.
The Opportunity: One of the most difficult questions to answer in preparing a new product for market is defining the opportunity. Sadly, there is not enough information available about most product categories and if you have something that is entirely new, there are no reference points, but this is critical information for the decision-makers you will be dealing with. You must have some verifiable estimate for the potential of this product.
The Channels: With most products, there are going to be intermediate steps between you and the end user of your product. What Channel or Channels will you choose? What are their expectations? Can you provide what they require? What do they require? Are there any trends that could affect your successful launch?
Your Circumstances: There are usually three factors that each inventor / marketer must understand about themselves before they go to market. Do you know what those 3 factors are and what options are available to best match your circumstances?
Research: Many people think they are marketing their new product idea or invention. The truth is you are also marketing actionable information and knowledge, but where do you go to get that information and knowledge? Once you do get it, how do you put it together?
The Fuzzy Front End: The people you are trying to sell your new product or invention to have a perspective that is different than yours. Do you understand their perspective and can you provide answers to their questions both asked and unasked?
Your Offering: Successful new product introductions require more than just the product. If we all just bought products, we would all be driving the same make and model of automobile. People don’t just buy products, they buy features and benefits and image and status. How are you going to package your product for success?
Infomercials: Sadly there are a great many people in the market eager to take your money to produce an infomercial to help you sell your product before you have answers to the above questions. Far too many inventors produce products and invest in an infomercial before they have answered the previous questions. Then they find themselves with all their resources tied up in inventory and an infomercial. They are then without the resources to go back and do the work they should have done in the beginning.
If you don’t have answers to the first seven issues, you are not ready to go to market via an infomercial. In fact, you are not ready to produce product. New product ideas have negligible value. The value increases geometrically as the product approaches commercial success. You must know the answers to these questions to add value to your new product idea and create a successful new product offering.