Each year, about 30,000 products are produced and introduced to the public. The founders of these products wait anxiously, hoping that their product will be one of the 1,500 products that do not fail. That’s right, 95% of products that are introduced to the public every single year, end in failure. There are many reasons why this failure occurs in so many companies. We’ve chosen six of the most influential factors that can lead to a potential failure in a new product. When all of these factors are executed correctly, your company will have a much larger chance of having a successful outcome.
Building a new product is a journey full of stress, excitement, and commitment; however with the right tools, creating a product that succeeds in today’s society is very possible. It’s important to know who is responsible for creating this product, in most cases it would be the founder and the right team.
1. Choosing the Right Team
As many people say, you are the product of the five people you spend the most time with even at work! When it comes to creating a new product and introducing it to the public, you want to pick the very best people to surround yourself with.
Not only is it important that these people are intelligent, but also that they understand your industry the same way you do, and they exude the same passion for success as you.
Nike’s rumored Fuelband, similar to a Fitbit like technology, failed because of this exact reason. According to reports, around 80% of the employees who worked on the project ended up being fired. Since the team was not cohesive and were not passionate about the project, the product failed altogether.
The timing you choose to launch your product is one of the most crucial factors because you should be very strategic about your launch date to optimize the market acceptance and excitement around it. Many companies lack the ability to time out the launch of their products correctly, and other companies have mastered this art.
For example, Facebook was one of the most perfectly timed products to be launched. People were finally getting comfortable displaying their personal life on the internet with the explosive growth of Myspace, Hi5, and Friendster like applications. Facebook seized this opportunity and launched their product with a fresh new take on community building and becoming one of the most successful social media platforms to date.
Another success story is the iPad. Apple chose the best possible time to launch the iPad commercially. There were other companies who had attempted to create tablets and bring them into the market before the iPad such as Microsoft’s touch input tablet. However, at that time, people were not yet comfortable with multiple devices. When the iPad came out, people were warming up to the idea of having more than just a phone or a computer and invested their money into buying an iPad. Of course, iPad was also created with simplicity in mind. Apple knew how to create such a simple yet sleek product that even kids under the age of seven could get hooked on it.
3. Not Having A Defined Product
It’s important to know exactly what your product is, and define it compared to products that may be similar to it. In today’s market, many products end up being very similar to one another and because of that many end up failing. It’s important that your product distinguishes itself from others in the same market.
Facebook failed at this when they introduced the Facebook phone. This was evident as soon as its carrier AT&T dropped the price of the phone from $99 to 99 cents. The phone was designed to mirror the entire user experience of your Facebook profile. This was a disaster because people didn’t see the benefit of buying this phone when they could just download the Facebook application on a far superior phone.
In this case, Facebook did not have a distinguished product and they felt the need to expand beyond their already successful product in a market that didn’t work for them.
4. Ever Changing Product Spec
It takes time for people to adapt to change. In many cases, they cannot handle a brand new product thrown at them with hundreds of new features on it, which they are expected to learn. When creating a new product, it’s important to remember this because without doing so, there is a great chance that your product will be one of the 95%.
Apple is a company that does a great job of recognizing this with their line of iPhone products. Each time the company introduces a new iPhone, they only add one or two big features to the phone, so that the user feels comfortable using the product and only has to adapt to minimal changes. For example, with the iPhone X, they added facial recognition along with a few other minor features and kept almost everything else the same, to allow their users to feel comfortable when using the product. Apple has a great ability to understand that people want to adapt to small increments of change and because of this, they have been very successful with each new iPhone launched.
5. Lack of Management and Ownership
Management plays a key role in a product’s ability to be successful. The product manager launching this product must be confident, smart, and passionate about the product, and project that attitudes onto the rest of the employees working on it. The management culture can have a big impact on the work ethic and passion of employees who work for them every day. Without strong management, a product and even the entire company could result in immediate failure.
An example of this was the Barnes and Noble Nook from 2009. This product was a major failure because people could not go beyond the idea that Barnes and Noble was no longer a destination for what their following really wanted, paper books. In many cases, people blamed the management for this failure, because they did not invest in the company’s evolving brand enough in order to influence the perception of the Nook to it’s following. Because of this inadequate marketing strategy, the Nook failed, and the Amazon Kindle became one of the most successful products of the year.
- Not Knowing Who the Product Is Made For
Knowing your audience and your target demographic is another important factor that can make or break your product once it is launched. It is important to understand their interests, backgrounds, and all socio-economic information to make sure that the product is attractive to that audience.
A product that failed because they weren’t aware of their audience and who they were making the product for was Yik Yak. Yik Yak was once valued at about 400 million dollars. However, the company was not aware of who their application was going to be made for and it ended up being the perfect application to enhance cyberbullying throughout the school system. The product could have done better if it had been introduced to a better-targeted audience. The company ended up selling for $1 million, a value decrease of 400%.
We hope that you can learn from these companies’ mistakes or successes when launching their products. It’s important to do better market research throughout the process of creating your product and creating small prototypes, getting people’s feedback, and then launching. Getting early feedback from users if the most important step in building a successful product. As shown through multiple examples, there are certain things that a founder and their company must consider when they decide to take their product public. The most important of these is being able to choose the right team, the timing, having a defined product, taking the ever-changing product into consideration, having a strong management or ownership, and knowing who your product is made for. When these things are taken into consideration, you have a much better chance of your product becoming successful.
This article was written by SYNERGY Consulting. SYNERGY works with early-stage founders and mid-sized companies to build, launch, and grow their innovations. If you’re working on launching your next big idea, contact our team today at http://www.synergyconsulting.us.