The New Product Introduction (NPI) Process is a critical one to get right. It's an opportunity for growth, but has to be approached carefully. Among many other things, a new product introduction involves understanding how the market will receive your product, how consumers will learn about it, and the criteria your target audience uses to make their selection.
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As you put together your plans to launch a new product in the market, there are several considerations to take into account. Of course, the details are unique to your market and your goals, but we’ve pulled together a high-level list of recommendations to consider for the introduction of a new product to achieve the highest market impact and success.
1. Start early. Start your marketing outreach several months prior to the official launch date. Be smart with targeting the right initial audience. Who has been receptive to you in the past? Work with them to preview your product, get feedback, and integrate on their suggestions. Their feedback can also help shape your marketing messages.
2. Give it a test-run with loyal customers. Influencers can be loyal customers, prospects, or even bloggers with a sizable online presence. Let them test your product and encourage them to give you feedback. Be open to feedback that changes product development—that’s the agile way to iterate and get the product where it needs to be for launch. Test-runs are meant to inspire positive change.
3. Use crowd sourcing on social media. When you are ready, target people on social media who are naturally eager to learn about your offering. For example, "coming soon" photos of your product build some intrigue and hype. Time these posts strategically and pay attention to the feedback and commentary you get. The “crowd” may find a benefit or a bug that you were not aware of.
4. Get creative. Be unusual. Being flexible and adaptable means thinking outside of the box. Some examples: be agile and experiment with something new like video or incorporate an interactive activity that your followers on social media can participate in. Giving people ownership and the opportunity to partner with you can encourage support.
5. Leverage existing customers. According to a recent Forbes article, marketing practitioners at CMG conducted interviews with CMOs, senior marketing executives, and new-product development experts and found that early-and-often customer input is the single biggest asset in developing new products that resonate in a given market.
Customers & the Introduction of a New Product
“The CMO needs to be absolutely involved in new-product development,” said Mark Chinn, partner at CMG. “What we called out and found is that the marketing role doesn’t start with the creative brief. Marketing needs to start very far upstream in new-product development,” he said. “Marketing must capture the customer lens, owning the customer insights that lead to successful new-product commercialization.”
How can you do more to elicit a positive response to a new product? To begin with, give the customers what they've asked for. By creating a continuous conversation with customers through customer engagement and social media, you can crowd source information about the types of products, features, and benefits your customers are looking for—and stay in touch with them throughout the development process. This way, when you introduce the product to the market, you are much more assured of meeting the explicit needs of your customers and prospects.
CMG works with Fortune 500 companies across a number of industries with which we have conducted several national and global product launches. Through this work and our own consulting expertise, we have gained significant experience. Let us help you design a go-to-market strategy that will help realize your ultimate market potential.