Launching a new product is an important day for your business! New products can bring in new customers, as well as new revenue from existing customers; they can be a driver for a major marketing campaign that expands and strengthens your brand; they also make your business stronger and stable as you’re less reliant on the revenue from a small number of products. The more diverse you are, the less you risk being left behind by the changing tastes or circumstances of your customers.
A bad product launch can cost you money and undermine your brand, so it’s beneficial looking at new product development to make sure you’re laying the foundations for success.
Your new product development process doesn’t begin with designing a product. It doesn’t even begin with developing concepts for products that may or may not go forward. You need to start with research. Find out what your customers want, when they want it and their budget to spend with you. If you don’t know the answers to these key questions, and can’t back those answers up with quantified data, then your decisions may as well be guesswork.
In the same way you’d draft and redraft an important document with expert feedback, you should iterate on the designs, incorporating feedback from experts. The most important experts in this process are your customers: people who’ll be using your products. Letting them try out prototypes and observing how they use them, if they find them intuitive, immediately useful and valuable or hard to understand, obtuse and not useful to them can tell if you’re on the track and let you know what the most important qualities are for you to emphasise in your revised designs.
The Launch Window
Picking the right launch window for your product is key. Your best chance for developing a loyal customer base for your product is to make a strong start, so you’re going to want to launch when people are actively looking for the product you are launching. If you don’t pick the right window, your advertising will go to waste as people simply aren’t willing to spend money on the product and you’ll squander the momentum you could have developed from your product launch.
For example, if you’ve designed a student financial product – a bank account or loan – you’ll want to launch that product in August or September, when a fresh intake of students are looking to spend time and money on the toolkit they need for student life. If you launch in March, you’re marketing to the far smaller pool of students looking to change courses midstream. It could be worth holding until the following year, waiting with completed designs for your market to be ready for them!