Five Keys to a Successful Product Launch in 2021

Published Apr 28, 2021

Toluna Corporate

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Bringing a new product to market can be challenging. Especially launching a product in 2021. A bit of second-guessing is completely understandable these days, with economic uncertainty still widespread. However, with both consumer confidence and spending increasing, the pandemic does present opportunities to those with the resources to seize them. If you’re considering a new product launch this year, there are several steps you should take to maximize the probability of success.

1. Align your target persona with today’s customer 

Whether they’re launching a new product or not, many firms have failed to update their target persona. Your target consumer from 2019 may be an entirely different person today. They may have different needs, experience new barriers to purchasing your products, believe other things about its efficacy, and use novel evaluative criteria to make their purchasing decision.

Evaluate, then re-evaluate the assumptions upon which your new product concept, design, and launch strategy are based. Ensure they’re not based on an outdated target persona — one that no longer needs your products, does not have the means to purchase them, or considers a viable alternative.

Further, project your target persona’s needs as the pandemic draws to a close.

Dive deep into the mind of your target persona over the next three, six, and twelve months to ensure your product’s marketing aligns with their evolving needs.

2. Review and track customer feedback closely in your market research

One thing that has remained consistent about consumers throughout the pandemic is their willingness to provide feedback. Consumers will tell you everything they love about your product and detail what can be improved. Businesses often launch a product extension or a next-generation product and fail to consider essential consumer feedback. With many consumers eager to spend money, repackaging old flaws in a new wrapper can lose your business customers.

If you’re launching an entirely new product, review your customer service data and feedback. Ask whether missing features on a past product or complaints about its marketing collectively represent a failure to address a critical need. Maybe in solving one need, your past product identified another but did not include a comprehensive set of features to solve that new problem. Or, perhaps your go-to-market strategy reached a new, hidden audience for your product — an audience that would buy your product but for the fact that your ads were not compelling to them. 

3. Conduct thorough market research

Reviewing existing data is only part of the customer research you must undertake to launch a product successfully. End-to-end, quality market research is critical. Accurately assessing consumer needs, analyzing your competition, developing and testing concepts and prototypes, and making on-target financial projections, are vital to your launch success. With markets evolving by the minute, continual refinements is also crucial. You need to make sure that your product is aligned with consumer demand, which can only follow expert market research analysis.

As you develop your product and launch strategy, review your existing consumer data. Understanding what consumers need and want is fundamental to launch a new product, pandemic or not. Even minor shifts in consumer perception can signal the need to make wholesale changes to your strategy.

4: Monitor and optimize your supply chain relentlessly

Planned scarcity is one thing, but the last thing you want when you’ve built up consumer expectations is the inability to fulfill them. The pandemic continues to produce problems up and down the global supply chain, which could affect your product supply. Make sure that your supply chain is reliable, and develop a contingency plan for each element. Vigorously monitor the performance and health of each of your suppliers to forecast potential supply chain issues accurately.

If you’re sourcing overseas, monitor economic conditions, public health measures, and transportation measures on the ground in each country. If a foreign national or regional government announces new public health measures that you believe may adversely affect your supplier, don’t wait for them to call you to tell you they can no longer fulfill your order. Check-in with suppliers as soon as news develops and establish a regular time to discuss order fulfillment with each supplier. Doing so can help give you the insight you need to decide if and when you need to switch suppliers before significant problems occur.

5. Harness the power of anticipation

Pre-pandemic, many brands achieved remarkable product launch success by building anticipation. Consumers wanted immediacy in 2019, and even more so now. Consider the travel industry’s resurging sales to see the power of pent-up demand on full display. Take advantage of today’s consumers’ desire for immediacy by building a pre-market strategy that ratchets anticipation for your product it hit the shelves. Entice them with exclusive samples. Develop limited first editions for pre-orders. And fill up your waitlist with hungry customers.

Keep this caveat in mind. Consumers are hungry for a resumption of normalcy. If you build a pre-market window that’s too long, a competitor — direct or indirect, offering an immediate alternative, could steal your thunder. Pre-market to build anticipation, but be prepared for launch if the competitive landscape shifts.

Many entrepreneurs believe there’s no wrong time to launch a new business or product. Crises afford opportunities, and your product launch could indeed catapult your business to new heights. However, to maximize your likelihood of success, you must strategically launch your product by capitalizing on customer research insights, continuously optimizing your supply chain, and using pre-marketing to grow demand. 

To fulfill your need for high-quality marketing research, partner with us at Toluna.

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