Launching a new product is one of the most exciting and dramatic days for your business, especially in its first years. Broadening your offering is how you go from a business to a brand: an identity that links different products or services and gives your corporate self a personality customers can have a relationship with.
If a product launch goes wrong, it can fatally undermine that nascent brand. If the product doesn’t find its audience it reduces your customers trust in what you already had to offer: if they didn’t want this new product, then did they really want your original ones? If you’ve been presenting yourself as an expert in the field, then a product that fails undermines that.
Getting that launch right starts before the first prototype of your new product leaves the workshop (physical or digital). Concept testing tells you if your customers will understand the fundamentals of what this new product is, and it’s a vital step. If you pour resources into creating something your customers can’t understand, then it doesn’t matter whether they like it or not: they’re not going to buy it.
Having established a process for testing your products, either internally or with help from an outside market research agency, you can re-apply it at every stage as your product gets closer and closer to launch. At every stage feeding back the data you gather from customers into the design process can help you make a better product, one more suited to its audience, more attractive to new customers, more evidently useful and valuable to its target market.
Using the results of testing to feed back into the product, creating a new version for more tests and more feedback is known as iterative testing, and it can help you make better products, produce better advertising and make better decisions throughout your business life.
One of the most important things to consider when you’re launching your much-iterated new product is the timing. You want to try and hit a time of peak demand, while, if possible, finding a time when your competitors aren’t releasing similar products. Think about how movies in the summer release schedule all compete for the best time, when audiences are big because of expectation and school holidays, but with some distance from other blockbuster releases.
Your market research team can help here too: competitor research gets you some insight into what the competition is up to, and helps you find a time when you can enjoy the undivided attention of your market.