Build New Product Development Around Consumer Challenges
Ahhh, summertime! Time for short sleeves and sandals - which of course, means time for painted toenails.
Now, I am not a nail polish person, but in the summer, I do indulge in some color on my toes. Last week, before the Memorial Day holiday, I visited my local nail salon for a "mani-pedi". I am not the most patient person and I am always in a hurry. So I am probably not the best customer for these places. But the poor nail person! I smudged the pedicure twice before I got out the door. Infinitely patient, she had to redo the polish three times! Of course, I gave her a great tip, but, really, isn't there an easier way?
So in spite of my aversion to nail color and especially painting my own nails, I undertook a little research and I discovered two very interesting (relatively) new products.
Sally Hansen, a division of Coty and a leader in beauty products, in the last year introduced Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips. One of the services offered by nail salons is to paint custom designs on your nails. So, for example, you might have a dark base color, and then the nail person would hand-paint some design onto your nails in a different color or colors. Now, this is not something you can do for yourself, so Sally Hansen introduced strips of nail polish that stick onto your nails. These come in about 45 different patterns, so you can get "Salon Effects" (hence the name) at home for a fraction of the price.
Another nail product recently introduced by Sally Hansen is Insta-Dri Nail Polish. This is a nail enamel that dries in 60 seconds. No more waiting around blowing on your nails - just put this nail polish on and by the time you have painted all five nails, the first one is dry.
Whether these are truly new products - or just new to me! - is really not the question. Both of these product introductions have bucked the trend of high failure rates for new product launches and have become quite successful market entries. The reason that they have been successful is because they solve the consumers problem without asking them to change behavior. They get the salon-look without the salon. They get a smudge-free manicure in a fraction of the time. And they just have to do what they have always done.
Compare this to the Google+ launch last year. By all accounts, Google+ offered consumers a big advantage over Facebook by allowing them to manage their different types of relationships through partitioning the information shared. But in order for Google+ to be truly valuable, all of your friends and relatives would also have to be using Google+. And making that change was simply too daunting for many of us to manage. Google+ will be an also-ran until Facebook gives us a reason to leave or Google+ gains enough penetration to make it worth our while to switch.
Key New Product Development Lesson: Having a compelling benefit may not be enough to ensure new product success if the consumer has to change their behavior. Fitting your new product into existing consumer behavior eliminates one more obstacle to consumer acceptance.
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