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Was Marketing Research Done on This New Product?
Consider the following truths about today's consumers:
Put them all together and come up with a new product: peeled, packaged bananas. Meet the next entrant in the "What Were They Thinking?" awards!
As Time remarked, “Gee, I would enjoy this banana so much more if I didn’t have to take off the peel,” said no one ever. Now, German-owned grocery chain Billa has the answer to the question nobody was asking: pre-peeled, repackaged bananas."
Now, let's just think about this a moment. Could there be a product more perfectly packaged than the banana? The peel protects and preserves the fruit, instantly communicates content as well as quality, is easy to access and remove (so easy a monkey can do it!), and it easily comes in single or multi-packs. Not to mention that the price is right!
I get buying pre-cleaned and cut vegetables to save time and I have been known to purchase fruit salad from my grocer's produce section. I get peeled sweet corn, because I personally hate shucking corn. But pre-peeled bananas? Frankly never been one of my top food complaints. So Billa decided to get rid of the peel and put it in a plastic tray wrapped with clear plastic film - adding both labor and cost to the product! Exactly what unmet customer need were they trying to fulfill? Perhaps they were thinking about the percipient danger represented by all those discarded banana peels!
To take this one step further, Billa advertises that it is the "common sense" supermarket!
Upon introducing this product, the typical social media firestorm took place. Consumers railed against Billa's Bananas as "the ultimate symbol of waste and the throw-away society." Greenpeace even got into the fray and Billa apologized and took down their Facebook page.
How do mistakes like this happen? Why didn't anyone think about doing a little simple marketing research? Did no one at Billa's questioned this new product introduction - even a little? Given that social media was so quick to kill the new product, why not test it first in new media? (Companies always say they don't do marketing research because they are afraid that competitors will steal their ideas, but I don't think Billa had much to worry about on this one!) I don't think it would have cost much to find out that peeled bananas won't sell.
(Think about some of the questions they could have asked: In an average day, how many minutes do you spend peeling bananas? On a scale of one to ten, with ten being most annoying, how annoying do you find peeling bananas?)
One of the risks of new product development is assuming that understanding consumer's issues is enough to know how to solve the problem. Marketing research is critical in ensuring that the new product solution actually solves the consumer's problem.
New Product Research Steps for Startups
“They’re just mice nuts…” was the now infamous comment made by Color.com CEO Bill Nguyen about Instagram in March 2012. While the notoriety and value of the Instagram brand grew along with their capital investors, the comments that Nguyen made are almost the only thing that has kept the Color startup anywhere in the news.
Startups must have a well-developed plan for launching their company as well as for new product research. Criticizing your competition may get you some headlines, but it will not win with brand identity or new product research success.
As Fast Company notes, one of the fatal errors that new product startups make is their lack of market knowledge and intel regarding their competitors. To brag that your new product is revolutionary and will change the world is great – as long as you can back that up. Make no mistake that venture capitalists, bankers and investors will do their due diligence. You should be sure that this is your first step in your new product research work.
Knowing the competition is obviously important, but there are other steps involved for startups to launch new products. Startup companies have the added challenge of building their corporate brand as well as a product brand. The balance of these tasks can become convoluted and challenging to say the least.
The following are some steps for new startups to use as part of their new product research and launch:
Getting new products off the ground with startup companies is a very exciting – and very risky – initiative. The benefits are great because new products can help to compliment your corporate brand identity while also increasing your profit potential. With the right steps in place new products can rocket your business to success.
What Our Clients Say: New Product Research Case Study
Many businesses ask if marketing research is needed in making strategic business decisions. While those familiar with research say yes, unfortunately many put it on the back burner or not done at all! So, today's blog is a case study where Polaris Marketing Research played an integral role in new product concept testing for k101 Agency.
k101 Agency is a successful marketing communications company that boasts an extensive list of notorious clients, but even the most successful companies can benefit from a little research. k101 Agency asked us to help one of their clients with a product targeted to women only. Their client's brand was very strong in the '80s and '90s, but since then lost relevance with the target audience. They felt a redesign of the product would increase demand and revitalize the brand.
Qualitative Research: Focus groups (in-depth interviews) with targeted consumers. Discussion led by a moderator consisting of open-ended questions for richer feedback and opinions.
Quantiative Research: Created a survey design specifically targeted for the business/industry. Conducted an online survey consisting of thirty questions including three open-end questions, again to a targeted group of women.
So not only should the branding not be “fixed,” it was far from “broken” and in fact had an untapped positive image cachet.
We just don't "talk the talk" we "walk the walk"!
New Product Research using Social Media
Social media is prevalent nowadays, but have you considered using it to conduct research? As a marketing research company we can't stress enough that research is key in building and maintaining a business. As pointed out in our recent newsletter, follow these 3 steps if you'ld like to try using social media for new product research.
1. Establish goals and objectives- Just like you would in a traditional new product research, you need to have an outline of your goals and objectives. That includes the form of social media you would use (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube or all the above). For new products YouTube has been an excellent social media tool as viewers can actually see a demo of the product. Once executed you can promote using Facebook and Twitter for a larger reach.
2. Collect Data- If you've created a brand or company page for your product, social media platforms now have an analytics tool for you to view and collect rich data. That includes popular demographics (age, gender, region) and engagement activity data with the product. For instance Facebook has polls in which you can ask any question and get back answers from your customers/potential customers of their opinion in real-time. The key is engaging and keeping an ongoing conversation with your customers.
3. Make a decision- Once data is collected and analyzed make a decision, but be careful not to rely solely on social media data. Your audience can change their mind about a product or service based on so many factors. It's important to keep your customers engaged and the communication open, so that as your audience changes there's a high probability that your decisions will too!
Social media is a great tool for those wanting to conduct research on a budget, however, it should not take in place traditional research techniques. Social media research is directional, whereas traditional marketing is representative. For more marketing research tools for those on a budget check out our resource center.
New Product Research: Apple iPhone 5
So last night I was talking to a friend when he asked "Do you know what day it is tomorrow?" I replied "No, is it someone's birthday?" He answered along the lines of how could I not know the date of Apple's iPhone 5 announcement. It seems as though Apple's new product (which hasn't even been confirmed or released) is making headline news yet again about a press conference for an announcement! Apple founder, Steve Jobs is quoted that he doesn't perform marketing research on his products, but that doesn't mean it isn't done by others. So what kind of new product research went into the launch of the rumored iPhone 5?
Needs Assessment: AYTM did a great infograhic of the anticipation of the new iPhone 5 among U.S consumers. The result show high scores (satisfied or very satisfied) all around for satisfaction and usage of iPhone users. Apple proves to meet consumer's needs in their products. One thing that Apple will need to monitor in the future is innovation. Consumers' needs change all the time, so instead of making a better product they may have to concentrate on making a new innovative product.
Launch strategy: With 58% of Americans aware of today's announcement, Apple's launch strategy is a success. Apple can thank social media for that. Apple fanatics and non-fans can create conversations all over the world and in real time. It's also a great way to monitor what your consumers think of your product.
What other marketing strategies do you think makes Apple products so popular?
New Product Research Success Part 2!
Launching a new product can be a nail-biting experience. A relaxing cup of coffee or a nice day at the spa could be in order for anyone who is sweating over how to get the new product on the market, get it noticed, and get it making money.
Why the reference to a cup of coffee or a spa? There is a point…
The following are a couple of case studies where new products are launched with much success. There are lessons to be learned with both of these experiences, regardless of your particular industry or product. So take heed!
Classic success story: Starbucks
Today Starbucks is a very well recognized brand with a distinct product offering and almost routine launches of new products. For their “Blonde Roast Coffee” launch there were several key steps involved:
Something different: Nail Stamps
The beauty industry is fiercely competitive, and coming up with new products is a daunting challenge. Konad U.S.A. Distribution found a way to get their product out there and it is meeting with great success.
Nail stamping is using a unique method to create nail art at homes, spas and salons. From dolphins to flowers, patriotic flags to Santa Claus, fingers and toes can be decorated in a variety of prints.
Konad found several key points to make this new product a success:
Sales of the nail stamp product have doubled with Konad’s distribution channels through wholesalers and retailers. The new product research that was conducted has paid off for this niche market company. The moral of these two success stories? New product research really does pay off!
Does Facebook Use Test Market Research for Their New Apps
As you've read our blogs on new product research, you get an idea how imperative testing your product is to developing a successful new product. For consumer products, test market research often consists of limited release, confined-home use studies. For business-to-business products, a beta test creates the same situation. Virtual reality, test kitchens and other settings can also provide product market tests information. As we know, physical products aren't the only 'new product' that can be tested. Here's what Facebook could have done when they decided to nix their Facebook Credits App (I didn't even know they had this until recently!) using test market research.
Facebook announced that it's getting rid of their Facebook Credits feature (a virtual payment system used for games and other apps in the Facebook marketplace). This feature was to become the social network's own currency, so that players from all over the world would play with Facebook's currency instead of the players' own currency. Games are so popular on Facebook one would think having a universal currency would keep it simple for all players. But sometimes what you think your consumers want and what they really want takes a bit of test market research. In a recent survey 21% of respondents say they have used Facebook Credits, but of those that said they have not, 45% said they would definitely not be interested in using online currency.
Here's a comment from Facebook about phasing out Facebook Credits “We hope to simplify the purchase experience, give you more flexibility and make it easier to reach a global audience of Facebook users who want a way to pay for your apps and games in their local currency,” Fuloria said. “With local pricing, you will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-US users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis.”
Is Facebook finally listening to it's customers? Now if they could just keep us in the loop about all their updates (have you checked your facebook profile email yet?), but that just might be asking too much...
How to Launch Your New Product Using New Product Research
For many companies, the new product development process comes together in the test market research phase, which gives detailed and accurate information about potential marketing challenges and opportunities. Finding out how real consumers in real markets interact with real products and real competition through product market tests is key to successful new product development. But what do you do after you successfully test your new product?
Most companies have lots of great ideas and can identify needs in the market that need attention. While new concepts and product ideas flourish, the failure lies in an unsuccessful launch whether it's due to company politics, risk, fear of failure, they can all be damaging to a product launch.
So here are 3 steps you can take to launch your new product:
1. Use All your resources: Most companies have the same group of decision makers who are responsible when it comes to new products/concepts. This can lead to a one-dimensional product. Instead use all your resources. Employees are your resources, your customers are your resources, your friends are your resources. Next time get your entire organization involved in what your company believes is your next great product. When your employees believe your customers will. Try implementing a survey and get honest feedback!
2. Don't be afraid of risks: Easier said than done. But by implementing a tracking program on the progress of your product launch can minimize any additional risks. The adoption of a tracking program can help you monitor your product (new or existing) and make course correction to maximize the product or service. Evaluate your risks as opportunities in the future.
3. Innovate: This word is used a lot in business! But what does it mean to your company and your product? Sometimes we "innovate" too much, that we lose track of our core values and services. Innovate, but learn how to scale your idea so that you don't confuse your customers or yourself!
Contact us for a free consult on your next new product or service.
Download our white paper on New Product Research
Successful New Product Launch: Pizza Vending Machine!
I love food and I love pizza, so I was thrilled and somewhat skeptical when my co-worker told me about "Let's Pizza" vending machines. Could a vending machine produce a quality pizza at an affordable price in a short amount of time? After some digging looks like Let's Pizza is finding success!
Let's Pizza was invented by an Italian man and the machine has been vending in Europe for the past 3 years. A1 Concepts (the distributor for the vending machines) CEO Ronald Rammers says "Let's Pizza is a huge success in Europe and especially in Italy," he said. "That was proof for us that we have a very good pizza." I admire Rammers for the confidence he has in this product, but as a marketing researcher I hope he'll invest in some research before he jumps with both feet in.
New product launch is filled with risk, but using research to monitor the progress can help find additional opportunities and avoid pitfalls. Tracking awareness, trial, and adoption can help you monitor the progress of a new product and make course correction to maximize new product or service success.
The concept of a pizza vending machine is great, but without evaluating all the "fresh" ingredients, the vending process, and the competitve market it'll be hard to tell how successful it'll be in the US. But we just may find out soon - A1 Concepts plan to launch Let's Pizza vending machines in US malls, airports, supermarkets, colleges, hospitals, and theme parks.
What are your thoughts? Is there a profitable market for this product in the US? sì o non?
Watch this terribly dubbed video on Let's Pizza vending process!
The Seven Steps in New Product Research
We've been blogging a lot about New Product Research and it occured that most our blogs had to do with new product failures. So here are our "Seven Steps in New Product Research" from our monthly newsletter written by Shana Latham, Polaris' Data Manager.
When launching a new product into the market, it is beneficial to conduct marketing research to help increase your chances of success. Some experts estimate that the new product success rate is no higher than 14 percent! This results in wasted time, money, and opportunity.
New product research helps you identify unmet needs, screen concepts, and plan for marketing communications to support the successful launch of your product.
The new product development process has at least seven stages that all require information about the market and the target audience.
Opportunity IdentificationThis is the stage to seek for holes or unmet needs in the market that could be opportunities. During this stage, it is helpful to conduct in-depth interview, focus groups, or short consumer surveys.
Concept Screening Now that there is an understanding of the unmet needs and underserved outcomes in the market, the next stage is product concept generation research to find potential product or feature concepts that could address that need. Internal teams should work to develop whole products or product features to meet these needs. These product and features should then go through product concept screening research for further testing, to determine which concepts have the highest probability of adoption and success. Use qualitative research preliminarily for product concept generation research and product concept screening research. Both in-depth interviews and focus groups are good vehicles for generating new product ideas and concept screening.
Concept TestingNew product concept testing is critical before investing in the development. Now you have a great new product idea, but what is the potential market size? And will customers pay more for this product than for existing products addressing the same need? How strong are the individual component features? New product concept testing will help you with these critical questions. Conjoint analysis, MaxDiff analysis and other techniques allow you to segment the market to identify the high-potential target market. Understanding the value of features and benefits that have the highest appeal to your target market through new product concept testing allows you to craft the most effective marketing communications to facilitate adoption of new products.
Marketing Strategy DevelopmentThis stage requires marketing research to help you decide on a plan for your marketing mix (the four P’s: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place). A survey is a good instrument to collect information to help make these decisions.
Product DevelopmentFor many companies, the new product development process comes together in the test market research phase, which gives detailed and accurate information about potential marketing challenges and opportunities. Finding out how real consumers in real markets interact with real products and real competition through product market tests is key to successful new product development. For consumer products, test market research often consists of limited release, confined-home use studies. For business-to-business products, a beta test creates the same situation. Virtual reality, test kitchens, and other settings can also provide product market tests information.
Market TestingThis stage is the last before the product enters the market. Market testing focuses on evaluating attitudes, awareness, and usage (AAU) of the product in test markets. Common techniques used are simulated store testing and controlled test marketing.
Product IntroductionThe new product development research process does not end with the test market. Product launch is a process that is filled with additional risk for the marketer. Using new product launch research to monitor the progress of your product launch can help you find additional opportunities and avoid pitfalls. Tracking awareness, trial, and adoption can help you monitor the progress of your new product and make course correction to maximize new product or service success.
We hope that these 7 steps are able to guide you in the path to new product success!
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