6 lessons that a Failed Product Launch taught me

Sometime back I embarked upon a marketing/ business lesson that has taught me more about how it should not be done , that I fear it will be etched in my memory forever.

I chanced upon a  product offering that had  the capacity to go head on head with many a established players in the market. I decided to draw inspiration from my past work and play on strengths of current relationships , and took a deep dive in the launch , only to hit my head at the bottom of the pool at a dizzying speed.

My chance for Glory

Once I decided to go ahead , it was time for the preparation. Over all , from start to finish and so many meeting between various stakeholders ,it took a couple of months to finalise the plan. I put my Heart and Soul in it and honestly believed that I have a blockbuster in my hand , which will set the cash registers on fire.

If you have ever launched a product online , you will know the deliberations and negotiations that happen . Should I choose all the platforms and go ahead ? Go exclusive with one platform for marketing loyalty ? Should I do an invite only ( damn you One Plus for making this a rage) ? front page banners , category landing pages , all the digital properties ? What will be my core communication ? How am I different ? I was all set to take a loud speaker and start screaming in it for all the sense in the world.

Then came the biggest bend in the road , there was a major upgrade in the system being launched and we swayed from the original launch date . Commitments started to change , from yes to a maybe. There was an oversupply in the market and in the frenzy to get rid of the old stock , prices started to come down and profitability started to dwindle.

Despite all this couple more months after we started the plan , the launch happened . It’s quite disheartening to see a product you’ve put so much effort into go down and fizzle out and it’s only in the last month that I’ve been able to say to myself that this approach does not work.

So what went wrong ? The product still does well in an different vertical altogether , so why could it not take off en masse’ . I started to dissect the carcass of a failed launch.

So here are the 6 lessons I learned

Research , Research and some more research

It is foolish to think if X can so can I . Yes I said it , the world is full of me too products . We can do without another one . Even if that not the case and the product has real value is it being communicated to the customer correctly ? Find out what your customers really want.  Once your customers have told you what they want, find out if the rest of the world wants that as well, chances are if your customers want it a lot of people looking for your niche products will want it as well. And lastly don’t make it all about the business and not about the customer.

Have a marketing Plan

If you don’t want to make a new plan download one from the internet , but stick to it , each day , every day. Talk about your product , show your customer the value. And don’t give up. Marketing is a long term investment. Maybe you don’t have to blow every penny at one go but sometimes given the product category , the marketplace , its important to stay invested. Plan for the long term , atleast a year . It takes time to build a brand .

Money may not follow immediately

Once I had the product launch idea and basked in the glory of my brilliance I kept thinking about how the success of this will change things.  It couldn’t fail, after all who wouldn’t want the most revolutionary product? How wrong could I be. And this is where I forgot the most important lesson ever . Its important to not abandon the launch just coz it didn’t go as planned. Stick to your marketing plan , dig in your heels and stay put.

If all you want to do is make money your effort will be Doomed from the start, sure you might get not initial returns on your investment but sometimes its about creating your customer base . Find the right set of customers who love your product and do much to create a killer value proposition for them.

Once you drop the money aspect of your business and start thinking about the brand value aspect, you will find the money will come naturally, whilst still focusing on connecting with your primary customer base.

Be Direct , Be Curt , Be Specific

Customers don’t want a product that will help them with every aspect of their life.  They are looking for specific products to help them change ‘one aspect’ of their life, it’s our job to find out what that ‘one aspect’ is, and then find another aspect, and then another.

For example if you wanted to lose weight and wanted to try a diet , Which book would you buy:

Lose 5 kgs in a month by vegan diet – the complete guide

Or

Do you want to change your life

That is essentially what happened. It sort of offered everyone a solution to change something.  This doesn’t work in the business world and in the customers mind it’s not going to work either.  That’s why we have different models of cars, different styles of houses, different everything.  We are all  different and we don’t  want a one size fits all to anything in our lives.  We want to feel as if a product is specifically made for our needs.

Learn from your mistakes

It would be so easy to give up and say ‘I’ve given it my best shot, there’s nothing else I can do, it’s time to give up.’  I have learned a huge amount from this experience: working on near zero budget for product launch , making product videos using a smartphone , writing, networking, discipline, determination, marketing, copywriting, website building and so much more and it only cost me 1 failure to learn all that.

Don’t let the passion die

There’s a lot of talk about finding your passion in life and so many people are struggling to find their passion.  I realised that I am one of the lucky ones, I have a passion that will never die and I have nurtured it even more after the mistakes.  I love writing, love blogging and love the people I connect with.  I am so excited to get up in the morning, I really mean that, I literally open my eyes early in the morning and spring out of bed as I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me for the day ahead and start writing and being creative in some way.  My head is so full of ideas it’s hard to contain them.

Did I really fail?

I am still extremely confident about my abilities and even more so now that I have a new set of skills behind me. It took me 1 failed product launch to learn everything I learned and I am willing to go through another 10 failed product launches if they all teach me something.  Do I feel like a fool? Not at all, if you can learn anything from this then the product launch was a complete success.  (Am I just saying all that to stop me from feeling foolish? – you bet 😀 )

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