Yvonne Dias, CFO of The Mint Group, states that after you finally have a product that is ready to launch, your first introduction to the world will solve a problem people did not even know they had, reap in millions in sales and change the face of digitisation forever. Or your product might form part of the 40% of products that launch and fail each year.
The negative stats are everywhere, but in true entrepreneurial spirit, you can use those stats to your advantage by accessing an array of information regarding product pitfalls to keep you on the right path.
With the rapid growth of technology, it is no longer possible to wait for the perfect product to launch. This trend is evident in the approach of tech giants such as Microsoft, which previously launched only new product versions, waiting a year before the next upgrade, and now continuously release updates to existing products, ensuring relevance and competitiveness.
The rapid pace at which markets need change and new products are released, increases the risk of non-relevance for businesses that aim to release 100% ready products. This reflects the importance of identifying critical take-to-market product components, enabling you to launch the critical items first, referred to as minimum viable product (MVP), and leave the nice to have’s for later.
Basically, for a product to launch, it must perform the stated competitive function, and that’s all. Once your product has launched, you can move on to a continuous improvement cycle and add the nice to have’s and fancier features. This method is more cost-effective, allowing you to make changes and improvements as revenue starts coming in, and adapt quickly to market changes and reactions.
The biggest pitfalls that can hinder your product from successfully launching or cause it to nose-drive straight afterwards comprise:
Biased market research
Market research helps answer critical questions regarding product features, future roadmap requirements and viability. It is crucial that the research is unbiased and done correctly; otherwise the results could be a product that consumers do not want.
In the world of technology, it is common to hear, ‘this is not what we had in mind or what we wanted’ from a client. Sometimes teams fall so in love with the product that any feedback or negative reviews are reasoned away.
It is, however, critical for data collection to be accurate and relative, reflecting both the good and the bad.
Overpromising and underdelivering
Companies tend to create massive hype around products, but if the reality does not match expectations, poor user adoption or a lack of acceptance will follow. Companies like Amazon have their mission as being customer obsessed then work their way back to a product or services.
Marketing around the product must be relevant rather than extravagant to create excitement. If the critical take-to-market components of a product reflect a market need, the MVP should spark interest without the need to glam it up.
With 86% of people hesitating to do business with a company that has a negative online review, you cannot afford to disappoint. Under-delivering on a product can significantly reduce your success and increase the chance of unsatisfied users and reviews.
Pricing or poor delivery
Price, price and price is just as critical as location, location, location — stressing the need to delve into market position vs margin vs niche vs cost. In addition, user value realisation should form part of your roadmap strategy. Often providing a taste of the value, such as a month’s free subscription or a free light version of the product, is enough to create loyal users that will pay for the full experience.
Technology is all about innovation and placing people at the centre of every strategic decision that you make. For a successful product launch, ensure that you are clear on product deliverables, avoid that-which-must-not-be-named (scope creep), set reasonable timelines, assuring clarity on budgets and forecasts, be agile, implement strict quality-control processes, and ensure smooth communication to all stakeholders.