20th of April 2023

Published by Marketing Week See original article

How to ensure product launches have the best chance of success

From tapping into an unmet consumer need and settling on the best communications strategy to finding the right timeframe for measuring impact, the art of the successful product launch is highly-nuanced.

Ahead of removing its dairy-free smoothies range from supermarket shelves this month, Innocent Drinks tried to make light of the failure of its product innovation.

Announcing the “nutterly disappointing news”, Innocent said its sales data had left it no alternative but to call time on the smoothies. “We’re sorry to say that just like Shakira’s hips, our sales figures don’t lie. We ask for your compassion at this time of mourning,” it said.

But among Innocent’s social followers the decision prompted questions over how the range had been marketed. “Literally the first time I’ve seen/heard of them,” commented one follower. “I’m sad that the first I hear of them is their withdrawal.”

The demise of Innocent’s dairy-free smoothies coincided with a report from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute which showed just how difficult it is to get a product launch right. Investigating 83,719 new product introductions over an eight-year period, the Institute found that a quarter failed in the first year and 40% were gone inside two years. As Innocent made its plant-based innovation in 2018, a lack of time on shelves does not seem to have been the cause of its failure.

The art of the successful product launch is highly-nuanced. It starts with the identification of an unmet consumer need that reflects a gap in the market. Next comes the research and development that ensures a strong product proposition. The launch itself, which can come in many guises, is only part of the process. Equally critical is the period afterwards, when marketers must decide how much to spend on sustaining a launch and how long a product has to succeed.

Read the full article in Marketing Week.


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