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Co-Founder/CEO of Vujà Dé Digital, on a mission for conscious capitalism and reinventing the media agency model.
As marketers, we can tend to get caught in the trap of myopic thinking. It’s not uncommon for marketers to think their product is the best thing since sliced bread.
How is this a fatal flaw? This type of thinking can create false confidence and lead to a belief that well-funded marketing efforts are not necessary to break through in the market. It can also create the false belief that “if I build it, they will buy.” Overconfidence in the value of a product can lead to marketers cutting corners or skipping fundamental steps necessary for brand building that’s crucial at product launch.
This type of false thinking can also lead to an overestimation of market size. A great product may not exist because the demand or market interest is not of sufficient size to sustain it. If there isn’t enough demand for this great product idea, then you have to invest a lot to create new awareness and demand.
This type of thinking can sink a product before it gets off the ground. Not thinking through a go-to-market strategy and the investment required to get a product off the ground can put you behind the eight-ball before you get started. Missing out on the opportunity to maximize market launch focus and timing can be incredibly detrimental to product success.
Pre-launch market research can identify many critical things that can and should be addressed when developing a product. If it’s too difficult to understand, has too many competitors or has other challenges, even the best new product may not get off the ground. Beta testing, market research, a soft launch and closed testing all can help refine the way the product is developed so that it not only works, but also is prepared to be received by the market.
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So how can marketers course-correct their thinking? By approaching a product with less optimism, you’re forced to anticipate challenges and better prepare. Think critically about why people might not want your product or what their objections might be. Stress-test to find cracks and flaws before launching.
Assume that no one sees your product the way you do. Try to figure out how a less-invested person might experience your messaging. Tailor it to be digestible and shareable. You get about two seconds as consumers scroll through their Facebook or Instagram feed. What can you say in two seconds to grab their attention?
What is the likely outcome if new product marketers don’t shift their perspective? A hard reality check. Many overly optimistic marketers with truly good products fail because founders just thought people would “get it.” It’s natural to think your new product is amazing, so of course everyone will want it. They fail to realize that media is a sea of noise and that it takes money and marketing savvy to break through. No one can buy your product if they don’t know about it, and they won’t know about it if you don’t market it properly.
What advice do we have for marketers who are hyped about their new product when the market hasn’t heard of it — and may not even know they need it? It’s one thing for you to convince friends and family how great your product is because they’ll probably give you their undivided attention. It’s another thing to see how people perceive or understand your product from a cold introduction. Find out how average people perceive the product when you haven’t told them all the details.
Is your product easy to grasp? Does it uniquely fill a consumer need? Teaching people about a problem they don’t realize they have is usually expensive. You have to invest in pointing out the problem and then invest in selling the solution. This can double the marketing exposure and cost. If people aren’t already seeking solutions to the problem you solve, you’re going to have to pay to create that awareness and desire.
Creating a new market is typically expensive. If consumers have never thought about buying a shoe that turns into a massager, you have a two-part marketing challenge. You first have to convince them that they need a foot massager shoe, and then you have to convince them to buy your brand.
Your product may be amazing, but the story you create around it and the investment you make in telling that story can make all the difference between a great product that fails and a great product that grows exponentially. We’ve unfortunately seen numerous companies build apps, launch products and develop business ideas that have not succeeded because of wishful or overly optimistic thinking.
Some believe that to successfully launch a new product, all they need is a celebrity to endorse it, to run some Facebook ads or to get influencers to talk about it. But then they realize that their initial projections are not attainable with a strictly bottom-of-the-funnel strategy. A brand or new product launch still requires fundamental marketing work. Going viral is a wish — not a plan. Relying on a wish to launch a product is not a good plan.
Paid media won’t build a brand on its own unless you invest hundreds of millions of dollars to own the market. For most brands or products that don’t buy their way to the top, paid media can be used to boost the story and fuel momentum to drive growth. However, paid media rarely creates that initial momentum and rarely leads to a positive ROI on its own. Paid media can reach the right people with the right message, but on its own, it likely won’t drive sales. The brand, product and user experience are what ultimately generate sales.
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Author: Todd Juneau, Forbes Councils Member