How To Launch a New Product

In this exclusive bulletin, we explore the four key things you need to consider when launching your new product into the marketplace.

In the fast-moving packaging industry, developing new products is key to staying ahead. Whether these products are based on new concepts or are additions to existing innovations, offering new ideas to your customers positions your brand as a forward-thinking pioneer of the marketplace.

However, innovating in any sector can be risky. Remember the infamous failure of Coca Cola's 'New Coke' back in 1985? Customers disliked the newly formulated drink so much, that they demanded it be discontinued and Classic Coke return. Similiarly in 2004, Frito Lay's launched Dorito 3D's, an air-filled savoury snack in a range of flavours. Fans of traditional Doritos failed to see the appeal, and Dorito 3D's were pulled from the shelves just three years later.

So, what can you do to minimise this risk and make sure that you get your product launch right first time? In this exclusive bulletin, we explore the four key things you need to consider when launching your new product in to the marketplace.

1.) Know what your customers want

A fundamental rule for launching a new and successful product is that you must fully understand the drivers and consumer trends in your chosen market. Researching customer habits and requirements brings you one step closer to identifying a niche in that market, delivering a valuable product, and making a profit. It is much easier to respond to an existing need than to create a new one, so look out for any areas where consumers may have unmet desires.

The Orbit Bottle, an award-winning container for chewing gum, is a great example of this. Recognising the customer's desire for more convenient and user-friendly chewing gum consumption on the go, the Orbit Bottle contains more chewing gum than standard packets and the easy open cap reduces any effort required on the part of the customer. Therefore, the product effectively responds to the unmet needs of the time-poor consumer and has become increasingly popular for doing so.

2.) Invest in market research

Many businesses may feel they don't have the resources or time to invest in research. However, purchasing market intelligence at the beginning of your business journey can help even small companies to save money further down the line, as not acquiring essential data about the current marketplace is altogether a more costly situation. Although market research cannot be expected to announce the new product a market needs, it can provide the essential data you need to develop your idea.

Whether conducted independently or through a third party, research is beneficial at all stages of a product life cycle, helping you to plan for the future of your product as well as the conception. Smithers Pira offers a range of print, packaging and paper industry reports containing qualitative and quantitative five year market forecasts by region technology and end-user market. Click here for more details.

3.) Do competitor analysis

There are roughly 14,000 new product launches a year, so to make sure you're doing all you can to stand out, you need to know exactly what your competitors are doing.

Although many companies may feel that it's more important to concentrate on their own plans and ideas, competitor analysis is an essential strategic step which can inform your business plan, product development and pricing structures. The customer will directly compare you to your competitors when making buying decisions; why shouldn't you?

Discovering who your active competitors are and what the advantages of competing with them might be allows you to position yourself effectively, and leverage the areas in which you might retain the strongest competitive advantage.

4.) Consider developing markets

As developing countries become more industrialised and average salaries rise, expansion opportunities for packaging companies are growing in emerging markets such as India, Russia and China. Significant growth in these developing regions is expected to continue in the coming decade, as populations enjoy a growing disposable income and an increase in retail outlets. As a result, nearly 60% of businesses taking part in PwC's latest global CEO survey said that these economies are now more important totheir company's future than more mature markets.

The packaging industry is particularly well-placed to take advantage of growing opportunities in developing countries. Thomas Schneider of The World Packaging Association views packaging as the 'common denominator', able to cut across cultures. 'Packaging is a unique tool common to virtually every country on earth'. However, there is a need to consider global differences rather than similarities in order to successfully target various regions with packaging solutions.