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What to do When Your Product Fails

Developing new products is exciting, but difficult. You had an awesome idea, invested a lot of time and money, and the end result was something that you thought would be an enormous success. But, much to your dismay, the launch didn’t go as planned. In fact, after several months sitting on the market and multiple attempts to revamp your marketing efforts, you’ve finally accepted that your new product failed.

While a product failure is something that nobody wants to have happen, the reality is this: it’s bound to happen. Even the biggest, most prosperous companies have experienced massive failures. Take New Coke, for example. In 1985, the soft drink giant, Coca-Cola launched a new spin on their traditional formula in an effort to compete with Pepsi Cola. The manufacturer changed the formula that they had been using for nearly a century and the public wasn’t happy about it. In fact, it was so poorly received that New Coke is known as one of the biggest product failures of all time. But guess what? – Coca Cola recovered from their major flop; and you can, too!

But how do you go about getting over failure hurdle? Read on to find out how you can overcome the obstacle and move on to bigger and better things.

Assess the Data

Start by analyzing all of the data regarding your failure. Doing so will help you determine why the product failed. It may turn out that the product itself wasn’t the problem but rather how your target audience perceived it. Once you pinpoint why your product wasn’t received perceived well, you can start working on improvements for the next launch. You shouldn’t let one failure discourage you from moving forward; but, you don’t want to make the same mistakes twice. Look at the failure as a valuable lesson for future launches.

Determine if you’ve Established Success and Failure Appropriately

Like most entrepreneurs, you’ve probably set some very precise terms for your product; for example, you may have projected a hitting a specific metric in a particular period of time. Maybe you wanted to sell a certain number of products within a 12 month period, or perhaps you wanted to hit $3 million in sales. While setting goals are certainly a wise idea, as they serve as something you can aim for and act as a guideline that can be used to determine whether or not the product is actually succeeding; however, it’s important to keep in mind that those goals are only estimates; they’re not exact. If you wanted to make a $3 million profit in a 12 month period but you only hit $2.1 million, did the product really fail?

When you realize that your goals are just that – goals – you may get a better sense of your success, and it may turn out your product wasn’t a failure after all (or at least not as big as a failure as you thought it was).

Analyze Your Market

Remember when we said that the problem might not have been the product, but rather the issue may have lied with the consumers? Perhaps you didn’t market your product to the right market, or maybe you didn’t use the right type of marketing strategy.

Analyzing your market will help you figure out if the issue actually did lie with your audience. Conduct research to find out if the demographic you were trying to reach could actually benefit from the product, or how the perceived it. Maybe the price point was off, or perhaps the marketing avenues you used didn’t reach your audience.

The Bottom Line

While a failed product can seem like a huge loss, it’s actually a great learning opportunity. Like other major companies that have failed before, you can – and will – recover.

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