Get Fast Feedback During the New Product Introduction Process


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Did you ever see an advertisement for a new product and wonder – “what were they thinking? – who would buy that?” Whether a product extension to a household product that you’ve been using for cooking forever and now can use for cleaning and washing your kids hair (think Arm & Hammer baking soda) or a consumer electronic that has been extended beyond what anyone would ever use it for, or a clever price change that is positioned as a new product (AT&T 3G phone for $49) – companies are constantly trying to extend current products and introduce new products to well, make more money. In the past when I heard about some of these new products I might comment to my husband or a friend about it – now I might tweet my opinion or even search for it online to see what others think.

Social Media Allows You To Get Near Real-Time Market Feedback on Your New Products

It used to be that when companies introduced new products they were limited to a variety of feedback mechanisms to determine how it was going. While the MOST important mechanism is still purely sales, the ability to leverage feedback to impact sales and product launch success has changed dramatically in the last few years. What was once relegated to focus groups, panels, and surveys – all of which are biased by the fact that a customer willingly gives feedback is now greatly enhanced by social media which provides companies with a dramatically new way of tapping into real, unadulterated feedback, in almost real time- on new product introductions and extensions.

It would be reticent of me not to mention that social feedback is still somewhat biased as well, as a “certain type” of person goes online to talk about new products – but I am here to argue that that is even changing. While social media started out as a place where bloggers, writers and enthusiasts spoke out – that is now even changing. A quick message on Twitter by just about anyone on anything can give marketers and product teams insights into new products and what the market thinks of them (and most of these “tweeters” are not writers or experts), everyday consumers are now out there – replying to community threads, asking questions of experts online, and creating their own content to give their opinions. For example, just on the launch of the AT&T $49 iPhone, there are conversations taking place virtually across social media – check out the distribution:

ATT49 Get Fast Feedback During the New Product Introduction Process

Beyond the bloggers, who tend to more likely be analysts, experts or product reviewers, people are talking about why they like or don’t like the new offering in forums, message boards, micro-blogs (like Twitter) and more.

Tapping Into Social Feedback to Improve Chances of Launch Success

And some companies are really tapping in. One customer of ours, a large cell phone manufacturer, uses the social web to monitor new product introduction test markets. The goal: gain an early sneak preview into new product feedback by understanding initial customer sentiment, opinions, and issues; use these early findings to make rapid feature changes and to see which messages are most effective and then make changes before large scale roll-out. It’s very efficient. No more traveling all over to listen to a 20 person focus group give feedback or waiting for panel information to be tabulated, instead they do this in hours – in fact in the first 24 hours after putting out a product into a test market they get feedback that impacts the new product introduction for the rest of the roll-out. They then continue to track conversations to understand how it goes throughout the roll-out, again making both small product and local marketing changes based on what they learn.

This process isn’t just saving them real money on market research costs, but it is greatly increasing the likelihood of product launch success. In one scenario they were able to make a small software change to a new cell phone. The issue that required the change had hundreds talking during the intial test launch, but since they were able to make the change prior to roll-out, once the product hit mass market – there was virtually no issues discussed related to this earlier found software problem. If they had rolled out the product without knowing the issue and fixing the problem, they said that the launch would have inevitably been a failure! Now that’s a good use of the crowd!

So, is your company using customer conversations in social media to turn your new product launches into a success? If not, give us a call – we can show you how.

Photo by orkboi

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michelle deHaaff
Michelle leads marketing at Medallia, the leader in SaaS Customer Experience Management and has over 18 years of experience in marketing, branding, product management and strategic partnering in Silicon Valley. Michelle came to Medallia from Attensity where as Vice President of Marketing and Products she led the transformation of the brand and the products to be the leader in Social Analytics and Engagement. Michelle also led Marketing at AdSpace Networks, was a GM of Products at Blue Martini Software and worked at Ernst & Young as a CRM practice manager.


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