Three steps to propel a new product to market

By Jay Rampuria

Bringing a new product or campaign to market causes even the bravest of brand marketer to lose sleep. Juggling huge reputational and financial risks with pushing an idea past potential barriers based solely on your insights and intelligence – it’s not for the faint of heart. But when it all comes together, that’s where market disruptors are made.

Against a landscape of fragmented audiences, media and content, creating a campaign that’s a slam dunk success for every man, woman and child you want to reach is as rare as a precious diamond – and likely as costly too, given the number of people you’d need to test the idea on to ensure its success.

Companies who have tried and failed to capture the zeitgeist of the times face brand safety and reputational damage. Sharpening concept development skills to generate and hone great ideas can pay off in getting creative right so it resonates with target audiences and spends ad dollars wisely. Let’s look at three steps brands can take to harness both insight and creativity to propel their new brand or marketing launch.

Put your concepts to the test

Three-quarters of FMCG launches fail within their first year. It begs the question: did anyone go out and test these ideas? The reality is either the feedback was ignored, or the insights weren’t coming from the right places.

In the busy world of brand marketing, thorough testing can sometimes seem cumbersome, slow or expensive, which  means it is sacrificed – or ignored – to keep things moving at a fast pace.

DeAgostini, a global publishing house, faced a challenge like this, operating in a market where its consumers are constantly changing. With a short time to market for products, they simply don’t have time for traditional concept testing on each new launch or campaign. However, through advances in technology, much of this concept testing at a quantitative level can now be automated, providing real consumer insights in 24 hours on even niche demographics. This has allowed them to successfully test and launch new packaging, TV adverts and products.

Similarly, JustEat, the world’s leading marketplace for online food delivery, is using this instant insight service to test its latest TV advertising campaign, helping them to validate their campaigns before they enter  new markets.

Concept testing significantly improves the chances of advertising success by establishing a creative process that involves customers. It allows marketers to identify which ad concepts engender sufficient consumer interest to warrant more development and which ideas should be scrapped; keeping the team and their resources concentrated on those offering the highest potential.

Keep listening – and data gathering

There’s a saying that too much data stifles creativity. I challenge that. The best creative comes from deep consumer understanding. This means having good data and – crucially – being able to translate it into meaningful insight.

Today marketers and brand managers have huge rafts of customer data at their disposal, from a variety of sources. However harnessing this into meaningful insight can be a challenge. Finding a way to do so effectively is critical – particularly in-house teams to ward off “inside think” that can create blind-spots in understanding consumer sentiment, preferences and values.

For listening to customers, social media provides an excellent gateway into the conversations about a brand, products and service in the market. However, it is best used as a screening tool not a deep dive.

Market research tools, especially when coupled with data etc., allow marketers to acquire more extensive quantitative and qualitative information about targeted consumer audiences. They enable brands to understand the “why” behind consumer attitudes and action, and ensure the voice of the customer is embedded into everything they do.

Making media spend go further

Market disruption starts with data. Or more accurately, they start with insights. So what does this all mean for brand marketers? With audiences so fragmented, the stakes involved for brand marketers have never been greater. Thankfully, advances in technology mean gleaning insights from concept testing is no longer as costly or time consuming as it once was.

Putting in place the culture, tools and processes to better understand targeted groups of consumers will help to make your ad spend more effective. It’s vital to listen firstly identify the right tools for your current stage of testing, and then test them through both quantitative and qualitative channels. We’re in an era where near instant access to insights based on high volume data are a reality. This alone should make concept testing before any major launch or campaign a must.

Jay Rampuria is Executive Vice President of Global Business Development at Toluna