The Most Effective Guideline for Launching Innovative Products
In the previous discussion (A Strategy for Developing Products so Good they Sell Themselves), we established that there is often a gap that exists between the marketing promises made by companies, and the end products delivered. Whole products, as defined by Theodore Levitt, are the ones that have augmented the user experience through additional features and benefits, thereby making them more appealing than the competition’s. ‘Whole products’ will sell with significant ease in comparison to average products. Please go through the post (here) for an understanding of strategies that can be implemented in order to develop a ‘whole product’.
Launching Innovating Products to the Market
Have you ever thought to yourself why 3D TVs are not as common as one would expect, despite being really cool and futuristic? Why smart watches – which virtually perform the functions of your phone, still don’t seem to be picking up? Why Virtual Reality technology is struggling? Well, by look of things, the future is already here, but things are not working out according to plan. Perhaps we are just too comfortable with everything as they are, and are too lazy to put in the efforts required to adopt new innovations into our lifestyles. This discussion looks at launching innovative products to the market through a model that has been the basis for success for several tech companies. The Technology Adoption Life Cycle model breaks down the market for new products, and helps us set up marketing strategies that are responsive to the consumer behavior in each segment.
In a marketing sense, our attitude towards adapting to a new innovation becomes significant every time we are introduced to products that require us to change the ways that have been accustomed to doing things. Such products are called disruptive innovations. For example, 3D TVs require programs that are in 3D format, which in essence, require some effort to acquire because they are not easily available; whereas normal TVs are just plug and play. 3D TVs require you to wear 3D glasses in order to experience the effects, whereas normal TVs are fully compatible to the naked eye. At the end of the day, all the features and cool experiences of the 3D TV are outweighed by the level of effort and adaptation that is required for it to become a normal part of life.
In a non-tech example, a Chinese food restaurant that opens up let’s say somewhere in Kenya, where most of the market is not necessarily accustomed to Chinese food, will find it very difficult to break into the mainstream market. Even if the food is first class, the restaurant would still be asking consumers to adapt to something that they are not particularly used to.
Innovations that don’t require us to change our behavior are called sustaining innovation. For example, a two door version of a four door car is a sustaining innovation because the driver is not required to change their driving behavior. A new toothbrush model is a sustaining innovation because the process for brushing teeth remains the same. On the other hand, an electric toothbrush might be a disruptive innovation for most people because they would now need functional batteries as a part of their life in order to brush. Hover boards are a disruptive innovation because people are used to walking. A restaurant that serves dog meat may require some behavioral change for most people, therefore a disruptive innovation.
One of the reasons why many businesses never make a breakthrough to the market is because they often don’t understand the differences between disruptive and sustaining products, and the consumer behavior towards each. In order to cope with the innate attitude towards disruption, the ‘Technology Adoption Life Cycle’ is a fundamental model that helps us launch such products to the otherwise conservative market. To keep this post short, the model will be covered to greater depth in the second part.
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