In fact, one could even consider it to be a potential catalyst for why about half of all new businesses fail after the first five years. To reach your end-goal of balancing consumer desires with business logic requires practice and patience, but most importantly, a strategic focus on 3 critical areas: product strategy, marketing and brand experience.
1. Product strategy. Rather than developing new products just because you can, brands should first look to see if there is a real “need gap” in their market and what the benefit of filling that gap would be for consumers and the business. This can be done by utilizing a tollgate process, where risks and benefits are weighed at finite “gates” in the product development process.
By opening or closing these gates, innovators will gain a better understanding of investment timing, technical difficulty and costs to determine if an idea is not only possible, but a sound business decision. The information we have gathered at Char-Broil has helped us develop a plan for the short-term and also create long-term roadmaps for product development. Having a quantifiable blueprint of your path to success will help drive momentum forward, while giving your employees and retail partners a brand vision and innovation trajectory they can buy into.
2. Marketing. When looking to amplify marketing efforts around a specific product line or launch, it is necessary to drive awareness and purchase intent through promotions, merchandising and, specifically, advertising. With advertising, the consumer is king once again. Analyzing their responsiveness to ads, as well as where and when they make the conversion to purchase, will help to pinpoint where your dollars will be best spent. For example, you may have historically focused on print ads, but after measuring ad effectiveness and efficiency, you may find that your consumer is now getting most of their news through digital channels. We found a similar result at Char-Broil and have since adjusted our strategy to “heavy up” on digital marketing and measurement, thus reaching and engaging with more consumers than ever before.
3. Brand experience. While product specs may be important to an engineer or tech enthusiast, the average consumer is driven by the relatability and emotional impact a product elicits. To ensure that you are effectively “pulling at their heart strings,” create a story line for your product and develop impactful messaging that supports it. This can be as simple as making your social media content more interactive, or increasing in-store merchandising to entice and educate consumers when busy salespeople are not available to provide immediate assistance. But most importantly, establishing your brand’s website as a valuable resource for support, information and advice, instead of simply a place to purchase, will improve the brand experience and, in return, help drive repeat purchases and referrals.
Today, the integration between quantifiable data and strategic thinking around growth goals, product innovation, marketing and brand experience is making it easier for organizations to strike a balance between consumer desires and business logic. Whether you’re starting out small or looking to continue an upward momentum, your company will be positioned to thrive once you’re able to break away from old-school tactics to leverage this new way of corporate thinking.