Successful Product Launches Require Market Research Intelligence
Rebekah Paul |
 09/16/22 |
6 min read

Use-Social-Media-Data-to-Supercharge (1)

According to Harvard Business School, more than 30,000 new consumer products are launched each year, and a majority of these products fail. Why? There are many reasons, but a recurring theme revolves around market research intelligence, or lack thereof!


When new products succeed, ripples are felt across the entire market. As Accenture reports, 61% of customers switched brands over the last year, so those new contenders impact existing products’ share of voice.

Additionally, according to SCIP, there is a 77% likelihood that the greatest threat to business in the future will come from unknown competitors.

scip stats

Introducing a new product to the market is a high stakes endeavor. On one hand, failure can be costly but on the other, success can be lucrative. So, what goes into a successful product launch?

Mike Baglietto, Global Head of Product Marketing at NetBase Quid®, helps clear this up in a recent webinar hosted by AdWeek: Use Social Media Data to Supercharge Your Product Launch.

Product Launches and Legacy Systems

As a modern brand, adopting a data-driven approach to product launches can help you overcome some of the biggest challenges in business today. The source of the problem for many brands is that they depend on legacy systems and processes that don’t have the capacity to deliver at the required speed.

NetBase Quid® provides real-time consumer and market information without becoming overwhelmed by data and failing midstream. This is what the industry refers to as continuous intelligence. It is a continuing process of discovery and monitoring that helps ensure businesses base their decisions on the most accurate analyses.

discovery-and-monitoring-loop

Baglietto goes in depth on this by giving examples from different industries to show why successful product launches require market research intelligence. And we’re sharing a highlight reel of the webinar below!

Understanding Individual Struggles

Products designed to solve a broad problem among the target consumer base often miss out on what is going on at the micro level. This can be a great hindrance to the brand trying to appeal to the target buyers.

Baglietto created an analysis of AstraZeneca’s campaign for its new drug called Tezspire. Tezspire is designed for people with severe asthma.

But asthma is a broad problem that many drug manufacturers are already providing solutions for. To be able to stand out from the crowd, we can assume that the marketing team at AstraZeneca must have known it had to do things differently.

The brand decided to move away from the joyous afternoon riding bikes, flying kites, and playing on the swings motif and instead use animation to attract attention.

How did they settle on that? Baglietto reverse engineers the campaign to help us understand the thinking behind it and the kind of information that guided the team.

With NetBase Quid®, it is easy to find conversations around severe asthma from social media, blogs, forums, and other online sources. Based on these conversations, most people living with asthma are looking for better treatment options.

However, behind this are individual struggles with people sharing their experiences on how the condition affects them on a day-to-day basis. They are talking about how embarrassing it is for them to miss out on things they enjoy. Or how they are afraid of going outside lest they get a severe asthma attack.

social mood

An analysis of social mood shows very strong feelings of embarrassment and fear.

To successfully launch its new product, AstraZeneca may havee viedw severe asthma from the perspective of the people living with the condition. “They live with a sense of apprehension about when they will find themselves in a challenging situation where asthma will impede their ability to live their lives and be themselves.”

When every other competitor was saying, “We will treat your asthma” AstraZeneca seems to have been saying, “We will help you be yourself.”

This was accomplished with a cast of cartoon characters with whom the diverse population of people living with asthma could identify.

No matter your industry, a successful product launch requires market research intelligence. It helps you get in your target buyer’s head, not to manipulate them but to see the world through their eyes.

This is the only way you get to truly know what problem your product solves. When you know better, you won’t simply say, “I have something for your asthma.”

Gauging Brand Passion

Some brands have an avid fan base and whenever they launch a new product their customers are ready to buy, right? Wrong. Timing is an important factor and it pays to know when to launch a product based on the general attitude of your target consumers.

Lululemon is an established athletic wear brand with a loyal customer base. So, why hadn’t it launched a footwear product to match its clothes?

First, the shoe has been in development for a while, which explains the rave reviews referencing its quality when it finally came out.

Second, growth in the athletic footwear market has recently accelerated with 20% sales growth in 2021.

Third, it helped for Lululemon to first develop unshakable loyalty in the brand’s clothesline which could eventually be carried over to other products, such as the new athletic footwear.

Looking at the brand passion and net sentiment around the time of launch, it is clear that Lululemon capitalized on its target’s strong feelings to successfully launch the new product.

Analysis shows the company outperforming other athletic wear brands in brand passion although average in net sentiment.

brand-passion-lululemon

When it comes to brand passion, it’s Lululemon versus the rest.

Inside NetBase Quid®, brand passion refers to the ratio of the difference between strong emotions (such as “love” and “hate”) and weak emotions (such as “like” and “dislike”) to all emotions about a brand. Net sentiment is the ratio of positive to negative sentiment about a brand.

Further analysis shows that, judging from social media posts, the majority of Lululemon fans are female; many are millennials; and they mostly talk about fashion and health and fitness.

It’s not just that the brand chose a women-first approach, jumped on the athletic footwear trend, or launched amid high brand passion intensity. It’s the use of market research intelligence to combine these factors into a perfectly timed launch.

It’s not surprising that the product had a very positive reception overall while the price was a bit on the high end.

Before you upsell your customers on a new product, check to see how they feel about your existing ones by analyzing the brand passion.

It’s not much different if you are a new company or entering a new market. Consumer trends and market information (e.g. the rate of growth of the industry) can help you determine the proper time to launch your product.

Identifying Customer Segments

Most successful products start out with a narrow but deep customer segment. These are the early adopters who use the product, love it, and spread the message. Brands that can identify the proper customer segments to target have a high chance of success with their product launches.

This might have been a key consideration for Lululemon’s highly targeted approach. However, to make this point, Baglietto gives the example of KFC’s new addition to the menu: The chicken nugget.

You might be thinking that this was a losing battle for KFC. So many things have been done with chicken already, especially the chicken nugget which is almost synonymous with McDonald’s.

So, what was KFC’s plan and how did it come to be an example of successful product launches?

Like all good businesses, KFC went out to find the gaps in the market. First, it evaluated its strengths in relation to competitors. These are location, drive-thru access, and its famous 11 herbs and spices.

By analyzing consumer conversations on social media, KFC discovered an intense conversation about vegan chicken. The analysis indicated that while there was a lot of interest, this was an underserved market.

And there, they had their hit. Vegan chicken was not only a gap that needed to be addressed but it was also something that KFC could do very well (remember Beyond Fried Chicken?).

This is how KFC knew to launch a vegan chicken nugget (underserved) that was tasty (rivaling McDonald’s), affordable (rivaling Chick-fil-A), and accessible to consumers (many locations that allow drive-thru).

KFC-crosstab

KFC competitor analysis.

Think of your customer base in terms of segments rather than a single whole. This allows you to separate it at the seams when you need to launch a new product that may not necessarily fit everyone.

If you start with one customer segment that is passionate about the product, you have a chance of expanding. If you target all your customers and get tepid reception, it’s going to be harder to psyche them up down the line. Narrow-deep is better than wide-shallow.

Once you understand the crucial role of market research intelligence in launching products, the mystery of success fades away.

In Use Social Media Data to Supercharge Your Product Launch, Baglietto demystifies product launch success while at the same time making it clear that gathering market research intelligence takes some amount of effort and creative thinking by humans to fully make use of the immense power of machines.

Set aside some time to watch it and reach out for a demo today to see how NetBase Quid® can help you boost your product launches!


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