As many as 95% of new products fail. Brands and marketers work hard to sell innovative products, but hard work is not enough. After all, companies like Apple, Facebook, or Amazon are few.
But what if you, too, are trying to launch an innovative product or service? Or perhaps your startup aims to transform a market that needs to reinvent itself?
A great idea powered by a lot of enthusiasm is a great foundation for innovation. But it’s only the first step to ensuring your innovation will succeed.
How Not to Fail
There isn’t a proven strategy for creating an innovative product that actually sells. But then you don’t need one. The key behind successful innovations today is simple. It boils down to understanding consumer behavior.
Turning away from old marketing models and inefficient studies, focus on your customers. Find out what they really want. Interpret the data you have about them to develop a truly innovative product.
Does that sound like a challenging task? It is. But it’s one that’s within the power of any true innovator.
So, how do you get started? Here are some of the best ways to interpret product customer data.
1. Place Your Customer at the Center of Your Brand
In the 16th century, Nicolaus Copernicus realized that the earth was not the center of the universe. It took the rest of the world some time to embrace his heliocentric view of the world. Today, the Earth’s orbiting around the sun is a fact that children learn in school.
But remnants of the superseded geocentric view linger in the way many brands treat their products. Building your brand around your product is only natural. It’s a lot easier than researching online consumer buying behavior. Or establishing the factors affecting consumer decision-making.
Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons so many so-called innovations fail. Back in 1985, when Coca-Cola launched “The New Coke”, the company thought it knew what customers wanted. But nobody asked for a New Coke. Customers liked the old Coke just fine. Luckily for Coca-Cola, they brought back the old coke before it was too late.
2. Understand Your Customer’s Narrative Arc
The customer arc is not quite the same as the customer journey. Forget about marketing for a moment and focus on the psychology of consumer behavior.
All customers go through an event that precipitates a conflict of some kind. The conflict here may sound a bit harsh but think about it in terms of the traditional narrative arc…
- Imagine that someone needs to store files online without worrying about costs or security (rising action)
- She looks for a safe storage solution (conflict)
- She finds Google Drive, OneDrive, and iCloud but realizes that each takes some time getting used to and is not sure which to choose (climax)
- And then she discovers a service that is truly innovative in both its simplicity and ease of use… Dropbox (resolution)
This customer narrative arc is true for many Dropbox users. They have been in the same position as our protagonist above. And it’s because of that that many of them end up upgrading to a paid account. They’ve come to Dropbox at the end of a narrative, so to speak. They didn’t bump into it by chance.
The narrative arc for your own potential customers is one that you have to create based on the data available. How do your customers see this conflict? What alternatives do they have? And what kind of solution are they searching for? Must it be affordable, quick, and easy to use?
Once you know your customer’s narrative arc, you can use it to…
- Improve your product development
- Focus on the innovations that your customers actually need
- Streamline your product by giving up on unnecessary features
- See better results with marketing through storytelling
- Provide better customer support
3. Learn and Accept Customer Habits
When it comes to factors affecting consumer decision-making, habit plays a big role. Up to 45% of our daily habits are automatic. This includes information-gathering habits, web-browsing habits, and buying habits.
Today, consumers can research products more effectively than ever before. They can compare products on the go and read independent reviews. They can also ask their friends on social media about a particular product.
But that doesn’t mean that their buying decisions are ever purely rational. What customers buy and how and when they buy it depends a lot on their habits.
Is your innovative brand targeting young consumers? To understand young consumers buying behavior, you need to understand their habits.
4. Listen to Your Customers’ Language
Habits are not simply the result of routine and familiarity. They are essential for our survival. Without habits, we would meet with disabling confusion each time we have to make a new choice.
But consumer habits are not static. They evolve constantly and may undergo significant changes. Knowing that 96% of consumers research product information on mobile isn’t quite enough. You need to know how exactly they research it and what sources they trust.
Your audience has both a psychology and a physiology. It adapts to an ever-changing environment and the environment in turn reacts and adapts to them. And it is their language that reflects both their way of thinking and their attitude and values.
It’s through language that you can truly understand your audience. Online channels, and in particular social media marketing, can help. Social networks make it easy for brands even in lesser-known niches to find an interested audience.
5. Use Visual Storytelling Marketing
But don’t think of language purely in terms of text. Visual storytelling marketing is a powerful way to establish a two-way connection with your audience. It’s a connection that helps you get your message across. More than that, it helps you understand them even as the trends they follow change.
It’s only by becoming a part of the language that your audience is using that your brand can understand the conflicts in their lives. And this is crucial to storytelling product marketing. It’s crucial to presenting your products in a way that matches their beliefs and expectations.
Focus on what matters: build your innovations on your customer and make your customer’s conflicts the problem you need to solve. Tap into the power of storytelling product marketing. Use psychology in consumer behavior to connect with your audience through language, rather than try to sell them an idea. In this way, your innovation will succeed.