You’re launching a new product… but how do you make sure everything goes successfully?
Many companies develop a product, make sure it works, then shove it to the side until launch day. All of their effort is moved to marketing, sales, operations, and customer service. All of that is absolutely necessary. But chances are, your product needs more focus too.
Your product launch needs a comprehensive analysis with SWOT.
Why SWOT Analysis?
SWOT analysis is simple but provides incredible insight about a product – when applied correctly. You can use software and graphs. But one of SWOT analysis’ selling points is that you only need a pen and paper or laptop. You’re basically answering four questions, in as much as depth as necessary:
- What are my products Strengths?
- What are my products Weaknesses?
- What are the Opportunities surrounding my product?
- What Threats could harm my product?
The more thorough the answer, the better understanding about the product and its marketability. Even though companies tend to build products because of customer needs, come launch day, nothing goes as planned. Why?
Because need and desire aren’t enough. Understanding what makes the product good, what could compromise its ability to sell, and the best ways to get it out there, are all necessary. And that’s exactly what SWOT analysis can help you do. We can break it down into each section.
The Product’s Strengths
This is the part many companies do… and then stop.
What makes the product irresistible? The company writes down a list, focus on a few (or all, if they’re not organized) and send it out into the world. Only to see little to no profits.
It’s not that this step isn’t important. It’s absolutely crucial to understand what your product does well so you can position it correctly in the marketplace. If you can understand its best selling point and include this in the marketing, people will focus on it.
But once the product reaches the customer’s hands, it doesn’t end there. But we get into that more later, in the weaknesses category.
For now, make a list of every single good, promising, and beneficial thing the product does. Answer these questions to get started:
- What does it do?
- What does it do better than any other product?
- Who needs it?
- What problems does this product solve?
You’re identifying what makes this product worth buying to customers. It’s best to try and get into the customer’s head during this process, otherwise, you can’t answer these questions objectively. The reason companies do this is to find that one thing it can do that’s not only better than everyone else, but also what’ll attract customers to it. Then, they mention it on the packaging, the marketing, in sales calls.
And if you don’t know what your product does best, how could you possibly market it? But even strengths can get overruled by weaknesses.
Your Product’s Weaknesses. Yes, They Have At Least One.
Every product in the history of existence has a weakness. It just depends on who sees it as a weakness and whether it’ll prevent customers from buying it.
Weaknesses can be small but significant. For example, tap water. Many people don’t like to drink tap water. Why?
- It tastes different (than non-tap water)
- It requires filtering/unclean
- It requires additional steps to take with you (filling bottle/container/etc)
These are weaknesses to someone. It’s what drives them to purchase bottled water instead. But it’s not even a concern for many tap-drinkers. Regardless, it has weaknesses that can affect who buys it.
Your product will have weaknesses too. It might be made of a certain material people don’t like. Or shipping might be expensive. Or maybe it’s too small or too large.
You don’t want to advertise weaknesses, but being aware of them can help you understand what may upset customers. It can also end up being an opportunity. Nintendo created the handheld gaming system called 3DS. A little while later, because people complained of the small screen, they created the 3DS XL. Their first product had a weakness that they turned into a marketability strength for the next product. You could achieve something similar.
But only if you know the weaknesses to create the opportunity.
The Opportunities From Your Product
Nintendo capitalized on a weakness with a later product. They saw the opportunity in the weakness and turned it into the defining strength for a new launch. SWOT helps you look at your strengths and weaknesses to find similar opportunities.
Look at your list of strengths and weaknesses. Now think about the possibilities they can bring. Strengths are easier because you can expand upon a product, creating new opportunities easily. Weaknesses are trickier, but can provide the best and most profitable opportunities. It usually involves product expansions.
People loved Pepsi, but as customers become more health-conscious, they changed to drinks with less sugar. So Pepsi created an alternative, sugar-free product we know as Pepsi Zero. Now they can cater to both types of customers.
Not all opportunities are good though.
Bic, who makes pens, wanted to create pens “for women.” The opportunity was there, but people were up in arms, making jokes, and basically ruining the entire product idea and launch. Recently Doritos mentioned making “lady-friendly chips” for women who feel embarrassed about eating their chips in public. Again, the masses ridiculed the idea and now Doritos has “shut down these rumors” of making these girls-only chips.
Not only do you want to think about opportunities, but you may also benefit from looking at the strengths of the opportunities too.
Threats To Your Products
Before launching the product, threats need to be known. It may be possible to prevent threats. For example, if the packaging design is going to be late, it may be possible to add another person to the team to get it ready in time for launch. Crisis/threat averted.
Other threats might not appear until after launch. At that point, you can do damage control. But if it’s possible to identify threats ahead of time, even if they can’t be dealt with at the moment, it’ll help you create a plan of action if they ever come to fruition.
You don’t want a threat to overthrow a launch. And if you’re not prepared for technological failures, lost packages, or frustrated customers, it can easily ruin all of your preparation. Think about what could possibly destroy the success of this launch and decide what you can do about it now before it’s too late, using SWOT analysis.