Don’t Innovate Like Apple or You Might end up with a Segway

Product Launch Innovation

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Being on the cutting edge by providing new and innovative solutions to old problems is what we are all urged to do especially when it comes to launching your new product into an expectant market. But be careful. If you innovate like Apple you might end up with a Segway and that would certainly be an underwhelming experience especially for your bottom line


Here’s what Steve Jobs used to say about market research


It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do. So you can’t go out and ask people, you know, what’s the next big thing. There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.’’


No-one can deny that Jobs was a gifted innovator but please note that he was not first into the market with many of his products.  The Sony Walkman existed long before the Ipod. All Apple did was digitize an existing product very very well.


In other words, they identified a market with an existing and proven demand and then innovated to provide a solution that did exactly what the customer wanted only better.


He may therefore have been kidding when he said he did no market research. The fact is that he identified proven markets where there were people with money who were prepared to spend it and he did this by looking hard at the competition before jumping in and dominating it.


The Segway, on the other hand, was a new and innovative product that was completely new to the market. No-one was making a similar product. It was a bold step into the unknown. It may well have been ahead of it’s time. So far ahead that the market, really did not get it. Sure, you can take a city Segway tour in Paris but it’s not quite the market that the inventor had in mind.


That’s why doing your marketing research is vital if you want to add value to your new product and subsequently do a product launch that rocks your market for all the right reasons…


That is the buzz and anticipation created in the build up to your launch day is palpable just like it used to be when you were a child and saw all the presents arranged under the tree ready to be opened on Christmas day. The excitement was excruciating. The agony of waiting, in my case, was heightened even more by the fact that my brother and I had to wait until teatime – 5pm – before the big moment came and we could get our sticky little fingers on our presents.


But you have to validate your research before you spend time and money developing your product or service.


Apple do this by looking at money spinning sectors in their market and then bringing their core strengths to bear to produce a beautifully designed product that is super easy to use. They bend their engineering expertise to the will of the market and that’s exactly what you should be doing too.


Start with a gut sense of an opportunity, and let the conversation start rolling

  • What do you hate about your competitor’s products?
  • And why?
  • Then ask how you can bring your core strengths to bear to make them better?


List all the features that you would include with their advantages and corresponding benefits. One will stand out above the rest and become your core concept. The unique buying advantage that your audience will have in the forefront of their minds when they pull out their credit cards.


So is it possible for you to innovate like Apple and succeed ?

#1. You need to fluent in the language of your customer and the markets in which you compete

#2.You need to know your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses

#3. You need to focus on solving one challenge better than anyone else

#4. You need a product launch story that explains why you are different

#5. You need a product launch strategy

#6. You need to add more value by offering an end-to-end product or service

#7. You need to make your products or services so desirable that your customers dare not buy one whatever the price

#8. And finally, you need to create an avatar or image of your end user that accurately describes his or her objectives, problems and challenges with the existing solutions.


When you have ticked all these boxes, do a beta product launch to refine your product, optimize your copy and ensure that your offer really resonates with your target market to the max.


Never mind how much time and effort you lavish on your product, it is still only 20% of the job you have taken on. Your product launch strategy is the one thing that will make the difference between success and failure. It would be a pity to have your launch go off like a bottle rocket rather than an intercontinental ballistic missile for the want of hiring the right person to make this happen


So you may be wondering how much hiring a product launch manager will cost and the quick answer is not as much as you might expect. Our aim is to structure a win-win sort of a deal with clients.  We get paid when you get paid. That is we work on a percentage of the ‘pre-return’s gross’ revenue that your product launch makes. Naturally, you have to pay a fee to get on our calendar. We can only take on 2 or 3 clients per year so our time is valuable and we must know what our schedule is well in advance. It would be unfair on our other clients if we didn’t insist on this. Find out more by booking a free consultation with me now



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Rory Ramsden