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Marketing is a mix of science and art. The process entails degrees of creativity which reflects artistic flair, but the science comes in because careful analysis must be done prior to development and promotion of the product or service occurs.

Companies typically do not go through all the effort and trouble with an intention to fail, but despite this, many new product releases do fail. This has even happened to some well-known name brands, including Hewlett-Packard, McDonald's, Frito-Lay, Microsoft, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble, to name a few. Even Ford, back in 1957 bombed with its Edsel car. Even Apple, who launches items people flock to and even line up around the block for, once blew it with its Newton MessagePad. [1], [2]

Newton MessagePad by Apple
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A revolutionary idea for its time, Apple's Newton MessagePad was overpriced and it didn't work the way it was expected to. These flaws contributed to its failure, although it did pave the way to future successful and top selling ideas in tablet computing.

One might question why so new items fail for even the most successful companies. Here are a few of the top reasons which can contribute to product failure:

Poor Market Research

When companies make assumptions about their segmented market(s), this can be disastrous for a new product. A company should carefully choose its segment through preliminary analysis to see exactly what it is customers want. In fact, it goes beyond want, a good marketer wants to correctly assess what it is their company's customers perceive they need.

Inaccurately Priced Item

Most people likely assume an inaccurate price means the product is overpriced, but it could mean it failed because it was priced too low. For instance, if a brand is well-established, it may command a higher price. Trying to sell a new item at a lower price might send customers wondering and concerned why it was so "cheap".  Pricing competitively may sound good on paper, but if this strategy does not align with the rest of the perceived higher value products in a company's line, customers will think something is wrong with the product if it is priced too low.

Overpricing is pretty obvious. People aren't going to pay more for a new item where they can find a cheaper equivalent or are already loyal to another brand.

Marketing mix conceptual
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Targeting Product at the Wrong Market

Choosing the correct segment to target the product to is vital because a wrong analysis will more than likely lead to a failed launch. While market research is costly, it is well worth effort to take the time to do it, because if a product is aligned with a market that has no interest in the product, that item is not going to sell.

Accurately selecting the right target market will make a difference between success and failure. A correctly chosen market means the product has a much better chance of being a winner.

Incorrect Positioning of Product

How marketers choose to place a product in the market is also crucial. The goal is to correctly promote the product's attributes and relate it to what the customer desires, all while doing it better than its competitors. Incorrect positioning can doom a product from the start. It is essential to position the new product and align it with the right customer perception.

Poor Promotion, Marketing and Advertising

Choosing venues to market the new product is another essential component. If the advertisements aren't seen and the chosen market segment isn't even really aware of the product's launch, this too contributes to the recipe for failure.

Marketing team
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Product R & D Costs Exceed Profits Made

Research and development is typically a big investment and, as such, knowing the company’s break-even point is a must. Companies generally expect to pay a good sum to complete this aspect of the process, however, they don't want to exceed the potential profits.

A careful financial analysis must be done in the beginning stages. If a product costs too much to create and market and won't command a high enough price in the marketplace, this product may not be a good idea to launch.

While sometimes products take some time to make money, and eventually the laws of supply and demand factor in, but a company does not want to lose when waiting for the product to take off. This is a primary reason why pinpointing a breakeven point is so crucial.

A product that loses money isn't a successful product.

Poor Timing for Launch of Product

Timing is everything. An ill-timed launch will contribute to the failure of a product. In order to get around this, it is vital to make an effort to know competitors and learn what other similar products are on the market. Once this information is garnered, the next step is to carefully evaluate the product launch date. If a product launch is not carefully timed, all that hard work may be for naught.

Aside from the above, other reasons for failures vary. Some companies try to capitalize in other markets with products that are difficult to associate with the products they are already known best for. Others try to reinvent what a competitor has already put on the market.

Approximately, one-third of new products fail and some statistics suggest that figure is a lot higher.  However, by doing research, analyzing carefully, and looking objectively at a new product idea through the development phase, marketers can better effectively avoid the  pitfalls. Originality probably counts a lot too. Through careful planning without trying to jump on the current bandwagon, there will be a much higher probability of a successful product launch.

[ Related Reading: How to Write a Professional Marketing Plan ]

marketing success
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