This initiative to get Jan back on track for the new product launch back on track deserves to be given a multi pronged approach. There are several critical success factors that are useful ingredients of product development and a workable marketing strategy that involves statement of target market, desired positioning, and marketing mix that must be clearly planned and developed prior to launch. Product development related success factorsCertain components and an inclusive approach for all staff on the product for which the launch is needed and planned is important.
The product ought to feature good value for money for the customer, reduce the customer’s total costs and boast excellent price/performance characteristics. It also needs to be superior to competing products in terms of meeting users’ needs, offer unique features not available on competitive products, or solve a problem the customer has with a competitive product as well as offering product benefits or attributes easily perceived as useful by the customer and benefits that are highly visible(Cooper & Kleinschmidt, 2007).
Jan’s goal prior to a re-launch should be aimed towards securing sharp, early, stable, and fact-based project and product definition during the homework phase. It matters a lot how well the project and product are defined before the development stage begins is a major success factor, impacting positively on both profitability and reduced time to market. It is important that companies undertake excellent product and project definition before the door is opened to a full development program. Requisite definition of the project’s scope such as domestic versus international, specification of the target market: exactly who the intended customers or users are, description of the product concept and the benefits to be delivered to the user, delineation of the positioning strategy, including the target price, listing of the product ‘s features, attributes, requirements, and specifications (Cooper, 2013). There is significant focus on high quality of selling effort, advertising, service, and technical support, good management of key aspects of the launch: marketing plans, overall launch direction, and the launch itself, good management of the support programs in terms of distribution channel activities, sales force training, good pricing level, and advertising program execution, and launch timing relative to competition and customers. To ensure that the product aligned for launch is of the required quality, it ought to be tested in front of the customer or user and gauge interest, liking, preferences and purchase intent, likes and dislikes. Subsequently get feedback: find out the customer’s reactions firsthand and, most important, what must be fixed or changed and revise and update the product definition based on this feedback, and get set for the next iteration of build test- feedback-and-revise, but this time with a product version one step closer to the final product (Cooper & Kleinschmidt, 2007).Marketing needs and strategic managementIt was observed that successful and unsuccessful launches differed significantly with respect to most of the skills and resources and the strategic launch activities studied. A thorough understanding of customers’ needs and wants, the competitive situation, and the nature of the market is an essential component of new product success. This tenet is supported by virtually every study of product success factors. Conversely, failure to adopt a strong market orientation in product innovation, unwillingness to undertake the needed market assessments, and leaving the customer out of product development spell disaster. Best performers strike an appropriate balance between market/business-oriented tasks and technical tasks, while worst performers tend to push ahead on the technical side and pay lip service to marketing and business issues in the early phases of the project. Bad launches are typified by poorly planned marketing strategies, resulting in incomplete product offerings, inadequate channel, poor targeting, no focus on effort, and slow response to product flaws. By comparison, a full launch strategy includes objectives for all elements of the marketing mix, as well as statements of launch control, timing and speed, and likely competitive responses Logistics and inventory strategy has received relatively less attention in the product launch literature, but is nonetheless of prime importance, as it is intimately related to the material flow from manufacturer to end-user and back again, if necessary, as in the case of product recalls. The ability to handle uncertainties in new product demand, and to make adjustments where necessary, is related to the integration of the logistics function with marketing, manufacturing, and operations. If the business unit’s logistics strategy prioritizes reduction in products, material suppliers, logistics services suppliers, marginal customers, and stock-keeping units, and emphasizes quick-response programs and flexible manufacturing techniques, the chances for a high-performance product launch are likely to increase (Ernst, Hoyer & Rјbsaamen, 2010). Marketing tactical decisions at the product launch stage concern the development of the marketing mix: achieving appropriate distribution levels, providing all necessary auxiliary services, determining acceptable price, and setting the levels of advertising and promotion such that both profitability and market penetration goals are met. Firms that wait too long in product development or testing allow competitors the opportunity to launch a similar product first successfully. Furthermore, managers are often under great pressure to accelerate time to market and may not always be aware of the risks involved. One can assess the appropriateness of launch timing on a number of dimensions: relative to business unit goals, to competitors, and to customers; with respect to channel cooperation and coordination; with respect to execution of promotions to the channel and the trade; with respect to the resulting sustainable competitive advantage; and so on. The tendency to define the new products market as domestic and only perhaps including a few neighboring convenient countries acts to severely limit market opportunities. For maximum success in product innovation, the objective must be to design for the world and market to the world. Sadly, this international dimension is often overlooked or, if included, is handled late in the development process or as a side issue. A global orientation means defining the market as an international one and designing products to meet international requirements, not just domestic ones (De Brentani, Kleinschmidt & Salomo, 2010). In conclusion, successful product launches are broadly premised on factors such as how profitable the business unit’s total new product efforts were, relative to the amount spent on them as well as technical success rating. Also the sales impact how strong an impact the total new product effort had on the business unit’s top line or sales revenues and profit impact and the extent to which the total new product effort met the business unit’s sales objectives for new products and overall business unit’s profit objectives. Another indicator can be how profitable the total new product effort was relative to competitors and overall success when compared to competitors.Overall, a high-quality new product process that constitutes demanded up front homework, sharp and early product definition, tough decision making points, and quality of execution and thoroughness, yet provided flexibility and a well defined new product strategy for the business unit in which there were new product goals for the business unit, areas of focus were delineated, the role of new products was clearly communicated, and there was a longer-term thrust. Also, Adequate resources of people and money and senior management had provided the human resource needed as well as resourced the effort with adequate R&D funding and lastly, the research and development spending for new product development relative to sales generated. (Di Benedetto, 1999)