Confirm, Confirm and Reconfirm
August 20, 2003
- by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II(The Second Beginning) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Too often a new idea is uncovered and we rush off to market only to find
that it fails before we get the opportunity to present it to the consumer
or we introduce it into the market and it fails within its first year. Less
than 3% of ideas uncovered as market potentials ever survive a year into the
market. Actually about 92% fail before market introduction. Why?
There are many reasons but I believe SPEED is the most frequent. Yes,
SPEED KILLS, even ideas. Too often we RUSH TO DEVELOPMENT, RUSH TO MARKET,
or as I call it, RUSH TO FAILURE.
As an idea emerges from our Exploratory Research, do we take the time to
confirm the Validity of the idea? Do we do our Market Research? That
is, do we determine the scope of the need? Do we understand the frequency
of the need? Do we understand the competition? Do we confirm
the acceptability of the idea? Do we confirm the corporate computability,
etc.? Have we confirmed our right to be in this market? Do we
not only understand our vision of the product, but do we understand the consumer's
Can we put the product's vision into words? (The Concept). This
is our first major intersection on the road to the market. It is time
to STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN. Confirm that we are still heading in the
The next step is the creation of the product. Can we turn our vision
into a product? This intersection is much like a rotary, where there
are many directions we can take. It is not only Stop, Look and Listen,
it is DON'T RUN, WALK (speed not only kills people, it can kill a good idea).
Confirm that you are still on course. Confirm that the product
matches the vision, yours and the consumer's. Confirm that the product
is an acceptable solution to the consumer need.
The above are just three steps in the journey to market but probably the
most important. It is all about knowing where you want to go and constantly
confirming that you are on the right road. As I type this paper, I
can see on the top shelf of one of my book cases, a product called Fling.
(I have my personal group of product failures on that shelf to remind
me of some of the dumb mistakes I can make.)
Fling was a product of the 1960s. It received some of
the highest acceptability scores I have ever seen. The basic concept
was, "a clean dishcloth every time you washed dishes." The product
was a heavy weight paper towel impregnated with detergent that was in a roll
form where you would tear off a sheet each time you did the dishes. The
roll was packaged in a container that looked much like a waxed paper carton.
The idea scored extremely high. The concept scored very well.
The product received very high marks in use testing. We introduced
Fling into test market. Initial sales met our expectations
and then fell off drastically. We did follow-up interviews among purchasers
and they rated Fling very highly. We asked when they
had repurchased Fling. They had not repurchased it. They
still had some remaining from their original purchase (six months later).
Did we create a product that was more economical than we had intended?
No, we created a product for special occasions. As it was frequently
stated, it was great for camping.
Where did we go wrong with this great idea? We didn't thoroughly understand
the uses of a dishcloth. We thought it was for washing dishes. How
short sighted. The dishcloth has many uses and they do not lend themselves
well for a dishcloth that contains heavy amounts of soap. With Fling,
you got soap streaks on the counter tops, the table top, appliances,
etc. But it was good for camping.
It is all about learning and understanding, confirming and reconfirming.
It is about Walk, Don't Run, and Stop, Look and Listen. Or is
it about patience? Whatever it is, we do not seem to be getting any
better at it.
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