Ready, Fire, Aim!

You have just completed a successful year of decent growth. The budget for the new year hinges on a major new product launch set for April. You pushed and pushed the entire team to be ready for the big day. But now, your operations team knows the manufacturing will not be able to meet the projected demand due to delays in expanding capacity at the facilities.

Not good, as you have secured commitments from all your major customers to stock and support the new product with extra promotional support and display space. And you have done everything you can to explore all options to rush the work at your plants to be ready. Several months ago, you were promised that despite a tight timetable, there was little risk of not being able to supply the product. All systems GO!

Now what?

This is a real problem, an embarrassment, and a risk to your reputation—let alone the negative impact on your sales goals. Tough choices, and none is very attractive.

You could delay the timing of the product launch until you are truly ready to execute flawlessly. A couple of weeks, maybe a month. What’s the big deal? Your customers, no doubt, have had other vendors who have run into similar problems. They can (and will) reach out to your competitors to see if they can fill the gap, and this is a big risk to your market share.

You could elect to simply scale back the launch to the size of market geography that you are confident that you can supply. You know, take care of those best and largest customers in your core geography. Then roll out when you can handle the rest of the country.

Or you could do what we would recommend: take your lumps from your customers in terms of not being able to meet your original plans. But rather than lose those valuable slots for promotional support and displays, ask your customers if you can substitute your existing brand instead for promotional purposes. Your end consumers likely did not even know about the new product yet.

In every scenario, take full responsibility for the missed expectations. Own the outcome and negotiate in good faith to save a bad situation. You may be pleasantly surprised that your prior good results and reliable performance have earned you a little bit of a reprieve.

The temptation to go big with a new product is intoxicating. Ready, FIRE. You and your entire team were excited and believed that the introduction would go flawlessly. The market research confirmed that this was a genuine opportunity, and your sales team had done its job to line up all your customers.

Remember that part about aiming?

This is where we come in. There are so many choices to be made and things to think through. Sometimes a setback is the perfect time to reevaluate, or at least validate that the market opportunity for the new product is as large and attractive as it appeared a year ago when you crafted your launch plan. This is not the time to punish those responsible for the timing miss. This is also not a time to be slow in evaluating options! Let us help you weigh the alternatives.

Challenge the original assumptions about the size and growth potential of the market opportunity. Has anything changed that might make you think again about the planned aggressive sales and marketing spending you had lined up for the launch? Are there any competitive product announcements or launches that may undermine your success?

Is this the year to increase your risk profile, financially or strategically? What if the new product does not perform up to expectations, even if you were to go with a scaled-back approach? Or do you have test market data that mitigates that risk, so that we all agree that a delay in the launch timing is the way to go? Perhaps staying the course with your existing core brand is a better bet, with a higher return on investment. The budget for the launch can be set aside until the timing is resolved.

At Forge, we thrive on helping clients get to the next level. We have worked with many clients putting together hard-working and thoughtful marketing budgets for growth.

We are here to be your partner, a member of your extended team, an objective yet vested voice. And we will always bring the conversation back to strategy. Who is your primary target audience going forward? How does your product meet and exceed their needs? What are the best ways to enhance your product portfolio? How do we maximize the market opportunity and optimize return on investment?  

Importantly, we are pragmatic, focused, and energetic. We get assignments done well, and quickly.

Take the first step to a more successful business today.

1.    Hit “LET’S TALK” to schedule a free 30-minute discussion. No pressure – we promise.
2.    We’ll provide real-world case studies showing the process in action.
3.    If we’re a fit, we finalize details and get started!

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