Why Instant Product Feedback Matters in Innovation

If you’re old enough, you might remember New Coke. For those of you who don’t remember this strange time, Coca-Cola decided to change their recipe, spending untold sums on marketing and advertising. They launched New Coke, and guess what? People hated it! So Coca-Cola had to backtrack and relaunch their classic recipe, losing massive amounts of money in the process. What most consumers took from this was not to bother fixing something that isn’t broken. Entrepreneurs read this scenario a little differently: instant product feedback would have saved Coca-Cola all that time and money.

What do we mean by product innovation?

Product innovation is somewhat self-explanatory. It’s a new way of solving a problem faced by a significant volume of your consumers. There are traditionally three criteria for evaluating product innovation:

  1. The product must be relevant to consumers
  2. The product must be superior to its competitors
  3. This must be obvious to consumers

If your product is relevant to these consumers, better than its competitors, and its uniqueness and superiority are obvious, it will probably succeed. This seems simple, but, according to Clay Christensen of the Harvard Business School, 95% of new products in the market fail. Before we can get your business into the 5% of those that succeed, we need to properly understand the nature of innovation and why instant feedback is so important.

Product innovation doesn’t always mean a totally new product or a totally new solution. Even Steve Jobs wasn’t always working on groundbreaking new tech like the iPhone. Innovation and invention are similar, but they are not the same thing. Invention, those “eureka” moments that change the world like electric light bulbs, iPhones, or the wheel, is astonishingly rare. Refinement, on the other hand, incremental improvements in accessibility, convenience, or price, is far more common, and often far more successful. Product innovation often means improving an existing product or adding new features. The automobile was an invention, but adding a car stereo and self-warming seats was refinement. All were great examples of product innovation.

When was the last time you went shopping and bought products based on any of these categories? If you answered “never”, then you’re like most consumers. This is why this segmented approach often fails. More to the point, this fails to take into account the opinions and experiences of consumers themselves.

Why instant product feedback matters

The problem is that many businesses and entrepreneurs go to market blind, after testing products based on their own parameters.

Every time a consumer makes a purchase, they (consciously or unconsciously) go through a series of near-instantaneous reactions. They might like the colour or shape of a product. They might love the font of your logo, or find the display model attractive (hey, there’s a reason the cars advertised in the mall always have a model next to them). Because most consumers make their purchasing decision in an instant, it’s vital to have real-time, instant feedback available to you.

How, then, do you ensure that your product is innovative (whether through creating a totally new niche, or by refining an existing one), and that consumers actually want to buy it? The answer is simple: listen to your customers. In a way, a product failing is the consumer telling – if not yelling – that they don’t want it. That’s less than ideal, however. Wouldn’t it be much better to get instant feedback as early as possible, from consumers as they first engage with the product?

How to get instant feedback for your product innovation

There’s a reason we mentioned phones before. Virtually everybody carries their phone with them full time. Softbrik recognises this, and abiding by the three criteria laid out earlier in this article, realised that instant consumer feedback is only a touch away. When you’re innovating with products, you want to launch as quickly as possible and hear from your consumers as soon as possible so you can react and reposition accordingly.

By using Softbrik’s powerful one-two punch of a quick launch and QR code (which, by the way, stands for Quick Response) you can get instant feedback from your customers. When we say instant, we mean instant – it’s just a matter of scanning the code with their phone and following the prompts.

The most valuable consumer feedback comes straight from the horse’s mouth. For a long time, market research involved lengthy surveys, demographic analysis, and leading multiple-choice questions that don’t quite capture the authentic voice of those actually making the purchase.

A consumer telling you in their own words how they feel about your product is invaluable. Direct consumer engagement is the best way to react to the market and ensure the success of your innovative product. Hearing from the consumer exactly what they want, what they’re struggling with, and what they need to fix it allows innovative, agile businesses to directly address these needs and get ahead of the competition. What the 5% of successful ventures have in common – apart from making money – is that they solve problems faced by their consumers in a way that nobody else does. They share in being unique.

Softbrik’s easily customisable QR code technology captures the actual voice of your consumers, enabling and empowering them to tell you, in their own words, and using their own voice, exactly what they think, and quickly send a voice message. All they need is a phone and an opinion, and everybody has one of each.

Conclusion

What did New Coke and European soccer have in common? They failed to listen to their consumers. If you really want to see the consequences of ignoring the consumer base, check out the comments section on any article about the proposed European Super League. You’ll see furious football fans declaring an end to their lifelong club allegiance. When your consumers feel disregarded, you can be sure they’ll let you know. It’s smarter, and safer, to listen to them early on, long before it’s too late.

In today’s ultra-competitive market, product innovation is more important than ever. The driving need to solve consumers’ problems with new, exciting products and features is never going to go away. Instant feedback, however, like Softbrik offers, will enable to you engage with this with unprecedented speed.

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