Leveraging neural brainstorming to cost-effectively launch new products
By Marquis Codjia
Launching new products nowadays should no longer be a strategic corvée for corporate boardrooms. Contrary to current consensus among many marketing managers and advertising specialists, erstwhile methods used in designing, testing and launching new products appear either outdated, pricey or lagging when compared with the dynamics which govern contemporary global markets.
Ergo, new techniques must supersede or be added to existing schemes for metamorphosing a budding product idea fresh out of the mind of an entry-level engineer into a finished good palatable to customers.
The internet, with its increasing ubiquity and digital omnipotence, should be at the epicenter of these techniques if business enterprises are to remain competitive.
Traditionally, firms relied on an impressive and sophisticated panoply of frameworks and departments to administer their innovation and R&D process. Depending on the industry and the product cycle, among other factors, entire armies of scientists populating R&D departments may partner with marketing and advertising agencies to find that perfect new product.
In the same vein, employees are often invited to share their insights via brainstorming sessions whereas customers’ opinions are actively collected and studied through written or online surveys, telemarketing procedures, trade fairs, or customer service encounters.
Four relatively cheap and fairly accessible sources of neural brainstorming are available to most companies at the moment. These sources rely heavily on global internet data to construct a body of artificial intelligence that can be analyzed and computer-simulated to presage potential future trends of customer wants and needs.
Depending on the size of the company and its financial might, sophisticated analytical tools or simple spreadsheets can be employed to extract invaluable statistics.
Firms can leverage their own internet portals more efficiently by creating or revamping their e-commerce platforms and ameliorating website ergonomics. Merely collecting purchase data when patrons enquire about products or place orders is no longer sufficient; they must devise an astute tactic for drawing higher client responsiveness. An example of cheap survey tactic is to adjoin 2 or 3 “forward-looking” questions at the end of the purchase process (e.g.: what would make product X better? Are you more likely to buy product Y if we add new features?). Another idea is to offer free items when customers rate current or ready-to-launch products.
Google and other search engines
When used efficiently, Google can be a powerful quantitative tool to use as organizations attempt to tap into the global collective psyche and unearth good ideas that will be precursors to upcoming bestsellers.
Best of all, it’s free. Aside from the customary “Google Search” bar and functionalities, other features are readily available at Google Trends. That’s where the magic resides. Firms or even entrepreneurs can harness that “digital bounty” and use data-simulation as well as other sophisticated computing utensils to analyze that information based on their industries, geographical zones or customer characteristics. The same is true for other major search engines such as Yahoo! Buzz and Microsoft’s Bing Xrank.
Online forums or discussion groups
Companies can utilize the strategic advantage of anonymity to test new product potential in online forums or discussion groups that relate to their target niche. Given the plethoric number of such sites, it can be extremely fruitful to interested companies if they can ably zero in on their specific group of interest and exploit the past and current general mood of such a constituency. One simply idea to gauge that morale is to start a discussion on a topic closely related to the company, its products or a specific industry in general.
Facebook and other social portals
Finally, Facebook and other social portals of analogous popularity and magnitude offer a number of interesting, user-friendly features that firms can harness to augment their market visibility and collect useful data from current and potential clientele. On Facebook specifically, firms can open an Organization Page, a regular page and various discussion groups to promote their brand and ultimately use those conduits as data-gathering means.