When creating new CPG products, timing is everything. If a product isn’t marketed at the right time in the right way, it could miss a crucial opening and fall flat when it finally appears. Often, by the time a product is developed and marketed ahead of a launch, peak demand is missed and sales are not as strong as they could have been.
Few new products are successful in the marketplace over the long term, but marketing new products in the right way when the timing is correct can increase these chances. Here are some tips for improving the speed to market for your next CPG product launch.
7 Ways Marketing for Improving Time to Market for CPG Brands
1. Agile Product Development
CPG marketing teams should work closely with product development experts from the early stages of a product’s creation to ensure alignment on market needs and customer preferences. By providing timely and accurate market insights, marketing can help prioritize product features and improvements, reducing the development cycle and iterations required.
Products are not developed in a vacuum. Marketers know a product’s target audience intimately and can provide needed insights about what consumers want and need so when the product gets to the market, it will meet these needs and be seen as having value.
2. Market Research and Validation
Conducting thorough market research helps identify target demographics, market trends, and competitive analysis. By gaining a deep understanding of consumer needs and preferences, marketing can guide product development, making it more targeted and reducing the time wasted on developing products that may not resonate with the market.
A “gut feeling” is not good enough. Marketing data can quantify the optimal market much better than a feeling and let you know what to expect once a product hits store shelves and online.
3. Rapid Prototyping and Testing
Marketing can facilitate the creation of rapid prototypes or minimum viable products (MVPs) to gather early feedback from target consumers. By engaging potential customers in the testing phase, marketing can obtain valuable insights that will guide further product development, helping to avoid unnecessary delays caused by rework or launching products that don't meet market expectations.
Focus groups with as few as five participants have been shown to find 85% of potential problems in a prototype so they can be corrected before a product goes to market. It’s easy for designers to get tunnel vision and miss pitfalls that come to light when it’s too late, but prototype testing can prevent many of these from occurring.
4. Efficient Supply Chain Management
Supply chains are more fragile than they seem, so small errors can become major issues if they’re not caught during the development or planning processes. Managing the supply chain will help make the process smoother and ensure prompt delivery of items to retailers and distribution points.
Effective marketing can facilitate collaboration between marketing teams, suppliers, manufacturers, and logistics providers. By streamlining the supply chain and ensuring smooth communication and coordination, marketing can reduce delays caused by misalignment.
5. Pre-Launch Marketing
The best time to market a product is before its release to ensure enough demand is there when the product is released. Developing a robust marketing strategy before the product launch can help create buzz, generate demand, and build anticipation among target consumers.
This early marketing effort can be executed through windows like social media, influencers, email marketing,and traditional advertising. By creating awareness and excitement, marketing can accelerate the time it takes for a product to gain traction in the market. Implementing CPG corporate responsibility tactics and digital media into your marketing will add other important dimensions to the marketing campaign.
6. Streamlined Approval Processes
Getting the necessary approvals and complying with regulations can add weeks or months to a product launch timeline. When there are unexpected delays, the entire development process can be thrown out of sync.
When marketing collaborates with legal and regulatory teams to ensure compliance and expedite the approval processes required for launching new products, it lessens or eliminates these delays. By proactively addressing regulatory requirements and potential roadblocks, marketing can help minimize delays in getting products to market.
7. Effective Communication and Collaboration
Many different teams work on single new products. This can produce confusion and chaos without effective communication between the teams, but who will take charge of coordinating everything?
Marketing teams can serve as the hubs for cross-functional collaboration, ensuring seamless communication between departments like product development, operations, sales, and customer service. By fostering efficient teamwork and aligning goals and timelines, marketing can minimize delays caused by miscommunication or lagging coordination.
Through these techniques and methods, you can get new CPG products to market faster and at the right time to maximize sales and profits under even the most challenging conditions. This can help you beat the odds in that your new products will succeed rather than fail within a year (as is the norm).