New product launches: Lessons for success
Products often fail before they ever find their way to market. Because our firm reviews more than 2,500 new health, beauty and wellness products, and sees approximately 13,000 packaging changes and line extensions annually, I’ve seen this firsthand.
I’ll point out several of the key pitfalls we have witnessed in our 30-plus year existence, and then offer a few encouraging words for those hoping to beat the odds. By the way, statistics consistently show that between 40% and 80% of new item introductions will simply not succeed. And for the sake of argument, I’m assuming that the product being introduced delivers on the promise proclaimed by its manufacturer. And yet they still don’t succeed.
Why do so few products ever see the light of day?
Most prevalent among the reasons is a lack of homework and unrealistic strategy. First, let’s look at shortcomings in homework. One that happens fairly often is suppliers introducing me-too items without doing the research to ensure there’s room for another solution. I’m not suggesting that all non-differentiated products cannot succeed; instead that the odds are against a new product without an iota of differentiation.
You also have to ask some tough questions. Will consumers truly be satisfied by your item? In other words, does it solve a real, identified need? Most commonly this is determined by pre-testing, market research and an honest assessment of the product’s attributes.
When it comes to strategy, be sure yours is sound, including claims, messaging, packaging, placement and retail price point. Shortsighted planning can result in lackluster performance. The product must resonate with shoppers, and all of the related communication has to capture their imagination.
Five simple steps to improve your odds:
1. Objectively assess the market potential
2. Zero in on the key product message and be consistent
3. Create a pull strategy that drives consumer action
4. Remain committed throughout the launch — do what you say you’ll do
5. Continue to create excitement for your brand (re-imagination has become a necessity!)
Whether you are a retailer enhancing your store brand or a manufacturer producing the latest-greatest product, you’re in the midst of a brand formation. Brand formation is a systematic approach used by HRG to evaluate a brand’s unique differentiators, to develop messaging that clearly communicates the brand’s proposition and to create a unique personality for the brand that leaves a lasting impression.
Try to avoid the speed bumps I’ve identified and good luck.
Dave Wendland is VP and co-owner of Hamacher Resource Group, a retail healthcare consultancy located near Milwaukee, Wis. He directs business development, product innovation and marketing communications activities for the company and has been instrumental in positioning HRG among the industry’s foremost thought leaders. You may contact him at (414) 431-5301 or learn more at Hamacher.com.
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Taming the diabetes dragon: Pharmacists as front-line warriors for wellness
Here’s a chilling statistic to ponder: Every 24 hours, more than 4,000 adults in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes, and some 200 die from its effects. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also reports that diabetes afflicts roughly 26 million Americans and could eventually develop in another 79 million U.S. residents considered to have prediabetes.
The fact that diabetes is a serious health threat — and one of the nation’s fastest-growing diseases — isn’t lost on most Americans, according to a new survey from UnitedHealth Group. The insurance giant released the survey results Nov. 1 at the start of National Diabetes Month, against a backdrop of growing alarm about the toll taken by the disease and near-universal awareness of its serious consequences.
Pollsters found that 92% of respondents know there’s a difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and 8-in-10 recognized that Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. As many as 84% said they’re familiar with leading diabetes risk factors, including being overweight or chronic couch potatoes.
UHC’s nationwide poll points up widespread recognition among Americans of “the threat diabetes poses to the nation’s health,” according to Michael Johnsen of Drug Store News. In a report on Friday, Johnsen quoted Tom Beauregard, EVP UnitedHealth Group and head of UHC’s Center for Health Reform and Modernization, who cited “a diabetes time bomb ticking in America, due in large part to the escalating obesity rates in our country.”
Beauregard predicts that 40 million American adults will have diabetes by 2021, “at a cost of $3.5 trillion over the next decade.” That makes it one of the prime culprits behind the nation’s skyrocketing healthcare bill. It also makes it a prime focus of intervention efforts by pharmacists, and of pharmacy-based wellness programs that are popping up around the United States faster than new drug store front-end planograms.
Deneen Vojta, SVP UnitedHealth Group and chief clinical officer of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, asserts that “the opportunity now exists to turn awareness into actions like eating healthier, increasing physical activity, being tested for risk factors or joining prevention programs.” That’s a golden opportunity for pharmacists, who can influence patients’ behavior across all those preventive-health activities and make a real difference through the interactions they have every day with their patients.
If you’re a pharmacist, an upper-level pharmacy student, a retail clinician or a pharmacy technician, you’re probably already on the front lines of the battle to curb the diabetes epidemic. We invite you to share your experiences by clicking on the comment link below, and we salute you for the vital job you’re doing.
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Walgreens increases efforts to assist communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy
DEERFIELD, Ill. — To help victims of Hurricane Sandy, customers shopping this week at any Walgreens or Duane Reade store in the United States will have the opportunity to make donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in increments of $1, $2, $5 or $10, Walgreens announced Monday. The fundraising initiative is in addition to Walgreens’ announcement last week that it would make a $250,000 contribution to the same fund.
As the company’s recovery effort continues, Walgreens has now reopened all but 13 of the 750 stores that experienced service interruptions at the peak of the storm.
In response to needs immediately after the storm, last week Walgreens delivered four semi-trailer truckloads of bottled water, including three to the American Red Cross and one to the City of New York. Two additional truckloads are on the way, Walgreens added. The retail pharmacy operator also donated merchandise and conducted food drives in response to local community requests.
And this week, Walgreens is diverting its Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with National Urban League bus to New York to deliver blankets, water and other needed services to hard hit communities. On Wednesday, the bus will begin making visits to Walgreens and Duane Reade locations in Rockaway, followed by Brooklyn and Staten Island. The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with National Urban League provides free health resources to residents in urban and minority communities across the country with high rates of preventable disease.
Walgreens pharmacists have also provided direct assistance to New York City, Hoboken and other emergency response outposts to help patients find medicine they need. The company also is in the process of setting up four temporary pharmacies at stores that were heavily damaged by the storm and won’t re-open in the near term.
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