Products fail in the marketplace all the time. There’s a couple of main reasons why, but I’ll tell you why they didn’t fail:
- Corporate Communications
All the marketing in the world can’t make a crummy product work. Look at the RIM Playbook. All the PR and media hits in the world can’t turn a flawed product into a success, as Iridium learned a number of years back.
I subscribe to Kevin Hartley’s theory that the 94% of products that fail in the marketplace are due to two reasons:
- The product launched. The customer didn’t care.
- By the time the product launched, the cool idea had been rounded off.
In the first case, you just missed the mark. The Zune was launched aggressively by Microsoft and didn’t get so much as a yawn from the marketplace. The product didn’t do anything for the target customer and all the marketing dollars in the world couldn’t save the Zune. And don’t think “Apple had first-mover with iPod” either. Bunk. Diamond Rio, NOMAD, Archos, etc. had plenty of lead time over Apple. They just sucked.
In the second case, the internal process doomed it. One more feature, three more buttons, some legal copy (just to be safe, mind you) and you’ve churned out one more generic beige box of mediocrity.
I’ve been tasked to try to sell stuff that nobody cared about. The post-mortem “but if marketing and PR did their job….” crying drives me nuts. Yes, strong marketing and PR will help maximize sales and profit and it’s a critical part of your product launch. But nobody will publish stories on crummy products, nor will people view the ads and buy the thing. Sorry.
Takeaway: Want to sell more stuff? Stop blaming marketing and communications. Make stuff people want.