Innovation and Product Life Cycle

Innovations are often mis-understood as being instant hits that immediately resonate with mass audiences and ‘virtually sell themselves’ based on their merits, coolness, or impact alone.

This is NEVER the case! 

More accurately, all innovations follow the exact same sequence of growth as every other product.

Innovation Life Cycle: Development, Introduction, Growth, Maturity, Saturation, Decline

No brand, person, or idea can escape it. 

Following the same growth curve DOES NOT REQUIRE following any particular strategy. 

Here are some suggestions to help you develop your own strategies for successful launches long journeys.

1: Perspective:

Rather than one long growth curve that might span a decade or more, look as it is a series of consecutive curves that each account for hours or days (sometimes minutes) of time. Each of these curves should be planned, executed, and analyzed with high levels of detail. 

The advantage is both in the repetition as well as the ability to learn from small adjustments that have much more digestible risks. 

2: Planning:

The majority of effort and energy should be invested into the first two stages (development and introduction). 

Identifying ideal audiences while developing the product allows for more natural connections – addressing issues or challenges they face with convenient pathways to move forward. 

This is all about building initial momentum and delivering a ‘proof of concept/value’ that will open the doors to additional resources. 

While each innovation is unique and requires individual approach; here are some questions I like to answer as early as possible. Details and clarity bring focus to activities. 

Who can help me build this product successfully? 

What personalities, technical skills, and connections to decision-makers do we need?
What do they want/need in exchange for their contributions?

Who needs this problem solved?
How many are there (dozen, hundreds, thousands, millions)?
How many do we need to be viable?
Do they know they have this problem/challenge? How easily can they identify with it?

How much does no solution cost them? Do they know this? Other alternative solutions?
How do we identify and connect with them? Who do they trust? Who influences them?
What do they want to hear, know, or believe? What do they already hear, know, believe?

How do they benefit or perceive value?
What are we asking them to contribute, risk, or invest? Who else needs to be part of decision?
How do we want them to act – specific next steps?
How can we make it easy for them?

Most marketers understand the need to first talk to the Innovator and Early Adopter personalities and understand how to position products and solutions in mass. But it takes a special type of savvy to know how to attract the very initial audiences and turn them into vocal advocates who build the initial momentum. 

Successfully launching innovations is about connecting solutions with the right audiences. Quality (in solution AND connection) are far more important than quantity. Sometimes it does make sense to have an audience measured in millions. Other times it only needs a dozen or two people. 


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