I think a simple explanation for many new product failures is that they are obvious and boring and don't move the needle with consumers. Time after time, the world seems to get yet another flavor variety of beef jerky, another fragrance of air freshener, or....whatever.
Are there instances where companies get it right? Of course. Among more notable examples, Tide Pods captured consumer desire for unit dose detergent, convenience and no mess in a compact form. Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash provides consumers with high skin moisturizing and skin feel benefits combined with terrific fragrance (including on skin) delivery properties.
If a company is guilty of being boring (at least on some occasions) can it avoid launching further bland new product entries? Yes. It should start by asking and honestly answering these questions:
Will this new product truly excite our target customers?
Will it uniquely and demonstrably satisfy important unmet consumer needs?
If they can answer "yes", then they've done their jobs well and their product stands a good chance of being successful. If they answer "no", they have likely not aimed high enough nor dug sufficiently deep to uncover motivating consumer insights needed to spark meaningful innovation.
New products are intended to attract new customers and to more intensely satisfy existing ones so as to help prevent defections. This means we need to speak with our customers to uncover motivating insights and unmet needs. Consumers won't always directly tell us what they need. So an important part of our job is to develop compelling hypotheses based on consumer inputs and then systematically test and iterate these until we hit pay dirt.
If we do our homework and are diligent, we should get rewarded for our efforts. Otherwise, we will most likely get what we deserve.
"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.