If you have a new product ready to launch that is not yet absolutely perfect but is still better than what is on the market, introduce it. Don’t postpone the launch until every little thing is fixed. Don’t wait until you have the perfect product. If the new product performs a little bit better, some customers will buy that performance. Get a better new product into the marketplace fast. Beat the competition. Get an edge.
A speciality chemicals company came up with a better way to adhere to ultrathin electrodes to printed circuit boards. The marketing director rushed the product to the market. She knew the new product was not perfect. But the new product reduced assembly time and reduced scrap. The new product reduced the cost of producing printed circuit boards.
Two months after the product was in the market, the selling company’s vice president of R&D visited the marketing director. “Catherine,” the vice president stated, “I am concerned about that new PCB product. We have significant concerns about the strength of the adhesive. There are two other problems with product stability and clogging dispensers. This company has a great reputation. Why on earth did you push us to introduce a product before it was ready before it was perfect?” The marketing director bluntly answered: “Jim, the new product doesn’t nave three problems. It has forty-three problems! We have to improve the packaging. The outer pack crushes in transit. Some of the directions are confusing. The rubber caps leak. The applicator clogs. The wand is clumsy to use. But customers are buying and re-buying. We will use the sales revenue to invest in improving the product.
“And Jim,” the marketing director continued, “If we had not introduced the product, we wouldn’t have had the sales. We wouldn’t have so much opportunity to improve the product. We beat the competition. The product is not perfect but it’s a winner!”
When Procter & Gamble first introduced Pampers disposable diapers as an alternative to cloth diapers, the product was not perfect. Pampers came in one size. There were no plastic tabs to secure the product. The customer needed safety pins. Pampers gradually gained market shares against cloth diapers and added improvements, new features, and a variety of sizes. To enough customers, the first version of Pampers was better than diapers. Depends, for adults, is another product category made possible only by the success of Pampers.
If P&G had waited until Pampers was perfect, babies might still be wearing cloth diapers, and mom and dads would still be stabbing themselves (and their babies!) with safety pins.
Rush that better, imperfect product to market!