The Starship’s Failed Launch: Lessons Learned from One Product’s Failure

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As we pointed out in the previous blog, a thorough market analysis helps take an idea and turn it into a successful reality. Companies like Chipotle and Starbucks, who identified underserved markets/niches in their early stages and developed products that cornered those markets, are examples of this. The examples of success are everywhere, and for obvious reasons — they have staying power. 

But what does failure look like? What does it look like when a company moves forward on the basis of insufficient, faulty, or biased market research? We've explored lessons that can be learned from products that failed before, but there's one more major failure we wanted to address. 

Consider Beechcraft's Starship: after 5 years of planning, hundreds of thousands of hours of paid labor, and over $300 million in R&D costs, Beechcraft only sold a handful of units, resulting in tremendous losses. What mistakes did Beechcraft make when developing the Starship and how can we learn from them?

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Understanding Your Market: Analyzing and Applying Market Analysis

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So you've got a great idea for a new product or service. Great! What do you do next? Consider the market. Is your idea compelling only to you, or does it solve a real problem that others have as well? Is there another company doing something similar? How has the market responded to them? There are many, many questions to ask.

In order to answer these questions (both for yourself and any potential investors or partners), it is essential to conduct in-depth, exhaustive market research before launching a new business or product. However, the complexities of locating potential customers, analyzing competitors, and forecasting future trends can be daunting and, as a result, some companies choose to skip this step or only gather data that confirms what they want to hear.

Don't make this mistake! Conducting in-depth market research is vital to your company's success, and it can be easier than you think.

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The Art of Listening: Perpetual Innovation

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True innovation is difficult. If it wasn't, anyone could be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. In INC MagazineMauro Porcini, PepsiCo Chief Design Officer, explains that “nurturing growth and true innovation means taking risks.” The word “risk” invokes thoughts of danger, pitfalls, and fear. However, the most successful companies are constantly innovating, evolving, and upgrading as the market demands

Almost every discussion of innovation mentions Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but I want to discuss an unlikely company that I consider to be a master of successful, successive innovation. Most of us first become familiar with their products in grade school. Fiskars (yes, Fiskars!) created its first pair of iconic orange scissors in 1967 and now, 48 years later, the company still has fresh ideas.

Fiskars' secret: listening to customer feedback when creating new products. How can other companies learn from their success? Let's explore a few simple yet effective strategies for applying customer feedback when innovating.

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The Art of Listening: Social Media Enables Dialogue

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Are you making the most of your social media presence?

Social media platforms wield amazing power for brands and businesses of all varieties and sizes. They allow business owners to connect, interact, and establish relationships with both current and future customers while simultaneously elevating their brand brand awareness and, ultimately, pushing sales. But if social media is really this important, why (as reported in AdWeek) do 80 percent of customer queries on these platforms go unanswered?

Social media makes it easier than ever to both listen to and engage your customers in meaningful dialogue. Let's look at some of the best practices that have been established for making the most of this opportunity.

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The Art of Listening: 5 Simple Strategies for Responding to Your Customers

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You've sent a survey and your customers have spoken! Great! But that's only half the battle! The hard part is next…figuring out what to do with all that feedback. 

First, don't panic. While you may be staring at tens, hundreds, or even thousands of survey results and comments, that is what you want. Insights from people that actually use your product or would consider using it can help take your business to the next level.

So take a deep breath and get ready to respond. Whether the feedback is constructive or an anger-filled tirade from a unhappy client, every interaction with your customers offers an opportunity to produce great results and, ultimately, increase both your client base and market share.

Once you've reached out and asked for feedback, the real work begins. Here are five simple strategies to help you engage and respond to your customers:

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The Art of Listening: 5 Powerful Ways to Spark Conversations with Your Customer

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Regardless of how well we may know our business, our customer’s opinion is the one that matters the most. To create successful products, we must identify the answer to the following: What keeps our customer awake at night? The answer to this simple question unlocks the possibility to solve their problems and gain their loyalty.

But if our customer's opinions are so important, why are they so often neglected?

To create loyal customers, we have to listen. Our customers are our greatest source of knowledge — whether we realize it or not. Bill Gates once remarked, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” 

So, how do we solicit this customer feedback and ensure we learn from it?

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Do You Know the Power of a Brand Archetype?

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Branding is an art and a science. It is also something that can harm your product or company in the long-run if you don't give it a lot of thought at the start. Today, branding is a key phase in early product development and in the launch of new companies. The earlier you understand your brand, the easier it will be to make marketing decisions and keep your communications consistent. 

These days brands are becoming a lot more like people. Branding experts now talk about a brand as a “personification of a product, service or entire company.” Like a person, a brand has a name, personality, character, and reputation. You can respect, like, even love a brand. You can also hate, despise, and never want to be associated with a brand. There are brands that you warm to and those that turn you off. 

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