Businesses that make only one product rarely stand the test of time. Your ability to innovate and … [+]
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Coming up with a winning product idea that fills a specific need for a sizable group of people, is a great way to start your own business. However, it’s very rare to find a business that can achieve lasting success based on the sales of a single product or service.
How do you keep up your momentum and continue growing? While introducing new products or services is a natural next step in any business, the type of products you choose to go to market with next, will make a significant impact on your ability to build a cohesive brand that can amplify your revenue for the years to come.
As I recently gathered from a conversation with Roy Stein, founder and CEO of BabelBark, the key principle is to create a series of complementary products that truly build on each other. Here’s how to do exactly that.
Consider Related Audiences
For Stein and BabelBark, one of their biggest successes has come from targeting new, yet similar audiences to the target audience for their initial product. He explains, “Our first app, BabelBark, was primarily focused on pet parents. But as pet owners ourselves, it was fairly obvious that the owners are far from the only people involved in a pet’s life. Considering who else plays a major role in a pet’s life led us to develop companion apps targeted at veterinarians and pet businesses.”
With these new complementary products, the brand was able to greatly expand its reach with new target audiences who were still relevant to the company’s original vision. Naturally, you’ll need to do a fair amount of market research to determine which groups would be most likely to benefit from the type of products you want to offer.
Surveys, focus groups, third-party data and other tools can help you better identify the needs and interests of your new, yet similar audience. Focus on groups of consumers that share similar interests to your current target audience—or who interact with them in a meaningful way.
Create Products That Enhance Your Original Offering
As you consider potential product opportunities for new audiences, it’ll be very beneficial to consider how a new product could interact with or enhance the existing products you already offer. Video game companies tend to be very successful at this—and not just by regularly releasing new games.
For example, while the Nintendo Switch system comes with its own unique set of controllers known as “Joy-Cons,” the company also offers a more traditional option known as a “Pro Controller” for gamers wanting to spend a little bit extra for more functionality. The additional product serves as an optional enhancement for a particular subset of the console’s main target audience.
As an app developer by trade, Stein and BabelBark found a different way to ensure that new products enhanced their original offerings. “Even though our apps for vets and businesses targeted a different set of users, one of our goals was to streamline communication between all groups who interact with a single pet. We made it so our original BabelBark app could link to the apps for vets and pet businesses. This keeps everyone involved in a pet’s well-being on the same page.”
In this case, original customers don’t even have to buy a new product to enjoy the benefits. By allowing others to connect in the ecosystem of apps, the original product experience is improved, ensuring lasting engagement with the brand.
Find Ways To Improve Your Original Product
Your new product doesn’t always have to be something completely original in order to help drive additional meaningful revenue for your company. One need only look at smartphones to see how simply adding new features to an already-existing product can drive customers to make repeat purchases year after year.
For example, research from Strategy Analytics has found that 70% of smartphone owners plan to make a repeat purchase from their current brand when the time comes to get a new phone.
While smartphone improvements focus on increasing the “wow” factor of their base product, this isn’t the only way you can build off your original product line. “Talking with your customers and getting their feedback is extremely valuable, especially for finding gaps in your services or places where your product falls short of the mark. This can help guide product updates that improve satisfaction and the overall perception of your brand,” Stein adds.
The NFL serves as a great case study for this too. As reported by Ohio University, after surveys found that millennials had significantly lower trust of the league than other demographics, the league began taking several steps to improve one of its primary products—their in-stadium experience.
The NFL asked all stadiums to provide free wi-fi. Many teams also began offering game-day apps for their fans to engage with. Making their product more appealing to a new generation will remain key to keeping the league relevant in the years to come.
A Winning Product Line
By putting these principles into action, you’ll be well on your way to building a lineup of products that blend perfectly into your brand image, while helping to drive longer-lasting revenue from both new and existing customers.
As you continually innovate and find new ways to improve on your offerings, this customer-centric approach will ensure that your business won’t turn into a “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of story. Focus on serving the needs of your customers and you’ll be able to create long-term success.