How User Research Can Help You Win Before You Launch New Products and Services Most new products fail, but yours doesn't have to. Deep user research is the antidote to product failure.

By Sriya Srinivasan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Creating and launching new products is an exciting yet daunting period for both startups and enterprises. If the new product succeeds, it will lead to huge sales and business success. However, this is not always what happens. According to research from Harvard Business School, 95% of new products introduced each year fail.

When you've poured millions of dollars and immeasurable labor into launching a new product, and it tanks, this is a crushing blow for the business.

While there is no definitive way to guarantee success with a new product launch, you can dramatically improve your chances by understanding your users and their needs. It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised to know that 50% of businesses still don't invest in deep user research.

When you understand your users' goals, struggles and anxieties, you will not have to guess what to build. Read on to dive deep into how to conduct user research correctly so that you can read your user's mind and build successful products and stronger startups.

Related: How to Nail a Successful Product Launch

1. Deeply understand your user behaviors and motivators

Have an idea for a new product? It's easy to think that's what your users want, and that's why most businesses start with a solution. But if you want to create products that your users want, it's crucial that you don't put solutions in front of potential users while doing user research.

Instead, spend your time deeply understanding the space you're trying to operate in and the people for whom you're trying to solve it. A deeper understanding of your users will help you avoid confirmation bias, and it will help you create products your users need, not just something you need to sell. If you fail to do this, you won't be able to launch a successful product.

Remember, it's easy to get attached to an idea or solution you're sure will be great without getting the real users' input; it happens to the best of us. But creating and launching successful products requires listening to your users and adapting to their needs.

2. Focus on the right users — don't build for everyone

Building great products is difficult — we all know that. But do you know you reduce your chances of launching a successful product if you make it for multiple users?

Why? Because not all users are equally important, especially in the enterprise world of buyers. So, to launch successful products, you must make the hard decisions about which users are more critical.

Still, many businesses don't differentiate, so they don't make hard decisions. But to succeed, you must be clear about which users are crucial for your product and business success.

So, the first step to creating and launching a successful product is not just to understand your users but to understand all the people who are going to use your product. So, you can pick and build your product for the right users.

Related: Why Research Is Key to Startup Growth and Customer Centricity

3. Combine qualitative and quantitative research

Most new products fail because companies take shortcuts and don't invest in collecting data — mainly qualitative data. They feel they "know" their users or that the collection process is too expensive or time-consuming. So, they rely on quantitative research, which helps them confirm their assumptions.

Remember, it is crucial to collect qualitative data when exploring new opportunities. In fact, qualitative research is vital for every business's success. With qualitative data, you can get a deeper understanding of user attitudes about product adoption and interest.

With today's integrated market research platforms becoming more accessible, affordable and faster, there's no reason to launch products under a cloud of dust and gas. You can collect data about people's perceptions of an idea, product or brand. If you use qualitative information to calibrate the quantitative research before launch, you will be more likely to start down the right path.

4. Pay attention to the user's unstated responses

Most new products fail because, while researching, we discount users' unstated preferences. You should never discount users' unstated preferences — even when the data says something completely different.

Before you invest time and money into creating a new product, you need to confirm your product is something people want. And gathering unstated feedback will help you refine your original idea and can even generate a pivot to an entirely new and better product idea. It's not a step you want to skip.

Now, I am not saying you shouldn't listen to what users say. But you should pay equal attention to what they do as well.

Deeper user research will allow you to discover your users' true needs, wants and motivations, which will help you create successful products — the ones your users really want and need. And with solutions such as eye-tracking and facial coding, it has become easy to read your user's minds and uncover their true responses.

Related: Developing a New Product? Here's How to Make It a Hit Success

Wavy Line
Sriya Srinivasan

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Content Manager

With a background in management, Sriya Srinivasan has been actively helping B2B startups scale their content engines. She is well-versed in transforming complex brand stories into simple and engaging content. She is also passionate about building content marketing and product initiatives.

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