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Innovation & Risk

by Matt Manning

New product development for information services is a risky business. It takes deep customer insight, rigorous data analysis, management buy-in, and no small amount of gumption for a new information service to succeed.

The variables involved in success include:

  • An unmet need: The solution to one or more of a businessperson’s more vexing professional problems.
  • A barrier to entry: Unique, exclusive, or hard-to-find information.
  • A compelling user experience: The form and function of the service.
  • Anchor tenants: A guaranteed set of early-adopters eager to purchase your new service.
  • Timing: A salubrious economic climate puts wind in your sails while an untimely recession can scuttle even the best of launches.

Due diligence should allow you to ‘run the table’ on all of these variables (apart from the blind luck of timing and the dart art of pricing), but there is one guaranteed way to reduce the risk of a product launch: Keep the cost of the new product as low as possible.

Skimping on marketing outlays is a potentially fatal error that falls into the “pennywise but pound foolish” category, while keeping your product creation costs low is something that can make a huge difference. For example, if a product’s break-even cost is 250 subscribers, then getting 500 subs is a runaway success. If break-even is at 750 subs then you may be updating your LinkedIn profile earlier than you thought when only 500 seats get sold.

So how do you keep content creation costs low? Building an extremely fresh database and designing a low-cost and low-maintenance data-updating process is not something that too many publishers, let alone outsourced vendors, can do. IEI, however, was built for this challenge and we have a track record of successful product launches for our customers to prove it.

When you get wind of ‘the next big thing’ come ask us what it will take to get to a minimally viable product with a solid data supply chain in place. With a strong initial customer user experience you, too, may be able to drive early renewals and thus guarantee the longevity of your new service.

posted by Shyamali Ghosh on February 20, 2018

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