Tips to making product changes that keep your consumers in mind

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Tips to making product changes that keep your consumers in mind

As a product manager, you’re often times required to manage your product line by balancing the operational needs of your company with the needs of your consumer. Your company wants you to manage your product line’s profitability, which often results in changing a recipe, an ingredient, a component, etc. that can ultimately have a negative impact on your product’s performance and/or perceptions at shelf.

If you’re making significant changes to your product, keep these things in mind as you look to potentially reposition it in consumers’ minds:

1. Give the changes a reason for being.

Making Product Changes: Give the changes a reason for being.

If you’re taking some component or cost out of your final product, will consumers notice? If they’re going to notice, you’ll have to ground the changes in a story that makes them say “OK, I get it,” so they will continue to buy it anyway. For example, consumers are well aware that “whipped” products are the result of air being blown into them, and yet they continue to buy them for the “lower calorie” benefits they provide. It makes sense. Review your original go-to-market strategy and identify what needs to be updated in your product marketing plan.

2. Take something and give something in return.

Product Changes: Take Something and Give Something in Return.

If you have to eliminate something from a product, can you now add something else that costs less but provides additional benefits? If so, you can turn your story into a positive for the consumer, who might just accept your new offering if it really delivers on a consumer need.

3. Completely reposition.

Product Change: Completely Reposition.

If your product—or service for that matter—is going to change significantly, be sure to go back to square one with your product marketing plan and test your new concept with consumers to find out how to deliver on a consumer need in your communications. Completely revamping a product or service requires revisiting your go-to-market strategy to make sure the product really does meet the needs of target base and that your product launch marketing plan talks about your new product in a way that resonates with them. It may not be the same way you communicated with them before the changes, so be sure to do your homework, and consider investing in a concept review.

4. Evaluate the opportunity to add proprietary language.

Product Changes: Evaluate the opportunity to add proprietary language.

Look for ways to talk about your product that are simple, intuitive and (most importantly) proprietary. Turn something like a basic description of what your product does, which may normally be described in a full sentence, and find a way to say it in a more appealing and shorter version than what you first developed.

The best advice for any product change is to ask yourself “what’s in it for my consumers?” Find a way to connect with them and tell your new story in a meaningful way and your product will have an extended shelf life—until the next product change comes around anyway!

Not sure where to start? Let Writing by Design help you craft a CrystalClear℠ story for your product change.

With more than 30 years of experience working alongside marketing, research and insights teams throughout the entire qualitative and quantitative product launch journey, Patti Purcell helps national and international CPGs successfully position and launch new products. Patti and her team at Writing by Design, the company she founded in 2006, provide outstanding concept writing services, a crucial part of every go-to-market strategy. Patti and Writing by Design have written hundreds of concepts and achieved many successful A.C. Nielsen BASES test scores over the last 15 years using their CrystalClear℠ concept writing methodology and proprietary tools.