How to use data to ensure the success of a new product launch

By Chelsea Stone

6 min read

July 27, 2021

Congratulations, you’ve launched a product! A great deal of data and resources went into planning, launching, and promoting your brand’s latest innovation. It’s available on store shelves and you’ve launched marketing campaigns to make sure potential customers know about it and understand why and how it will benefit them.


But now that your product is out there, how can you be sure that all that effort will pay off?


Just as you used data to plan your launch and initial promotions, it’s data that can help you track the progress of your product and determine what part of your launch plan is going as you’d anticipated, and what (if anything) needs some course correcting so that you can fully capitalize on this major moment. 


Sure, you might be thinking, major players have all kinds of data they can use. But as a small CPG manufacturer, I go with my gut.


Anyone can get lucky making decisions on gut instinct, but small CPG manufacturers need a data-driven growth strategy. McKinsey found that 21% of high-performing organizations identified setting a data and analytics strategy as their number one key to success. Moreover, these higher performing companies were a whopping 57% more likely than their lesser-performing peers to say that they alter their long-term strategy in response to data and analytics. 


In other words, it isn’t just initial planning and projections that can benefit from data, but using data to track and adjust long-term plans post-launch is essential to performing at your best. 


One of the biggest gaps between high-performing companies and the rest was incorporating daily data practices for every member of their organization. In the McKinsey report, 43% said data is broadly available to frontline employees whenever they need it.


Access to data is great. Integrating data into the decision-making process for every decision maker up and down the ladder is what separates successful CPG manufacturers from the rest, no matter what their size.

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Nobody needs data more than small CPG manufacturers


While everyone in the CPG world would benefit from the democratization of data, this is especially true for small to mid-size CPG brands and manufacturers that must stick to a budget. As any start-up entrepreneur can tell you, showing profitability is key to keeping investors confident. But we also know that promotions aren’t just expensive – they actually often lose money. The biggest CPG manufacturers don’t have to worry as much about incremental lift. But smaller CPG manufacturers need to make sure that every penny they spend is helping. And they need to invite trial more than older brands with bigger name recognition. So how does a small CPG brand avoid spending themselves off the shelf? That’s where retail data can help CPG manufacturers spend and invest with precision.


What metrics matter most post-product launch 


So if you are going to make useful data available to your team in order to ensure the most successful launch and long-term performance possible, you’ll need to know which metrics matter most at this juncture. 


First, you’ll want to track how your new product is performing in your category. This will allow you to make comparisons against directly-competing products and companies to help you set realistic goals and determine whether you’re on track with your initial plan. 


Next, you need to know how your new product is performing by market. When operating on a tight budget, you want to make sure you are putting your energy into the markets that are receptive to the new product. Looking strictly at the category might mean you miss outliers where the launch isn’t gaining traction or where it’s flying off the shelves. (That’s where information like panel data can help tremendously.)


Last, you’ll want to check how your new product is performing against other new products launched in your category. This prevents you from comparing apples to oranges. While it’s important to know how your new product is standing up to the industry leading products in your category, knowing how you measure against your direct competitors who are also jumping into the mix at the same time gives you a clearer picture of potential and expectations to help you set new goals and adjust strategy accordingly. 



How NielsenIQ Brand Score can help you get the most of your data post-launch


All of this essential data is now easily accessible for small and mid-size CPG teams thanks to NielsenIQ Brand Score. NielsenIQ Brand Score distills multitudinous critical metrics into easily-digestible scores in a user-friendly web-based application. This product has both a free version and a paid subscription, ensuring there is an option that best fits your needs. 


With just a few clicks, any size manufacturer can get a clear picture of your brands’ areas of opportunity and immediate answers about how your new product launches compare with your competitors.  


Accessing the necessary metrics in a matter of minutes makes all the difference. As drivers of innovation, small CPG brands already know that speed matters. But small CPG brands also need metrics that are straight-forward and easily accessible – startups don’t have an army of data analysts on staff to crunch reams of numbers. 


With NielsenIQ Brand Score, you can know in an instant how your brand is performing against others in its category and create clear, actionable plans for seizing the opportunities in front of you.  


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