Most marketing professionals can recount at least one new idea that their company thought was going to be a big success – but ended up being an unmitigated failure. In this scenario, marketers are left trying to piece together and explain what happened with the launch and why consumers didn’t react as they anticipated.

Companies facing issues promoting new offerings should recognize that there is often not just one reason why a product or service fails. We’ve identified three consumer beliefs and motivations that, unaddressed, can drive a new product or service to fall flat in the marketplace.

“That’s not gonna happen to me.”

  • The potential buyer believes that the product or service solves a problem that doesn’t exist or doesn’t exist to the degree at which the consequences from the problem are bad enough to cause them personal harm. They think that either the chances of being hurt are so low that they don’t really exist, or they are impervious to the consequences. People may use dismissive expressions such as, “That’s not gonna happen to me” or “What’s the harm in it?”

“Nobody else is doing it.”

  • The potential buyer feels that not buying a specific product or service aligns them with the perceived opinion of a larger group they identify with – and if they purchased this product or service, they might be seen differently, and it could jeopardize their standing within that group. People may justify their pack-mentality decision and say, “It’s peer pressure” or “Nobody else is doing it.”

“It’s not worth it.”

  • The potential buyer no longer has access to a product or service (barrier), or their concern of personal harm from the item prevents them from completing the purchase (deterrent). People may resign themselves by saying, “I can’t do it” or “It’s not worth it.”

An example of these three elements hard at work is flood insurance. According to NOAA, flooding causes approximately $4.6 billion a year in damage, with the Gulf Coast (aka high flood risk areas) taking on the brunt of that property damage. For Gulf Coast residents, the evidence shows that flood insurance is a good idea, but only 50% of these homes have insurance coverage. Recent studies show there are three dominant reasons for this discrepancy among residents in high risk flood areas:

  • Do not believe they will be impacted by a flood (“That’s not gonna happen to me.”)
  • Neighbors do not have flood insurance (“Nobody else is doing it.”)
  • Too expensive or difficult to find an insurance agent (“It’s not worth it.”)

If your company is experiencing lackluster sales, it can often be attributed to a combination of these three elements. By ensuring marketing leaders address these three potential issues, there is a much greater chance for product launch success.

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