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Tracking Innovation Performance | Reinventing Reinvention Guide

Tracking how an innovation performs after it’s launched is something that companies tend to overlook. Read on to learn why this shouldn't happen and learn handy tips for tracking your innovation.

It might sound illogical, but tracking how an innovation performed after it’s launched is something that companies tend to overlook. After spending hours on ideation, understanding customer needs, and talking to stakeholders, it’s easy to become preoccupied with the early stages of the innovation pipeline and not measure the innovation’s impact once it has launched.

Scott Burrows, VP at Dig, explains that traditionally, social listening and comparing sales projections against reality are the main ways researchers used to understand how people received an innovation. This usually meant tracking word-of-mouth mentions and related conversations through social media or looking at transactional data.

However, tracking innovations today is so much more. It’s about measuring why an innovation performed the way it did and providing a larger context about the customers after they experienced the innovation.

If a new product didn’t bring the conversions you predicted, why did this happen? Was it a problem with awareness? Are there any barriers of trial? Did the innovation meet consumers’ expectations? Does the innovation reach the intended target consumer? This depth of data can only be achieved when you conduct a thorough innovation tracking study that looks beyond the sales numbers.

So how did a traditional innovation tracking survey change over time?

Initially, when your product has launched, you would send a survey to customers to track performance through the purchase funnel, identify critical touchpoints, and understand perceptions through consumer surveys.

This tracking survey has now evolved into online surveys that don’t take hours to conduct and are cheaper to run iteratively. They allow clients to access insights seamlessly via dashboards and see the results in real time.

Scott specializes in innovation tracking. Here are his comments about why it’s so important to use modern tools to track performance:

There are so many innovations being launched daily so the need to track performance is much greater. Today, speed, customization, and iteration are things that determine your brand’s ability to track innovations in a more agile way.

So, using platforms that deliver on these things can help your brand find insights faster and make more informed strategic decisions.

Scott Burrows, VP

Dig Insights

Dig’s tips for tracking the performance of innovations

1. Understand which metrics you need to measure

Imagine this: you’ve launched a brand-new chocolate bar. You spent time and money researching which flavors and textures people like, testing different recipes, and developing the bar with the healthiest ingredients. You even hired a marketing agency to create buzz around your new product.

And now that the chocolate bar has hit shelves, everything seems to be going smoothly. The chocolate bar is popular and retail sales are growing. So you happily report to your manager that the launch has been successful.

But here’s a question - are sales really the best metric to measure the success of your product? While it’s great to see that people are buying your new product, the number of purchases shouldn’t be the only metric to rely on.

That’s why you should consider why people are buying your product too. You can do that by measuring the right innovation metrics. Those can include:

These metrics can help you answer the “why” behind your innovation. They can show consumers’ intent, goals and motivations, and the problem they’re trying to solve.

2. Rinse and repeat

We’re going to repeat ourselves. Test. Innovations. Iteratively.

Think of any tech brand. The Microsofts and Paypals of the world never stop innovating and always find ways to improve their offerings, that’s why you’re always being asked to update your software - because they’ve improved it. This is something that companies in all industries should embrace if they want to stay ahead of the competition and launch successful innovations.

When our clients finish working on an innovation, they often gather data after the launch and go back to the drawing board to find the next winning idea. The cycle can go on as long as the business still needs new ideas and has enough budget and time to conduct the research.

Want to learn about other stages of Dig's innovation process? Read our full Reinventing Reinvention Guide now.