Matthew Conrad is the SVP, research excellence at ENGINE insights. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title “Increasing New Product Launch Success by Enhancing Target Audience Intelligence.”

As marketers, we’ve all heard the statistics about the insanely high percentage of new products that crash and burn within the first year of introduction. From the Ford Edsel to New Coke to Colgate Kitchen Entrees, history is littered with new product failures. Many of these were doomed from the beginning – maybe because the adjacency category for the brand wasn’t a good fit or the product was overall a bad idea. In some cases, good products fail because they aren’t marketed to the right audience or in the right place. What if there were a way to better stack the odds in a new product’s favor of a successful launch by ensuring the right target audience is exposed to the product in the right place?

To answer this question, we must first go back to our new product innovation roots of ideation and concept development. Once a consumer problem or potential need is identified, origination of the new product that address the problem or need begins with ideation. The manifestation of new product ideas, and the first concrete articulation of a new product, is the product concept. The constructs in developing a compelling concept that resonates with consumers have remained largely unchanged for decades. All successful concepts must contain three critical elements:

The tried-and-true way to help determine if you have what could be a winning new product idea is to conduct a concept test – one of the pillar methodologies of market research. Ultimately, a concept test allows for an understanding of key consumer metrics, such as consumer purchase interest, likability, believability, uniqueness, value and relevance. If the concept meets measurement standards (e.g. positively comparable to...