20 Product Launch Failures: Top Reasons and Tips

Last updated on November 10th, 2022

By Angel Poghosyan

“Learn from others’ mistakes.” This is a very common piece of advice given to just about anyone. When it comes to launching your own product, this quote still applies. 

That’s why we’ve decided to interview 50 product creators regarding their product launch failures - to determine the top reasons for failed product launches and how to avoid them. Today, we’ll tell you about 20 of them.

As a product validation platform, we’ve gathered a lot of data regarding the importance of product validation before launch. Other common reasons for failure include lack of funds, lack of a strong community, lack of marketing knowledge, and lack of a professional team.

Interested to find out about product launches that failed and why? Keep on reading through, and we’ll talk about the 20 case studies you must know before launching your own product. 

We will also talk about how to avoid product launch failures. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.

 

Our top 20 product launch failure case studies

We’ve talked to 50 product creators who launched their products into the market and failed. Some of them didn’t reach their goal on Kickstarter and failed to raise the necessary funds.

Others failed to build a community around their product, and their lack of marketing knowledge lead to eventual failure. 

Let’s talk about 20 examples of new product launch failures to learn what causes product launch failures in the first place. In the next section, we will discuss the top reasons and give you tips to avoid common mistakes. 

We don’t want to keep you waiting any longer, so let’s dive in.

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Product launch failure #1

Product name: Palmtoms V1

Year: 2021

Product category: Gesture-controlled instruments

Palmtoms

Reason of failure: 

  • Poor prototype,
  • Weak customer research,
  • Lack of experience in the field.

The story of Palmtoms V1:

Taylor Shields started working on the Palmtoms prototype in 2008 with 2 expert software/hardware engineers. 

The goal was to create an interactive controller to create music. After 100 prototypes, Taylor landed on Palmtoms V1. His goal was to raise around $131,000 (CA$ 180,000), and he raised just over $46,000 on Kickstarter.

Taylor mentioned that he didn’t do any market validation and he didn’t build a cross-functional team, which were a couple of the reasons for his products’ failure.

He also mentioned that the lessons he learned from his experience were that he should have built a perfect prototype and have a good promo video for Kickstarter.

Lesson to learn:

1. Study other people's experiences: Learn from their mistakes.

2. Make sure your prototype is flawless.

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Product launch failure #2

Product name: Pharos

Year: 2021

Product category: Medication Management

Pharos

Reason of failure: 

  • Lack of strong product positioning
  • Lack of funding

The story of Pharos:

Darien and Lloyd Nurse had the idea for a time-tracking device that would help patients take their pills at the right time during the day. Of their $30,000 goal, the founders only managed to raise $1,433 with 30 backers. 

On their Kickstarter campaign page, the founders claim that they had manufacturing lined up and ready to go. The only thing stopping them was the funding. 

In hindsight, the campaigners claim that 2 things should’ve been done better. Firstly, since healthcare is a competitive field, product positioning should’ve been taken more seriously. Secondly, more time and effort should’ve been dedicated to testing the product.

Lesson to learn:

1. Take the testing period of your product more seriously

2. Listen to your customer’s needs

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Product launch failure #3

Product name: GNARBOARD

Year: 2013

Product category: Electric vehicles

Gnarboard

Reason of failure: 

  • Funds wasted on bad marketing
  • Lack of marketing knowledge (influencer marketing)
  • Working alone instead of in a team

The story of GNARBOARD:

The idea for the GNARBOARD was born in 2010, when the founder realized that current balance boards lack advancement and difficulty because they use a cylindrical object to operate along a single axis, making them quick to master. 

He wanted to create the most challenging balance board and fitness trainer on the market, and he did.

The founder worked alone, and in hindsight, he realized that a lot of funds were spent on bad marketing. Instead, he should’ve known how to approach his audience. In this case, influencer marketing would’ve been a good solution.

Lesson to learn:

1. Know your audience, understand how to reach them, and market your product correctly.

2. Build your name, create a community around your product, and do a presale to test and validate the product.

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Product launch failure #4

Product name: DimaMOD

Product category: Miniatures and modeling

diamod

Reason of failure: 

  • Lack of funds to devote to advertising. 
  • High-end product with a high price.

The story of DimaMOD:

The idea was born to create a new market, a passion for miniatures and modeling, said Fabrizio Manca. He started with 3D design, prototyping, and construction of 50 units and eventually launched a Kickstarter campaign with a $5,000 goal.

Their €7,000 investment wasn’t enough to fuel the launch of the product. Eventually, their Kickstarter campaign yielded bad results. 

The team did some research before launching their high-cost product, but their product validation wasn’t enough to warrant success. 

Lesson to learn:

1. Understand your costs and have a good financial plan.

2. Risks are the only resources you are willing to lose.

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Product launch failure #5

Product name: Inill Liquid Chalk

Product category: Workout equipment

Inill Liquid Chalk

Reason of failure: 

  • Poor targeting in marketing endeavors
  • Lack of sales tracking
  • Incorrect spacing out of inventory restocking

The story of Inill Liquid Chalk:

Omri Milstein and Nathan Freihofer were regular lifters who used gym chalk during their workouts. They wanted to add some creativity to their chalk, so they decided to include different colors in addition to the standard white.

Their goal was to provide people and gyms with an identity through different chalk colors.

Eventually, they realized that their marketing plan wasn’t efficient enough and that their ROIs were slacking due to a lack of sales tracking. On top of that, some popular colors were being sold out while other colors were in surplus in the warehouse.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Teamwork is essential for learning from each other, utilizing connections, and dispersing work.
  2. Generate and stay up to date with the monthly ROI reports to budget and grow efficiently.

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Product launch failure #6

Product name: UPPO 2.0

Year: 2021

Product category: Wearables

Uppo 2.0

Reason of failure: 

  • Shortage of resources,
  • Lack of marketing knowledge,
  • Pay more attention to customer needs.

The story of UPPO 2.0:

Girts Ozolins noticed his wrist pain after working long hours at an agency. Along with a co-worker and another co-founder, they decided to create a product to prevent wrist pain.

They started with building a prototype, finding suppliers, and building marketing channels. Later, they launched a Kickstarted campaign, which unfortunately raised only $1,750 of their $2,792 goal.

In the co-founders’ opinion, customer needs research / Market Validation is the most important stage for a startup, and we couldn’t agree more. On the other hand, they dropped the ball when it came to serving their customers right and finding the necessary resources to grow.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Build a professional team
  2. Listen to your intuition more closely.

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Product launch failure #7

Product name: Scandle

Product category: Home products

Scandle

Reason of failure: 

  • Low investment to do big marketing campaigns
  • Pricing/cost issues: find the right balance in pricing a product high enough to eventually cover costs but low enough to bring in customers
  • Not being an expert with contacts in the industry

The story of Scandle:

Scandle was founded by a mother and daughter. They created Scandle to signify their love for comfort and music. The product is a scented candle with a curated playlist that will immerse you in a synesthetic experience.

Now you wouldn’t necessarily call this product a failure (they are projected to have a total of €100,000 in sales this year), but this product launch could’ve been so much better.

With a little more investment, a better pricing strategy, industry experience, and mastering one market at a time, this mother and daughter could’ve gotten much further the first time around.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Have a good pricing strategy.
  2. Focus on just one channel to market and get that working well before adding another one.
  3. Build retention and engagement flows.

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Product launch failure #8

Product name: KOKONG

Year: 2019

Product category: Smart home products

kokong

Reason of failure: 

  • Pandemic,
  • Price drop (that was also linked to the pandemic),
  • Lack of awareness of tipping points. 

The story of KOKONG:

The founder of KOKONG is a father who was concerned about electricity waste. His daughter was leaving her chargers plugged in even when they weren’t being used, so they came up with the idea for KOKONG - an autonomous smart socket that works to save the power into a safety.

Unfortunately, only 56% of KOKONG’s goal was reached on Indiegogo ($8,437 out of $15,000).

The failure of this product was mainly caused due to an unexpected pandemic. In fact, some of the biggest product launch failures occurred due to the pandemic, and KOKONG was one of its victims.

Lesson to learn:

  1. It is very important to remain realistic and not to develop emotional attachments to your product in order to accurately assess its value.
  2. Never give up your dreams, and learn in every situation.

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Product launch failure #9

Product name: CIYCE

Year: 2022

Product category: Product design

ciyce

Reason of failure: 

  • Lack of traffic to the Kickstarter page,
  • Poor web design,
  • Inadequate testing.

The story of CIYCE:

The CIYCE team was so passionate about video games that they came up with the idea of creating convenient wireless headsets that’ll work for any device.

They analyzed the market, created a prototype, and spent around $200,000, but they failed to reach their Kickstarter goal of $14,891. They had 59 backers and raised $4,870, but it wasn’t enough.

You’ll be glad to know that they decided to have a re-launch and raised HK$63,122 out of their HK$39,105 goal. 

Lesson to learn:

  1. Always have a good prototype and work only with professionals.
  2. Do proper testing and validation,
  3. Work with professional companies.

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Product launch failure #10

Product name: Convertible Mask

Year: 2021

Product category: Product design

comvertible mask

Reason of failure: 

  • Lack of knowledge on how Kickstarter works,
  • Lack of manufacturing resources,
  • Lack of professional team. 

The story of Convertible Mask:

The Convertible Mask is a comfortable mask that protects people from both cold and viruses. It has a flap that opens and closes. 

Unfortunately, the product failed to reach its goal of $21,000 on Kickstarter. Nevertheless, $1,625 was raised from 19 backers.

In the words of the founder, one of the most important factors is knowing your audience well. 

He neglected to take into account that the younger generation is concerned with the look and design of the product rather than anything else. Nevertheless, comfort and functionality were there. 

The founder claims that the main reason the product didn’t succeed is because of the way Kickstarter works.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Never regret your failure, and try again with the experience you gained.
  2. Keep your risk estimations realistic and focus on customer needs.

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Product launch failure #11

Product name: N95 HEPA Filter Nose Mask 

Product category: Health

n95 hepa filter nose mask

Reason of failure: 

  • Lack of aesthetic design
  • Lack of product validation

The story of N95 HEPA Filter Nose Mask:

Rodger Lu, the creator of the N95 HEPA Filter Nose Mask, wanted to create a product that helped everyone from large, polluted cities. He didn’t, however, consider people’s preferences when it came to designing.

The founder claims that working with a professional team would’ve helped his case. Considering design choices would’ve also been useful. In fact, the product creator claimed that even his brothers made fun of the product and said it made people look like a pig.

In this case, online product validation software like Prelaunch.com would be a great way to test out design choices.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Work with a professional team.
  2. Stay committed to your dreams no matter how slow things may progress.

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Product launch failure #12

Product name: ERA zero waste Team

Year: 2020

Product category: Product design

Era zer waste team

Reason of failure: 

  • The idea was not Kickstarter friendly
  • They did not have an efficient amount of people on the waiting list

The story of ERA zero waste Team:

After realizing the amount of waste they produce, the founders, namely Livia Zimermann and her 12-person team, decided to launch a self-care product box with zero waste.

The vision for the product is to contribute to the ecosystem while also achieving their business goals. Unfortunately, their campaign only raised $15,593 with157 backers out of their $19,478 goal.

This definitely isn’t the biggest of our product launch failures, but it was enough to prompt the founder to write a big piece about things she wishes she had known before launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Always work with a professional team and make sure that the product is  Kickstarter friendly.
  2. Take care of pre-campaign preparation before the launch.

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Product launch failure #13

Product name: 6th Gen JUMBO DeskStand

Year: 2021

Product category: Product design

6th gen jumbo deskstand

Reason of failure: 

  • Supplier costs
  • Poor campaign promotion

The story of 6th Gen JUMBO DeskStand:

Our next story of product launch failures is about the 6th Gen JUMBO DeskStand, which is an adjustable, ergonomic, and sustainable standing desk.

The product was built for people with desk jobs who want to avoid posture problems. With a $5,000 investment, this standing desk raised only $1,175 with 13 backers (out of their $50,000 goal).

Their Kickstarter page has only 1 update, which signals that planning for the campaign was insufficient. The product also has comments about being too expensive, which the founders are aware of.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Listen to the customer
  3. Understand the importance of building a community around your Kickstarter campaign

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Product launch failure #14

Product name: PetAseptic

Product category: Pet products

Petaseptic

Reason of failure: 

  • They did not have adequate capital.
  • They did not want to have any other investors.
  • They did not hire new team members to boost sales.

The story of PetAseptic:

The founders of PetAseptic noticed that most pet products in the market contained fragrances, colors, odors, and other additives. That’s why they created PetAseptic - a line of pet care products with 100% natural ingredients.

When asked about their product launch failure, the founders mentioned a lack of investment. If they were to do it again, they would increase the initial investment from $45,000 to $150,000.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Understand the buying cycle
  2. Have patience
  3. Be realistic when evaluating your potential

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Product launch failure #15

Product name: TACYLATE

Year: 2020

Product category: Gadgets

tacylate

Reason of failure: 

  • The product was not effectively promoted.
  • Lack of marketing knowledge and expertise
  • Our launch coincided with the spread of COVID, which adversely affected our product.

The story of TACYLATE:

TACYLATE is a gadget for cleaning the deck of your lawn mower safely and efficiently. The founder invested $70,000 and created their first prototype. 

This family-run business did a Kickstarter campaign around their product, which was unfortunately unsuccessful. Out of their $10,329 goal, they raised just around $4,800 with 57 backers.

Their launch coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is one of the reasons for this product launch failure. The founder also claims that his lack of marketing knowledge held him back from reaching his full potential.

In any case, the product is now available for sale on their website! The founder brought the idea to life despite an initial product launch failure.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Understand your sales channels 
  2. Understand how to market your product and how to sell it

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Product launch failure #16

Product name: B'MOR Studio Team

Year: 2021

Product category: Product design

b'mor studio team

Reason of failure: 

  • Lack of knowledge in marketing,
  • Lack of proper advertising,
  • Lack of understanding of how Kickstarter works.

The story of B'MOR Studio Team:

The B’MOR Studio Team launched Chaperon as a cross-seasonal and multifunctional headwear. Similar to a mix between a hat and a scarf, the Chaperon is ethical, hypoallergenic, and comfortable. 

Anna Chirkova - the founder we spoke to, told us that they invested €250,000, created a prototype, participated in exhibitions, did advertising, then launched a Kickstarter campaign.

Due to a lack of marketing knowledge and a lack of Kickstarter experience, this product is now on our list of product launch failures. They raised only $1,657 with 10 backers out of their $22,172 goal.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Work with a professional team
  2. Consider marketing as your most important process. The founder stressed the importance of marketing on multiple occasions.

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Product launch failure #17

Product name: Deneault

Year: 2021

Product category: Accessories

deneault

Reason of failure: 

  • Not building communities on social media
  • Not taking financial risks
  • Lack of proper marketing

The story of Deneault:

Frederic Deneault, the founder of Deneault Watch Co., was a watch enthusiast for years. One day, he decided to finally launch his own sports watch collection. He invested $3K to create a prototype and launch his crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a platform that requires lots of marketing and community building to yield great results. Unfortunately, Deneault had only 8 backers and raised $897 out of their $32,765 goal.

In hindsight, the founder learned how to avoid product launch failures to a certain extent. The keys are communities and marketing.

Lesson to learn:

  • Build communities
  • Listen to customers
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help from professionals

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Product launch failure #18

Product name: Doloyi Shapewear

Year: 2021

Product category: Product design

doloyi shapewear

Reason of failure: 

  • Partnering with a manufacturing company that didn't want to spend much time with a small client
  • Underestimating the importance of building a community and brand name before launching

The story of Doloyi Shapewear:

Peace Omoregie, the founder of Doloyi Shapewear, got the idea for this product due to wardrobe malfunctions. They conducted market research, held customer interviews, and spent around $6,000 to build a prototype.

The next step was to run a Kickstarter campaign. Unfortunately, Peace underestimated the importance of marketing and building a strong community. Her campaign still raised $2,565 out of its $35,000 goal.

At the end of the day, she learned that building a brand name is crucial before launching. In fact, it could be an explanation for why most product launches fail.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Develop a business base and brand name
  2. Creating a strong community.
  3. Work with a professional partner.

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Product launch failure #19

Product name: Yoga Cards

Year: 2020

Product category: Health & Fitness

yoga cards

Reason of failure: 

  • COVID-19
  • Market distribution
  • Lack of knowledge in marketing
  • Lack of funds 

The story of Yoga Cards:

Fernando Diaz, the founder of Yoga cards, is a health professional. He wanted to help his students with some helpful information on yoga which is more specific and compact than books. So, he created “Yoga Cards” - a set of yoga cards with all the information on how to practice or teach yoga.

The founder launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for Yoga Cards, but it failed to reach its goal of €5,500. They raised only €1,773. The funds weren’t enough to launch the products into the market.

Fernando also shared that a lack of marketing knowledge, market distribution, and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic were among the reasons for his product launch failure.

Lesson to learn:

  1. Find the right sales platforms and channels
  2. Know your marketing tools
  3. Make mistakes, and learn, but do not give up

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Product launch failure #20

Product name: Leonardo

Year: 2022

Product category: Home furnishing

Leonardo

Reason of failure: 

  • Working alone
  • Few financial resources
  • Lack of knowledge of the crowdfunding world

The story of Leonardo:

Mario Furieri has a big family, and he always had a laundry problem with drying and ironing clothes. The founders came up with a genius idea to have a multi-purpose dryer. Enter: Leonardo. 

Leonardo is a piece of wall art that flips over and turns into a clothing rack with propellers over it to dry the clothes. They had a good plan but didn’t manage to raise enough funds on Indiegogo to reach their €20,000 goal. 

Nevertheless, they raised €7,468. Currently, they have partnered with a company and are on track to making changes to the product. They will reveal the final product in October.

Lesson to learn:

  1. To achieve success, a single and winning product is not enough, you need a winning strategy and communication.
  2. Work with a professional team.

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Why do product launches fail? Here are the most common reasons

According to our 50 product lunch failure interviews, we’ve identified the most common reasons why products fail in the market. There were many products that failed due to poor marketing, unprofessional team members, lack of funds, and more. 

A significant portion of these product launch failures occurred due to a lack of product validation. As a product creator, there are many online resources that can help you in validating your product in the market. One of these resources is Prelaunch.com.

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Now, let’s talk about 5 of the most common reasons for product launch failures. 

 

1. Lack of funds

Wondering what causes product launch failures the most? According to our 50 examples of new product launch failures, founders claim that lack of funds is the most common reason for failure. 

Some founders realized that a bigger initial investment was needed. Others understand that they should’ve taken on more investors. The rest failed to raise funds for their product launch on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. 

 

2. Lack of marketing knowledge

Many founders had their prototypes ready and set to ship out, but the sales weren’t reaching their expectations. This is why the second most common reason for product launch failures is the lack of marketing knowledge.

If you can’t reach your potential customers and show them your product, how will they know to buy or pre-order your product? In any case, marketing is a key to success that you simply need.

 

3. Lack of Early Insights

Most creators didn’t talk to their customers early on and didn’t get credible insights on what they really liked about their product.

 

4. Lack of a strong community

Having a strong community around your brand-new product is crucial for its growth. If it’s your first time launching a product, you’ll definitely learn that along the way.

In fact, having a strong community behind your product can open up new doors for crowdfunding. This leads us to the next common reason for product launch failures.

 

5. Lack of a professional team and lack of knowledge on how Kickstarter works

The 4th place is shared by a lack of a professional team and a lack of knowledge on how Kickstarter works. First, many product creators we interviewed told us that having an unprofessional team caused many issues, leading to their eventual product launch failure.

As for Kickstarter, a lot of the product creators we interviewed tried to raise funds through such crowdfunding platforms and failed. In fact, the 2nd and 3rd points are highly connected to this last reason. 

Had these 50 founders known about the tricks (marketing and community) of succeeding on Kickstarter, they would’ve been able to avoid the top reason for failure (funds).

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6 tips to avoid product launch failures

Now that you know the top 4 reasons for product launch failures, let’s talk about how you can avoid them. We’ve identified the top 4 ways on how to avoid product launch failures, so you can learn from others’ mistakes.

 

Early product validation

A significant part of our interviewees claimed that validating their product before launch is a lesson they learned after their product launch failure. We can’t stress the importance of early product validation before launching enough. 

Product validation lets you know if your product is truly needed in the market. At the end of the day, you get to figure out whether your product will be profitable.

If you don’t know where to start with your new product’s validation, there are many online tools that can help. Prelaunch.com is one of the best product validation platforms for startups. This smart tool will do the trick if you want to validate your product’s relevance in the market or go deeper and validate your product’s pricing strategy.

Learn more about the process of product validation.

 

Build a cross-functional team

it’s important to have team members who complement each other’s skill sets. For example, if you have a 3-person team with 1 designer, 1 marketer, and 1 business mind, you’ll cover a lot of bases. 

If there are 2 developers in the team, they cover almost the same bases. As a result, nobody knows how to take care of the financial side of things or how to market the product efficiently.

That said, let’s remember that marketing is one of the keys to generating sales and getting your brand name out there.

 

Build a community around your product

Having a community of supporters is one of the keys to having a successful product launch. If you’re launching through some sort of crowdfunding or product validation platform, this becomes even more crucial.

You need to have a group of people who will believe in your product and support you all the way. Starting from your family and friends all the way to your social media followers, you need to build, grow, and nurture your community.

 

Talk to your customers and learn about them

Last but not least, let’s talk about your target audience. You need to know your audience like the back of your hand to succeed. You need to know what they like, what they need, and what makes them tick.

If you serve your customers’ needs, solve a problem for them, and make it easy for them to find and use your products, you’ll be halfway to success.

One of the best ways of getting feedback from your potential customers is by talking to them personally. You can hold online meetings or conduct surveys to get inside their head. After all, they’re the ones who will buy and use your product, so you must customize it to their liking.

 

Don’t overlook your marketing strategy

Many product creators fail to recognize the importance of marketing when it comes to launching a product. So, our advice here is to consider the marketing side of things as a core success metric.

Marketing your product will not only boost your brand awareness, but it can help in raising funds for your business as well.

 

Scout various sources for raising funding

There are many ways to raise funds for your business. You can take on debt, and you can find angel investors, you can get funding from a VC, etc. There is one way of raising funds that is very popular among product creators, which is crowdfunding. If you’ve never heard of it, then you definitely should. 

As a product creator, you need to consider all your options for raising funds in order to avoid the most common reasons why most product launches fail.

 

Final Thoughts

Having dissected 20 cases of product launch failures, we’ve been able to identify the top reasons why most product launches fail. Whether it is a lack of funds, marketing knowledge, or team discrepancies, most product launch failures can be avoided with expertise. 

If you’re a product creator looking to launch your first product, always remember to validate your idea, audience, product, and more. 

Take your marketing seriously, create a community around your product, and if you manage to create a product that is loved, you will succeed.

 

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