Bringing a new product to market is exciting, and it requires time, investment, and passion. Typically, new product development involves creating a new product to meet a market need or improving an existing product by adding innovative features.
To transform an idea for a product or improvement into a viable product or service, a new product development team must create and implement a solid development plan.
1. Generating new product ideas
Ideas can come from numerous sources, so keep an open mind and make use of:
- Colleagues and workmates. Ask subject matter experts in the organization about tools or innovations they would like to see.
- Market research. A new product needs a market. Identify the target audience and any competitive products. Consider whether the market can handle another product. Determine how the new product will stand apart and how much buyers might pay for it.
- Customers. Customer feedback is valuable. Social media, for example, often provides insight into what customers need and want. Look for trends and be ready to take advantage of new opportunities.
- Competition. Watching the competition and identifying the advantages and disadvantages of their products can stimulate ideas about what type of new product could offer more value.
2. Vetting new product ideas
While ideas might be abundant, not all will be possible or practical. Based on market research, feedback, and experience, shorten the list to the top five ideas. Evaluate the best ideas using the following criteria:
- Strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis
- Revenue potential
- Revenue model
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Pricing strategy
- Product distribution
3. Developing and testing the concept
New product development should include an evaluation stage. Proof of concept (POC) involves presenting a tangible concept to elicit ideas and critiques from participants in a target user group. Business requirements are translated into functional requirements to create a living blueprint of a product that target users can visualize and evaluate. Because POC testing focuses on user experience and expectations, it can help reduce time and costs during the development stage.
4. Brand strategy and product marketing
Product marketing strategy often is more important than product development strategy. After all, a great product won’t be great if it doesn’t sell. In addition to focusing on branding, messaging, licensing, pricing, videos, and product collateral, be sure to build a strong website and web presence through search engine optimization and social media. Support the various marketing approaches with a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy.
5. Product development
Next, transform the POC into a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP should include enough core features to effectively deploy the product and gather the insights necessary for proceeding to a fully developed product.
Objectives of an MVP include:
- Collecting feedback from customers based on their initial interaction with the product
- Using customer feedback to guide further development
- Reducing unnecessary engineering hours
- Building the product brand more quickly
- Determining if the product provides enough value for customers to purchase and use it
6. Product launch
Introducing the new product is a multistage process:
- Pre-prelaunch. Build excitement among the target audience by posting a blog entry, recording a short video, and sending out announcements. Start the promotion at least two to four weeks before launching the new product.
- Prelaunch. Increase awareness and excitement by building a relationship with the target audience. For example, schedule a moderated webinar with Q&A about a week before the launch to advance the launch process and build anticipation.
- Launch. Ramp up social media activity and solicit quotable comments from influential people in the market. Address post-launch feedback from customers and reviewers. Take the feedback seriously, as customer satisfaction plays a significant role in the product’s long-term market viability.
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Smartly designed new product development plans deliver versatile and successful products that can benefit an organization and its clients.
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