At Appco, we understand the importance of effective product development, which is why we created The Lab. Our in-house team of direct sales and marketing specialists focus on research, development and implementation of bespoke campaigns for our clients.
The Lab’s Product Development Manager Keith Watters explains why product development is a crucial process for the survival of any business.
We live in an extremely dynamic and competitive world and the next great idea could drive your business to new heights or, conversely, it could prove to be a waste of both your time and money. The product development process is the cycle a new product must undergo from initial concept to final introduction to the market.
This following is a simplified five-step guide to approaching the product development process.
Phase one: let the ideas flow
This stage is crucial as it lays the foundation for all that follows. Whether the ideas come from within your team, or from customers, competitors, or the media, those ‘light-bulb’ moments will guide the overall product development process.
Phase two: research your market
This is the screening process to filter out your non-viable options. You cannot skip this stage otherwise you risk developing your ideas in a vacuum and pursuing unfeasible ideas, which is a costly exercise. It’s also important to seek out the opinions of customers, other businesses, and co-workers. Once technology, legislation and competition are taken into consideration you should be left with only your most feasible options.
Phase three: develop your concept
It’s time to research the potential costs, revenues and profits arising from the product. Other things to take into consideration at this point are staff resources and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats existing in the market. Where is your niche market? Identifying it will influence most of your future marketing decisions.
Phase four: develop your product
Create your offer, your collateral and your customer approach. This is where innovation is key. How are you going to get the customer excited about and engaged with your new product? This part of the process will eventually generate all your revenue and has to be thoroughly considered.
Phase five: put your product to the test
Product development includes the actual design and manufacture of your offer. It is time to do some market testing on a small scale. Based on the results of these tests the decisions can be made on whether or not to undertake the large-scale roll out of your product/ campaign.
And remember, nothing is written in stone. The journey to developing new products is seldom without its setbacks and failures. Be flexible and realistic in your expectations. The key is to have a firm grasp of what the market wants and is willing to pay for, and acting fast on that intelligence.