You have a new product idea and you want to know the best ways to build it into a great product that your customers love? This Most Effective Product Development Process is a radio interview presentation between Paul Nwokedi and Naomi James; at Jordan 105.5 FM. Lagos.
First, What is a Product?
In marketing, a product is any object or system made available to a market for the purpose of satisfying desires or needs of the customers. We can define a product as any item – goods, services and ideas – that can be offered in a market to satisfy customer consumption needs and wants. It can be physical, virtual or intellectual.
Every product is made at a cost and each is sold at a price. And the price to be charged for a product would depend on the quality and the market segment targeted. The product should be relevant, adaptable and be able to satisfy a need and provide solutions.
How can you Define the Term: Product Development?
Product development or new product development (NPD) refers to all of the stages involved in bringing a product from the conceptual or idea stage; through production, market release and beyond.
This includes identifying a problem, conceptualizing a solution identifying a market need, researching the competitive landscape, , developing a product plan or roadmap, building a minimum viable product *(MVP), and marketing it successfully.
In other words, a well-planned product development should incorporates all the product life cycle; starting from an idea, to the stage when the product is matured or out of the market. Each product has a useful life time; after which it needs to be replaced, revamped or re-invented to satisfy it purpose better.
Why do we need to Understand Product Development?
Bringing your vision of original products into life can be major challenge to aspiring entrepreneurs, startup businesses, product developers and company mangers.
Because these people are the ones responsible for the success or failure of the company’s products, they are expected to drive the product development process from a strategic standpoint. So they need to understand Product Development steps and the best ways to go about them.
Generally, product development is a production management function that requires the work and input of many team members across a business. This process will involve the work of Product Researchers, Developers, Designers, Product engineers, Marketing/Sales, Financial and Testing unit.
The objective of product design and development is to create, maintain and increase a company’s Market Share by discovering new trends and changing customers’ needs, implementing the best production methods or practices; and employing quality systems or raw materials that can satisfy a consumer demand.
So as a product manager for the company or director, you need to understand the most effective product development processes; be able to communicate the big-picture and oversee the goals cross-the functional team, using product plan or roadmap.
What are the Consequences of Poor Product Development?
- A product with poor development can only serve or work for a small subset of potential users at a time.
- The product may not be able to cope with increased demand and large scale requirements.
- It may result into multiple system issues, customer dissatisfaction and lost revenues.
- There may be operational risks, quality errors and increased costs for corrective measures.
- Loss of loyal customers, bad reviews, and serious damages to personal or company goodwill.
What is the Most Effective Product Development Process?
Step1. Idea Generation
Every successful product development starts from an idea; your own idea, original idea, new and innovative idea. It is when an idea has been identified as a prospective product that a formal product development strategy can be applied.
The idea generation will involves brainstorming possible new product opportunities. During this stage, you need to evaluate the possibility of your great idea to meet the need a market and be able to fetch you money now or later in the growth stage.
Step2. Market Research
It’s not every product or service will appeal to all customer bases. Through market research, you will be able to defining the target audience for a product. Potential customer profiling is a critical component that must take place early in the product development process.
Thus, quantitative market research should be carried out at every stage of the product design process, including after the product has been launched. This is a way to increase product adaptation, product sales and clients satisfaction.
Step3. Prototyping (Beta Version)
Product prototyping involves turning of identified product opportunity and value into a tangible proof of concept or process. Prototyping is the “quick-and-dirty” model of the defined product, created for testing the market or the ideal customer feedback and resonance.
Depending of your business, industry or niche, you can use any form of material to design, create or develop a sample prototype for your proposed product. At this stage, use it to learn more about the problem from real users and solicit people responses, including your friends, colleagues and families.
Concept development and testing is vital to successful product development. It can help you adjust and further develop the best product that your customers would love. Use it to identify customer purchasing power and demography.
Step4. Product Creation
The product creation and development stage involves critical idea analysis and practical translation into acceptable minimum viable product (MVP).
Here, you will need to define the project scope, the production cost and the true nature of your profitable product requirements. Product development is creative discipline that requires a systematic approach to guide all the processes required to get a new product to the market.
Business owners, companies and organizations are asked to hire experienced product developers with the understanding of the local markets – who can provide the guidelines, design criteria, prototyping and frameworks required for the best product development service.
Step5. Branding and Marketing
A product will have a name, a label and messaging that needs to be communicated. That is, the users or potential buyers must know why they need to try or use your product; benefits they can derive from it, and what it that differentiates it from other alternative or related products out there.
At this stage, pricing decisions, profit margins, market strategy, demand and supply, branding, advertising and public relations play very important roles to the product’s success.
Step6. Product Improvement
This is the continuous and systematic quest for improved product opportunities. It includes the updating or changing of existing product into a better brand.
The goal is improvement or integrates new features or benefits into your product or service so as to address the gaps in the market.
So, suitable ideas should be determined through objective consideration of the market mechanisms, industry performance standards and consumer sentiments.