New product creation is a process full of possibilities. This is especially true when it comes to the latest smart device technology. By 2024, manufacturers are expected to ship 156 million smartwatches, 74.4 million smart wristbands, and over 396 million hearables, such as smart earbuds. And that is just one tech market segment. Add in imaging devices, GPS tracking devices, and healthcare technology, and there is a massive growing market for new tech.
But new product creation is also full of questions and unknowns. According to one study, only one in one thousand product ideas ever even make it to launch. How can you make sure your product is that one in one thousand?
Is your company ready to change the tech landscape with the latest smart device or are you hoping to streamline your operation with a new IoT solution? Maybe you have the perfect idea and are prepared to take it to market. At least you think you are ready. But what does it really take? What goes into new product development, and do you have all the tools you need at your disposal?
When many of us think about new product creation, we think about that great idea, and we think about customers lining up to buy it. But we all realize there is a lot more to new product development. The question is, do we have the tools and experience to handle all the other aspects? So, let’s start by looking at some of what goes into the process of new product creation.
There are many ways to look at the overall product creation process. One way to look at the process is through the phases of product creation, prototyping, sourcing and manufacturing, and product launch, which you can read more about from this article. Here, we are going to focus on four key areas that can cause the most trouble for small to midsize businesses and startups looking to launch a new product idea. These include research, building a team, project management, marketing, and sales.
Research – An Essential Part of New Product Development
Given the amount of work that goes into new product development, it is a good idea to be sure there is a market for your new idea. For the small percentage of products that actually make it to market, only 5% are ultimately successful. The main reason? Lack of adequate research. Of course, you believe in your idea, but you need some cold, unbiased research to let you know if the world is ready for it. The more of an investment you will need to make to get your idea to market, the more research you will need to do.
Given how much information is available on the web and how easy it is to conduct surveys, it may be tempting to do this work on your own. However, if you are serious about seeing your idea succeed in the marketplace, given the time, effort, and money this is going to take, it would be wise to work with someone with extensive market research experience. That way, there will be no surprises when you finally make it to market.
Building a Team for New Product Creation
Without the right team, the new product development process can fail before it ever gets off the ground. Whether you are building a full product development team or just some partners to help drive the process, you absolutely must find the right people. However, finding the right group of talented, inspired people is difficult. What makes it even more challenging is that you need to ensure that these people believe in your product.
On your team, you need to ensure that you have all the right skillsets and experience. More than that, you need to ensure that the people you choose can work together. It will be important to discover if your team has the right chemistry and culture to stick through the entire new product development process.
New Product Development Project Management
You might assume that either you or another member of your team can be the project manager for the new product development process. However, you will quickly find that you will need a trained project manager with experience in product development. Some of the most effective teams will bring in a professional project manager either from outside or elsewhere in the company. Experienced project managers will be familiar with the latest strategies for guiding teams through the product creation process while avoiding common pitfalls. Working with the right project manager will enable your team or partners to remains focused on their own skillsets and areas of expertise with a professional ensuring that the project remains on track.
Marketing as Part of Product Creation
One of the biggest mistakes businesses can make in the product creation process deals with marketing. If you fully develop a product idea, prototype it, manufacture it, and then begin thinking about marketing, you may end up with another failed product. Marketing needs to be a part of the entire product creation process from the very beginning.
Marketing includes answer questions about product viability, market demand, pricing, differentiation for other products, and eventually advertising and other classic marketing strategies. Waiting until the very end would mean that your hands are tied and you are stuck trying to sell a product that may not have a place in the market, may be priced out of range, or may be unable to gain any traction in a crowded product space.
From Idea to Market: Sales
It would be unfortunate to get to the end of the new product development process without some idea of how you will get your new product into the hands of customers. Some of this may depend on the specific product and the existing infrastructure of the company behind the offering. If existing staff, processes, and relationships are already in place, this may be an easier task. However, there is still a lot to think about.
If you are developing a product that will be sold directly through existing sales people, you will need to consider the training of sales people, creating incentives, and allowing time for customer education. If you are developing a retail product, today’s modern marketplace offers more options than ever. Still, these will need to be explored and you will need to decide what outlets to use (i.e. direct website sales, marketplaces like Amazon, or working with retailers for shelf space.) No matter what route your choose, these are important decisions that should be made during the new product development process.
Help is Available
You can certainly go it alone and manage the entire now product creation process yourself. But, before you get started, consider working with a firm with experience in the field. They can help ensure that you do it right so that your product will be the success you dreamed it would be.
To get some inspiration for your product, learn what the on-going consumer trends are: