If you have ever been involved in a product development project from the beginning, taking it from an idea to a finished product ready for manufacturing or sales, you will know how complex and multi-faceted such projects can be. For example, there is no story of a successful new product that was developed without a series of different activities, each with its own people and inputs. You will find that many tasks intersect at some point – meaning that several individuals / departments must work together to ensure everything has been completed successfully. In this article we will provide an overview of the most common methods used in product development as well as the basic stages found in every development cycle .
Please note however, that not all methods are suitable for all products or companies:
-assessment is one of the earliest stages in product development, where goals for the project are defined and developed into plans that will serve as blueprints for team members involved in any major activities or milestones throughout the development cycle.
-main goal of market research is to determine whether there is a need for this type of product in the marketplace, what its primary function / use should be, how it would benefit consumers, what price point would make it most attractive etc. By carrying out research at an early stage you can get valuable feedback on your idea(s) before investing further time & resources into product development . You may find that consumer research indicates that no one wants/ needs your product anymore which enables you to focus on another idea.
-There are two types of market research: primary and secondary. Primary research is original research carried out by a business to gather information about the target market/ consumer which they do not already possess . Secondary research is data collected from another source such as government statistics, past sales figures etc. that was originally gathered for other purposes. Although it may be helpful it cannot replace primary research as you still risk missing important details about consumer preferences and habits if your findings aren’t backed up with first hand experience and knowledge .
-Typically, your best options are to carry out surveys, interviews & focus groups in order to get feedback on your ideas & products pre-launch. These methods enable consumers to freely express their opinions / feelings without fear of rejection or judgement and help you to gain a better understanding of your customer.
-It’s also worth getting in contact with companies who offer market research services as they may be able to provide you with consumer data that can help you make informed decisions about the suitability of new products for your market .
-The more consumers involved in these initial stages, the better as it will enable you to build a larger database of information thus increasing the value & statistical accuracy of your arch. However, try not to target too small a demographic otherwise this could result in flawed findings due to insufficient sample sizes or biased results/conclusions if skewed by any one person’s opinions.
-Don’t forget that when considering the success of your product in the market, the end-goal of your research is to ensure that it’s fit for purpose. In order to do this you need to ensure that what you’re trying to sell meets a set of functional or technical requirements. If it doesn’t, then don’t bother with the marketing side at all as it’s going to be a waste of money & time.
-if you have developed a new product and want an honest opinion about whether people would buy it , try posting a short advert on gumtree or craigslist asking for people who fit a certain profile (eg: moms in their 30s) to contact you . This will help you get feedback from potential customers without wasting time pitching your product to the wrong. -In my experience, an effective way to get to know the pulse of your target market is to join relevant Facebook groups , interact with people, get a sense of their problems & expectations. This will help you develop your product around real needs -If you are trying to sell something that really helps people, offer samples or freebies in return for testimonials . If it’s good, they’ll talk about it. This method works well on Twitter , especially if you use hashtags related to your niche.
-Starting out? Try sending an email pitch to bloggers in your industry. They often have large social media followings themselves and might retweet your business info if it’s useful enough for their readers. You can also reach out to journalists who have written about products or services similar to yours. Bonus points if you’re selling a service that relates to an issue they have covered recently.
-If your product is aimed at a particular age group, look for bloggers and vloggers who match that demographic -I f it’s an app or software, offer beta testing where people receive the finished version for free in return for detailed feedback. You can find many testers on these sites: betabound.com, engagement.com, userinput.com , usertesting.com, and trymyui.com. These users will be happy to share their opinion and will often go into detail about what works and what doesn’t – all of which is extremely valuable information.