What do you do when you have an idea that you want to bring to market? You need a new product development process to ensure that you’re set up for success.
Product development doesn’t have to be a physical product. It can be services or online material as well. At Trust Insights we have standard outputs for our clients, but they are paying for our services. We package up those service offerings the same way you would a new product.
So, how do you get started with a new product development process? Here are five basic steps:
Identify a Need or Opportunity
You don’t want to have a solution in search of a need. Take a minute to talk to your customers, your audience, and your community and ask them what they are struggling with. You may find that you have solutions to their problems but you haven’t developed these solutions yet. Once you identify a need or opportunity you can begin the new product development.
Create a business case
Once you identify a need from your customers, it’s a good idea to do a gut check before you get too far down the road of development. You can use the 5Ps (Purpose, People, Process, Platform, Performance) to make sure you have the correct resources to create the product or service. If you aren’t familiar with the 5Ps, here is a quick recap:
Purpose – what is the problem you’re trying to solve?
People – who do you need to make this happen?
Process – how will you create this in an efficient and repeatable way?
Platform – what tools (software/hardware) do you need?
Purpose – what is your measure of success?
Take a minute (or two) to run your idea through a business case so that when you start development you have all the pieces in place. You will be able to stay focused and measure your progress along the way.
Develop a prototype
Before you go all in on the service or product, it’s good to have something to test. This could be the “ugly” version – meaning the version that lacks all the features and final polish. To test the new product, you just need something that has the basic functionality. The best practice for development is to prioritize your feature set. What are the “must haves” to make your product work, and what are the “nice to haves”? Start with the “must haves” when developing your prototype.
Conduct beta testing
Once you have the basic product or service, you can go back to the customers that gave you the initial feedback. They can be your focus group and give you feedback on how to improve what you created. Remember, you’re creating it for them, not for you. You may want to go through a few rounds of beta testing and feedback to make sure you’re hitting the mark.
Create a go-to-market plan
Once you’re finished beta testing, you’re ready to bring your product or service to a wider market. This is when you will want to create a marketing plan around launching the new product or service. This may include an announcement in your newsletter, posts on social media, or ads that lead back to your website. Because you’ve done your research and created your business case, that data will guide how you introduce your new product.
This is a bonus step. Once you’ve gone to market with your product, it’s a good idea to revisit the new product development process at least annually. Your customer’s needs will inevitably change and your product will need to evolve as well. Start back at the top with your research and then work your way through the rest of the new product development process.
Bringing a new product to your audience doesn’t need to be daunting. If you follow a new product development process you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Just remember to do your research and ask for feedback early and often.
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