Our last post addressed the research and analysis phase of New Product Development (NPD), and made the point that most NPD does not get past Opportunity Identification. We see this reinforced on the TV programme ‘Dragon’s Den’, where lack of marketplace analysis and hard facts and figures cause many new product ideas to be blown out of the water. The Dragons are savvy investors, and know that thorough SWOT analysis and solid revenue forecasting are good indicators of potential ROI.
It’s important to know your marketplace so intimately that you are able to see emerging trends and identify the problems your customers are hoping to fix. To have your finger on the pulse, as it were. The question is, where is the ‘pulse’ for your new product? In this article we aim to unpack the research phase of NPD a little further.
Let's say we’re running a business in the technology space and we decide to carry out New Product Development research for ‘Managed Infrastructure As A Service’.
a) What makes us think that businesses will be interested in buying this product?
b) Who are the competitors and what exactly are they offering?
c) How big is the market?
d) Is the market saturated with offerings that are the same as our new product?
e) What percentage of the market share do I expect to win in years 1, 2 and 3?
f) Are my revenue targets and expectations defined, realistic, and therefore achievable?
g) Who are my target customers?
h) How can I differentiate my NPD?
We’ve attended many large scale trade shows where every stand was offering the same service, just branded differently. Do you want to place an order for apples, or … erm, apples? This indicates a saturated marketplace, and a lack of innovation in the sector. It also demonstrates that new products have been driven to market without truly considering the answers to the questions listed above.
It’s certainly better to apply ‘best-practice’ Product Management structures and expertise than to launch a new product in the vague hope that the new product will sell. Your NPD should emerge into the light with a fully formed Go-to-Market plan that resonates strongly with the market, and stands out from the competition.
If your team has any weaknesses in this area, coaching is one of our strengths. We can work with your team for a fixed term to enhance capability, get the right structures and documentation in place, and leave your processes stronger for the future. Want to know more? Do get in touch.