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Research, research, research

The global economy has entered a new and challenging phase, with troubling echoes of the 2008 economic crisis. Many of us were unprepared for this rapidly evolving landscape and, during the lock-down lull, we’ve been taking stock of our product portfolio, wondering whether to make changes. You may have one or two products or services that under-perform, and today we’re discussing this issue.

Imagine the scene: your team has been brainstorming new product or service ideas, and lands on an idea that cannot fail. You have the in-house talent to deliver the solution, and your enthusiastic ‘early adopter’ managers come up with a bold plan to deliver the solution to market within six months. Resources are committed and the new product is launched … to eery silence in the marketplace.

It’s a familiar pattern. Unfortunately no-one was willing to ask the awkward question: Has the analysis provided for the Business Case been carried out to a depth that truly exhausts the critical marketplace questions? You know, the questions your Sales team will be trying to answer six months down the line.

Let’s briefly review the phases of NPD:

  1. Opportunity Identification

  2. Concept Development, Design and Development

  3. Product Testing

  4. Product Commercialisation

After over 20 years in product management and 30 years in technology companies, I’ve defined and launched numerous software and hardware Cloud Products, Services and Solutions. This experience has hammered home the pivotal value of the initial analysis and research phase.

The team leading the research phase must remain extremely focused. Their role is not to promote the product or service that stakeholders want to develop, but rather to pursue an unbiased, factual data set that establishes the probability of the New Product achieving the desired business outcome/revenue. This means most New Product research ends after Phase 1 above, unless there’s a very compelling argument for multiple teams to invest costly man-hours in completing the process.

Obvious? Well yes, it should be. In the world of business, we all know that bad decisions roll downhill, creating untold problems for the Product Marketing and Sales teams, and years of disappointing revenue results. Compound the issue with a whole series of poor product development decisions, and the results can be catastrophic. The bottom line is this: will the time and resources allocated to the new product ever achieve a return? And in what time frame? Is the Product Marketing team ready and resourced to promote the new product, to create a new ‘rising star’ for your portfolio? After all, we’re in business to sell our Products and Services for profit and not just for fun.

If you’re currently examining your portfolio and would like to sound-board your ideas, feel free to take advantage of our free 1-hour phone consultation. We guarantee no-obligation and plenty of common-sense advice, backed by decades of industry experience. Email us using this link.

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