Table of contents
2. Understanding the seven stages of new product development
2.1 Generating ideas
2.2 Screen your ideas
2.3 Concept development and testing
2.4 Business analysis and marketing strategy
2.5 Time to develop your product
2.6 Release the product to a sample market
2.7 Launch your product
You need to understand what customers are looking for and you need to develop something that is going to cater to their needs, not only now but in the future. It can be a lot to take in.
This is why there are a number of different stages of product development. You cannot simply dive in without a plan, right? So, in this blog post, we will explain the different product development stages in further detail so that you can get a better understanding.
There are seven key stages when it comes to developing a new product. These are as follows:
- Idea generation
- Idea screening
- Concept development and testing
- Marketing strategy and business analysis
- Product development
- Test marketing
- Product launch
Let’s explore these seven areas in further detail so that you can get a better understanding of how to navigate them effectively.
There is only one place to begin when it comes to developing a new product, and this is with idea generation. This part of the process involves brainstorming different ideas and suggestions regarding new products or ways that you can enhance a current product.
During this phase, businesses will conduct extensive research into their users and what they are looking for, as well as evaluate market trends. This groundwork is imperative in terms of designing a product that can provide a solution for an issue that people are experiencing at the moment.
There are two ways that you can go about generating new ideas, and these are as follows:
Internal idea generation – Internal ideas come from various areas within your business, for example, the sales team, customer support, marketing, or the technical department.
External ideas generation – External ideas come from outside sources, for example, getting feedback from your target audience or studying the competition.
There are plenty of different methods available to you when it comes to idea generation. As mentioned, analysing the market is an evident place to start. Aside from this, user feedback is highly valuable. You can collect this via analytics, surveys, focus groups, and interviews.
In addition to this, it is a good idea to run user tests to find out how people are using your product. You will be able to identify any gaps and look for room for improvement.
It is also a good idea to work with sales and product marketing to make sure that the value of your product is being positioned effectively.
The main aim during this stage is to come up with as many high-quality ideas as you can while still concentrating on delivering value to your customers.
Now, we are at the point whereby you need to screen the ideas that you have generated, ensuring that you only focus on the ideas that have the highest chance of being a success.
Determining which ideas you should be discarding and which ones are worth pursuing will depend on a whole host of different factors. You need to consider the marketing potential of your new product, as well as technical feasibility, the product improvements that are most required, and the expected benefits for your customers.
This part of the product development process is best conducted within your business. Experts from various teams can assist in terms of checking elements such as the marketability of your idea, resources required, and technical requirements.
When you are screening a product, there are a lot of different elements you need to look at. For example, you must assess the risks associated with developing the product in question and you also need to calculate how feasible the product is.
Consider the constraints. Is the product idea consistent with any constraints you may be facing in terms of your resources or budget?
You also need to look at the product assumptions. A lot of products are doomed before they even begin because the idea that businesses have chosen to go ahead with is based on flawed assumptions.
Once an idea has passed the screening stage, it needs to be developed into a concept. This is basically a detailed description of the product.
What should be included in your concept?
- The target market for the product
- The proposed price for the product
- The benefits of the product
- The features of the product and how they may appeal to the consumer
These are just some of the areas that you need to cover when putting together a concept for your product.
You may want to consider developing two or more different product concepts. This will help you to get a better understanding of how each concept attracts different types of customers, and it can help you to understand what is going to bring the most value.
Once you have put your product concepts together, the hard work is not done. You now need to test them. Testing your concepts with a group of consumers is an excellent way of validating your product ideas with users before you invest resources and time into creating them.
A lot of people will also use concepts as a form of market validation. If you have never heard of market validation before, this is simply the process of figuring out whether or not there is a need for your product within your target market space.
If you validate your product idea, this can give you the ability to reasonably determine if people are going to buy your product or service and if it could be a profitable venture for you.
So, before you commit to product development, we would advise that you share the concept with prospective purchasers so that you can gather valuable information and gauge whether the product idea is going to be viable for your target market.
Once you have chosen a concept, you need to carry out a business analysis and you also need to put together an initial marketing plan, so you can figure out how the product will be introduced to the marketplace.
2.4.1 Business analysis
A business analysis involves reviewing the profit projections, expected costs, and sales forecasts for the product. If they satisfy your objectives as a business, you can move the product onto the development phase.
2.4.2 Marketing strategy
You are also going to need to put together an initial marketing strategy for your product. This will act as a guide for the promotion, pricing, and positioning of your new product. Once you have planned the marketing strategy, you will be in a better place in terms of assessing just how attractive the idea is.
When you are building your marketing strategy, you need to consider your target audience and the sort of mediums they use when searching for new products today.
For example, if your audience is females between the age of 18 and 24-years-old, you may want to consider marketing on TikTok, as your demographics line up. However, this may not be suitable for a retired man. Therefore, the target audience you are attempting to reach is going to play a monumental role in terms of the strategies you decide to adopt.
You also need to think about whether you are going to require paid search marketing and how much of your budget this will account for. Do you envision a launch party for the product? You need to truly understand what kind of marketing is going to be required to make your product launch a success so that you can understand the budget that is needed.
There is no point in underplaying it. If your product belongs in an overcrowded market space or your product is technical and requires explanation and advanced video demos, you need to fully understand what this is going to take from a resource and time point of view.
You have now reached the product development stage. This involves developing the product concept and creating a product that is 100 percent finished and ready to market.
You should have, hopefully, considered what style of product development you want to use by this point. There are many methodologies you can follow, from waterfall to agile product development. Some businesses like to use a hybrid approach, which involves combining different elements of the two.
At this point, creating a prototype is the next logical step. You can then test your prototype with potential users to observe how they interact with the product and to gather valuable feedback.
Prototype testing is important because it means that your product teams can really understand the item in action. They can validate some of the design decisions they have made. At the same time, if there are any usability problems or flaws, they can recognize this and make the required changes before the final design is handed over and made available for public consumption.
It is not uncommon for us to get so bogged down in the details that we end up overseeing a critical usability flaw. This is why the testing stage is truly of paramount importance.
We’re getting very close to the release stage now. However, it is important to execute a bit of patience. Test marketing is a critical part of the process. This involves releasing the finished item to a sample market so that you can see how the product performs under the marketing strategy that you have predetermined.
There are two testing methods that you can employ when it comes to releasing the product to a sample market. These are alpha testing and beta testing.
Beta testing involves actual users getting to try out the product and give their honest opinion on the product. Alpha testing involves testing that is carried out by software to identify any issues or bugs before the product is released to the public.
The objective of this point of the process is to make sure the entire concept for the product is validated before you go ahead and launch it.
A lot of people can be tempted to skip this phase because they assume that it is a waste of time and a waste of money. However, it can end up costing you much more money in the long run if you end up releasing a product that is not ready for consumption.
It is much better to get feedback from users and/or software now so that you can understand whether any sort of changes needs to be made before the item is made available for sale to the public.
Now, the exciting time has come to launch your product. You need to make sure that everything is in place to guarantee that your launch is a success, i.e. your customer support, sales, marketing, and product teams. Continue to monitor the performance of your product, so you can make adjustments as and when needed.
To better understand how to prepare a go-to marketing strategy for your product launch, there are four key elements that must be considered: customers, channels, messaging, and value proposition.
In terms of customers, you need to fully understand who will be making the final purchasing decision and why they are going to be buying your product. Create purchasing personas and identify their pain points, objectives, and roles.
You also need to think about what channels are going to be best for promoting your product. Options include SEO, social media, and email marketing. Typically, you will need to use a mixture of different approaches in order to get your item out there in front of the right audience.
In terms of messaging, you need to consider how you are going to communicate the value of your product to your potential customers. This is something you need to think about very carefully if you have a complicated product with different elements.
Finally, don’t forget about your value proposition. What makes your product different from the competition? Why should people choose your product over the different options that are available on the market today?
Once your product has been launched, do not make the mistake of assuming that all of your work is over. You will still need to track and measure your product’s success. The business landscape is changing all the time, so you need to make changes to stay relevant and adapt.
So there you have it: everything that you need to know about the product development process. If you break down development into the different segments mentioned above, you should find the process a lot easier to manage, and you should set yourself up effectively to get to your end goal.