There are many factors that can influence whether your product makes it to market or is simply introduced into the retail channel with little fanfare. One of the most important ways to ensure success is by having a solid product development strategy, before bringing your new product to market. This means more than putting together an idea, doing some quick research, and hoping for the best. Although those steps certainly help, consider these seven ways to improve your product development strategy:
1) Research what’s currently on the market.
You probably have an excellent idea for a new product, but there are almost certainly several other companies already working to improve upon it or develop something similar. So before you begin manufacturing your version of the same thing, take some time to aggregate data about companies in your particular industry. It would help if you also considered visiting blogs related to your industry to find out what people are saying about current products. Doing this will help you identify any ways in which they may be lacking as well as areas where there is room for improvement, both of which could indicate where to focus your energy when developing your product.
2) Know your target customer base.
The first step in developing a meaningful product is identifying whom you are designing it for. This process starts with defining the market position of your product, which is where existing products are positioned against each other based on their similarities and differences. The next phase is called targeting, where you narrow down the characteristics of your ideal consumer to create messaging that will resonate better with them. Then comes positioning, where you want to establish yourself as uniquely different from competitors to be easily recognized by people in your target demographic.
3) Keep up with industry trends.
As an entrepreneur looking to create new products for your customers, it’s essential to know the current trends in your industry. This will help you develop a product that caters to what customers want now and not focus solely on what they liked years ago. You may also consider subscribing to industry publications, attending trade shows, or taking online product management courses to diversify your skillset and stay informed about the latest market dynamics. If there are relevant online communities where your target audience hangs out, joining them is another way to keep up with industry trends.
4) Take all the advice you get with a grain of salt.
We’re not saying to ignore the advice you get from others, but take all feedback with a grain of salt. You want to create a product that your customers will love, so it’s important to consider every perspective you get. However, be aware of how industry biases or personal preferences shape the opinions you receive. You can use this knowledge to find out why they believe what they do instead of blindly following advice without understanding its origin.
5) Seek out criticism from knowledgeable sources.
It can be challenging to find people who are willing to give you constructive feedback about what they don’t like about your product. However, if you can find a way to get that kind of information from someone with a bit of industry experience, it will help you immensely in the long run. Of course, it’s crucial that this person is credible and has some knowledge about what they’re talking about so that their opinions align with your target market’s expectations.
6) Keep track of customer feedback.
If you already have a product on the market, it’s important to track how customers respond to it to improve your future products accordingly. This is particularly relevant for startups and other companies whose priority isn’t making money but rather improving their brand image and other factors that will help them later on down the line. In addition, make sure to look out for any feedback about your company from people who aren’t buying from you yet.
7) Get help from product management experts.
As an innovator and entrepreneur, you’re often trying to be all things to all people, but this is rarely sustainable. A product management consultant can help you streamline your product development strategy by taking care of the parts that don’t require the same level of creativity and innovation as coming up with a new idea or devising a unique business model.
Product management consulting firms give entrepreneurs access to people with years of product development experience and a network of connections that will help them make the most out of their ideas. Product management consultants can help you identify your core audience, streamline decision-making processes, and complete any unfinished elements in a timely fashion. Having a reliable partner to provide this kind of practical expertise is invaluable for entrepreneurs trying to manage all the responsibilities that come with owning a business while building something from practically nothing.
Developing and marketing a product is a complicated process, and it’s crucial that you use your resources wisely. Your industry knowledge should guide your product development strategy so that you create something that will truly meet the needs of your target audience. If you’re not sure where to begin with developing a new product or improving an existing one, consider these ways to improve your strategy. Using these tips, you’ll be able to build something that will thrive in the competitive landscape of today’s global economy.