Designing a New Product Your Customers Will Love
New product development is one of the biggest, most important challenges your business will face. It requires a lot of investment, and the results, for good or ill, can be dramatic. The successful launch of a new product can boost your revenue, open you up to new markets and customers, and reinforce your reputation.
If that new product doesn’t find an audience, gets bad feedback and reviews, then the negative consequences can be equally dramatic – you don’t just lose out on that original investment, you also run the risk of doing serious harm to your reputation. Even huge, seemingly invincible brands like Coca Cola can be affected: the 1985 failure of Coca Cola’s New Coke was an extremely costly mistake and a blow to the company’s bank balance and reputation. It was only the swift restoration of the original recipe that saved the brand.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the principles you can apply when you’re developing a new product that will help to give you the best possible chance of success when it hits the new market!
What is a Product?
The first thing you need to do is broaden your definition of what a product is. It’s too easy to think of a product simply as a physical item in your inventory, and only submit physical products to the development processes that give you the best chance of success.
A product is, simply put, a way of packaging something for your customers to pay for. That could be a radio or a bag of rice, paid for in a shop or a digital storefront, but it could also be a way of packaging a selection of your services for a customer: mortgages are financial products, licenses to use an accounting software you’ve designed are products, a package of five hours of your time and consulting expertise at a flat rate per week is a product too. Broadening your understanding of what a product is lets you design better ones for your market!
Creating a successful product requires research: what do your customers really want, and how much are they willing to pay. Partnering with a market research company can get you data you can rely on about what exactly your customers value about your brand, from ethos to the basic function of your products, and ensure what you’re designing stands the best chance of appealing to the people who choose to spend their money with you.
Selecting a price point also relies on data. It’s not simply a matter of choosing the one that covers the cost of manufacture. Price point conveys the value of the product to customers, and you need to know how they perceive your brand in order to price your new product in a way that’s consistent with your image. If you’re known for good value, you need to price in a way that reflects that – or at least use your marketing to convey the value of what your customers are getting for their money!