6 Essential Phases of Product Development
What does it take to create a new concept?
13:33 12 February 2020
It’s overwhelming to check the stats when you plan to develop a new product because they inform that 85% of the new products have no success on the market. And where do you count that it’s quite expensive to launch something new? On average, a company spends more than $15 million to launch and promote a new product. Why do new products fail to sell? Because companies fall short from bringing something innovative on the market. Buyers are willing to try something new and even pay more if the product is cutting edge.
And even if it may sound surprising, small companies have the edge when it comes to launching innovative products because they focus their effort to build something unique that helps them enter the market.
But if you understand what the phases of developing a successful product are, you boost your chances to create something your public is interested to buy.
Phase 1 Discovery
Your objective is to find a problem your product can solve. During the discovery phase you should talk to audiences, listen to their requirements and feedback, and identify what competing products they use. You need to find out what features they value the most because you must implement their feedback and obtain their validation.
You can use two methods to discover what products people need, inductive or deductive.
A deductive method requires you to survey, document, and find out a gap in the market. But the process lasts and while you wait for data, someone else can assemble the pieces together. A small company cannot afford to lead this initiative because it risks someone else to develop the product while they research. Large organisations like Apple and Google can use an inductive method to discover what product their audience needs.
Small teams rely on deductive methods because they are looking for ideas no one has thought of before. Deductive methods include team-building sessions, experiments, and brainstorming.
Phase 2 Design
You identified the solution to a problem, so now you need to transform it into a product. It’s important to create multiple versions of the same product and meet with the customer to find out their feedback and understand what it works for them. You repeat the process until you’re convinced you discovered a product the public is thrilled to buy.
If you come up with a bad design it means the entire planning process failed. So, keep an eye for customer preferences from the beginning to the end. The product manager should decide the products that make sense and the ones they want to remove before launching the product on the market.
Phase 3 Market screening
Why is market screening necessary during the product development process? It’s costly to launch a new product and you must make sure you present the best version to your public. It’s not feasible to work on many ideas at the same time because the cost increases with every new concept you add to the project.
The specialists from Sapio Market Research recommend screening the market before implementing the product to understand if the public is happy with the product you want to create. Market research helps you identify the target market, existing competitors, and market size.
Phase 4 Implementation
This is the phase when all specialists, working to create the product, shine. Developers design the product, engineers understand the concept and create it and the manager picks the right methods to promote it to the public. The project manager should prioritise features to make sure they include the specs the public is looking for. The engineers should also test its functionality and understand if it’s user-friendly and delivers the expected benefits.
If you are the project manager try to restrain your zeal because it can take control of your work. You are aware of the economic constraints you’re dealing with, but you need to trust your team to respect the design and budget when they develop a product.
During the implementation phase, it’s advisable to hold regular meetings to keep track of advancements.
Phase 5 Marketing
Collaborate with experienced marketers to help you promote your product. Their knowledge of the target public is fundamental to the success of the product. You must make sure the marketing strategies and the product share the same message, so involve them in the process from the very start.
The product manager has the last words when deciding the message, the marketing campaign promotes. The last thing they want is having an over-hyped product because there are many Silicon Valley cases when the marketers’ enthusiasm melted into nothingness. The product manager knows the potential and limitations their product has, and they can decide if the marketing campaign speaks the truth about its features.
It’s crucial to create a marketing campaign that delivers the truth about the product, and does it simply and directly because a big announcement followed by a small product has zero success.
Phase 6 Launch
Finally, you created a unique product with great chances to reach success. But for it to get where it needs to be you have to prepare a sky-rocketing launch event. Potential buyers are unaware of its existence so you need to inform them you are bringing on the market something that can solve all their problems. You should speak out in conferences about its features and reach out to specialised publications to talk about your latest product.
All successful products have a successful launching party so you should prepare one before you ride towards the sunset. Remember, a product is never really finished, it always requires upgrades and improvements to meet the ever-changing needs of the market.
When you speak about the product and promote it as something new, you’ll receive feedback from people who test it. Use their recommendations to modify and improve its features. Do whatever it takes to transform it into a hit.
Is there another phase you’d include in the process? Let us know!