What is Product Innovation
Product innovation involves coming up with new products and services to address consumer needs.
Innovative products aren’t merely those that are novel or different; rather, they are the result of iterative testing and refinement to determine what works and what doesn’t, with each setback paving the way for the next iteration that ensures the product’s ultimate success and growth in the marketplace.
In order to learn what consumers want and need, the innovation process encourages frequent failure. This is an iterative procedure in which the results of one subtask must be used as the starting point for the next. With the aim of rapidly identifying the most promising product directions with the least amount of time and effort spent.
So, in today’s competitive corporate world, product innovation is essential, not a nice-to-have. Any business, no matter its size, is vulnerable if its leaders fail to innovate.
The benefits of market research in developing new products
Conducting market research is the best way to get to know your customers.
The purpose of developing unique products and services is not limited to that. Consumers in the present day wield far more influence than in the past. The innovation process should revolve on the end user if the product is to find success on the market.
So, what does “customer centricity” entail, exactly?
In a nutshell, customer centricity means anticipating and meeting the demands of your target audience.
It’s a method of running a firm that, when properly implemented, may boost productivity and efficiency throughout the company. The success of a transaction or company hinges on its ability to satisfy its customers. This should serve as a constant guidepost for any new products in development.
In addition, market research is an essential resource for directing innovation toward a specific customer base. When done correctly, it helps close the gap between your team’s assumptions and the realities of your target market’s wants, needs, and concerns. Learning about their struggles and implementing the best current solutions is what this entails.
Customers’ preferences, habits, and purchasing behaviors can be uncovered and included into the product’s design, testing, packaging, and pricing at every stage of the product development process, from inspiration to completion.
There are tried-and-true methods for discovering what consumers desire. This can be done through polls, interviews, and observation of patterns of behavior. In contrast, there is no need for market research to be sterile and uninspiring. As an example, the advent of high-speed Internet and specialized online platforms has allowed for a new approach to product development: the formation of communities focused on the process.
Utilizing Product Life Cycle Data
It is common knowledge that a product goes through four distinct phases: launch, expansion, peak performance, and depletion. It is essential to do consumer market research at each step to inform pivotal decisions; the following are some of the most typical situations in which market research can inform a product strategy.
- Conceiving of an idea.
- Beginning with a base pricing and making further adjustments as needed.
- Inspiring ideas for similar products or services.
- Incorporating new features into previously released goods.
- Locating untapped markets or underserved demographics.
- Problems with shipping and packaging the new product.
- Relationship between the product’s or service’s quality and the company’s reputation.
- A knowledgeable research group will know how to strike a good balance between various potential sources of knowledge.
New product development phases
The process of creating a brand-new product can be broken down into seven distinct phases: brainstorming, analysis, planning, prototype creation, sourcing, pricing, and finally, commercialization.
New product or service development can be broken down into the following simple steps. At any point, you can and should conduct market research:
- Producing new concepts. Find fresh ways to improve your product by conducting conversations with customers, holding focus groups, and exploring other web resources.
- Toying around with ideas. Verify if you’re offering a product that can attract buyers. Make sure you have access to a sizable and impartial audience for comments.
- Examination of the Quality of the Product. In business, an MVP is an early version of a product that has just enough features for early customers to use.
- Research guides packaging design, marketing, and customer service.
Product development research phases
Phase 1: Generating a new product idea (exploratory research)
When developing a new product, the first step is to do exploratory study. Understanding the attitudes, requirements, and pain points of a specific market is the primary goal of this sort of study. It can help you better understand the market and identify areas where you may be able to profit or avoid potential pitfalls.
Areas that exploratory research might assess include:
- Consumer personalities and market composition. Who are the people and where are they located that are most likely to buy a brand new product? In what ways do consumers’ tastes vary from market to market?
- Mapping the customer’s experience. What potential decisions or courses of action might a customer take if they’re thinking about making a purchase from you?
- Possibilities for product advancement. Is there a gap in the market for something completely novel, or may current offerings be enhanced instead?
- Awareness. Who has heard of you and what you sell? Does anyone think of you first when they think of that thing?
The answers to these questions can be found using any number of research methods. Here are a few customer-focused illustrations:
- Evaluation of Social Listening. Many people have expressed their views and posted them online for everyone to read. The data can be aggregated by automated systems, which can then identify general trends. Deeper and richer insights can be gleaned from qualitative research.
- Leadership in caring for one’s neighborhood. Participate often and actively in online communities frequented by your ideal customers. That means putting aside your personal agenda and engaging in more listening than talking.
- Long, in-depth interviews with no set questions. Find and hire knowledgeable interviewers, as well as enthusiastic audience members. To do this, we need to identify problem areas and open spaces in the market.
Phase 2. The Testing of New Product Ideas
After the success of the ideation phase, the prototype phase begins. Once again, this must include prospective buyers. A digital mockup or digital product could serve as the prototype, but a physical object could also do the trick.
The minimum viable product (MVP) is the end result of the prototyping phase, and it contains only the functionality required for launch.
As many as three or more iterations of this step may be required before the final product is ready. That is, it’s possible that you’ll need more iterations during which you receive and implement feedback and conduct further tests. More iterations of this type are usually needed for more complex products.
Areas that prototype testing research might assess include:
- Pricing. What kind of price tag may we anticipate? What about levels, if any? How often do you get updates? How much price flexibility can we expect?
- Distribution. When and where do customers make their purchases? Is it anything that can be ordered and delivered, bought in stores, purchased on the web, etc.?
- Focus on essential features. What characteristics or advantages seem to be the most desired or valuable?
- Evaluating the user’s perspective. Once consumers have the product in their hands, how do they utilize it? Do they use it in the conventional manner, or do they come up with surprising new methods to employ it? Maybe everyone is just confused.
- Expertise in advertising. How can I get the word out about this product to the widest possible audience? In what ways do testers convey this information to others?
Within this stage of market analysis, consumer-focused instruments could include:
- Specialized polling to get to the heart of the matter. Depending on the idea, even a one-question multiple-choice survey can yield useful data. Many services offer incentives to participants who provide feedback immediately.
- Validation of intellectual property in the digital realm. Some product concepts begin life as a simple landing page with an integrated mechanism to track user intent. In just a few short hours, you may have a fully functioning ad campaign and landing page up and running, frequently with many variants.
- Research networks in cyberspace. Users are given early access to the product or service, packaging concepts, etc., and are rewarded to participate in tasks and activities that provide in-the-moment feedback, much like (or even more than) an online focus group.
Starting the product development research process
1. Determine what you want to accomplish.
There’s a plethora of inquiry and methodological possibilities. Defining and prioritizing the most critical outputs is essential because we usually lack the time and money to complete everything.
- Expectations. Owned by you, your group, or your company.
- Benchmarks. Where do we stand in relation to previous benchmarks and objectives?
- Timeline. Plan backwards from the day the product must be available to consumers.
The popular SMART goal setting framework can be applied here. The aims should be:
2. Establish the boundaries of the project.
Your ability to be explicit in this regard is greatly appreciated. The SMART framework is useful for outlining the parameters of a market research project, which can contain specifics like:
Who exactly is this for?
Tell me about our financial plan.
In what degree of specificity must study questions be posed?
How long do you anticipate the study(s) to last?
How many people have to take part in the study for it to be meaningful?
Can you please outline the methods that will be used in our study?
3. Cooperation and Market Analysis
The hardest component of conducting consumer market research is recruiting reliable study subjects. Both qualitative and quantitative research need significant investment of time and effort.
If you need help with every step of the research process—from participant recruitment to study design and execution—look for a partner who offers comprehensive services.
Knowing what parts of the product development research can be done in-house and what must be outsourced is an important part of the goal-setting and scope-setting processes.
There are a few key qualities to look for in a research agency partner:
- Flexibility and agility. Can this potential partner adapt quickly to your needs or to sudden changes in the market? Today’s world moves fast – you’ll want to avoid vendors with rigid processes.
- Responsiveness. The process of recruiting new employees can be time-consuming. A collaborator who can keep you and your team abreast of setbacks and developments is essential.
- Expertise in the field. Having a partner that is familiar with your industry might help you save time and money.
The customer is the driving force behind each successful product. Researching client wants and needs throughout product creation is essential. Market research that focuses on customers can improve nearly every stage of a product’s development process.
Maintaining an edge in the market and developing useful products requires:
- Establish worthy areas of study.
- It’s important to set realistic goals for research initiatives.
- Collaborate with research partners who are both adaptable and accountable.