Making way for new ideas———from inception to maturity and beyond
A new product development (NPD) program cannot be effective unless all parties agree on the disciplines involved in giving the idea shape and bringing it to market. Managing the process requires a wide array of talents. At BFT International we work with the Project Manager to ascertain the ‘right’ and ‘best’ opportunities—not just launching products that are in the latest stage of their development, but new products that are in tune with the marketplace they are designed to serve.
Obviously, research is key. All options must be reviewed—from carefully prepared market reports to specifically designed research programs—always tailoring such research both to the needs of the new product’s development team and the desires of the potential target audience. This leads to the ultimate production process. While we are not directly involved in product production technicalities, we do view this area as part of the marketing task and so it is included in our planning process.
Regardless of whether the new product is a fast moving grocery brand or a new technical process in the petro-chemical industry, NPD is essentially a blank sheet of paper…but there are many ways in which the sheet may be filled.
Inspired fragments or coherent ideas
Brainstorming usually results in a wide array of ideas—from those that are “out there” to those that are innovations right for their time (and why has nobody else thought of that?). We work with the project team to refine the shortlist of concepts.
The first stage is to draw up a ‘conceptual blueprint’ designed to cover a number of basic questions: What is the product intended to be? What benefits does it have over any possible competition and, therefore, for potential users? Indeed, what is the target market? And, not least of all, how will it be made and how much will it cost to make? The answers to these and other similar questions become the foundation on which to build a cohesive and workable Marketing Plan.
The next stage depends on the nature of the product. Design work is certainly involved for both the technical aspects and for any required packaging. Then we come to the exciting stage—creating exactly the right emotion around the product. We must remember that the human psyche veers towards not wanting and trying new products until it is made clear that it seems impossible that there has not been a yearning for the new product being marketed. Did we all want an iPhone before there was an iPhone?
The BFT seven-step process
We have refined our input when working with our clients on new product development into a seven-step process:
|1.||Market analysis and agreement of objectives.|
|4.||Pilot product testing.|
|5.||Refinement of concepts/refinement of product.|
|6.||Testing refined concepts (placed in the correct environment).|
|7.||Agreed final positioning and development of Marketing Strategy.|
Each of the above requires detailed planning and implementation. Our 40 years of experience enables our clients to plan with confidence.
Handle big projects in bite-sized chunks
There is a tendency to view major NPD projects with awe in that the project can appear to be a huge mountain to climb. It never is. BFT works in planned stages with our clients to address each facet of the program, stage-by-stage, so that together we achieve the original plan…even though when the ‘product’ is complete, it is unlikely to be very similar to the initial concept.