Bringing a new product to life can be challenging. You know that you have an idea that can bring value to a target market, but you aren’t exactly sure how to bring your product to that market.
This process can become especially difficult if you’ve never done it before, as you may not even know where to begin. Thankfully, a blueprint exists in the new product development process, which is a strategy that will help you bring your ideas to life. Read on to discover how it’s done.
New Product Development Process
New product development refers to the process that goes into bringing a new product to market, from brainstorming an idea to understanding if it fits into the market, ironing it out to prototyping to final commercialization.
Although it can be a rather lengthy process that sometimes requires iteration, it’s all done to ensure that your product is the best it can be before it reaches your customers and solves their needs in the best possible way.
Let’s discuss the different stages involved in new product development.
7 Stages of the New Product Development Process
- Idea Generation
- Product Development
1. Idea Generation
The new product development process begins with idea generation, where you brainstorm an idea (or ideas) that will help you solve an existing customer problem in a new and innovative way. As you’re coming up with ideas that will help you solve customer needs, it’s important to have a robust understanding of your target market and the pain points they have that you want to solve.
Your initial idea generation stage can be as simple as saying “What if we did this?” and then they become more ROBUST during the research stage.
Once you’ve developed a product idea, the next step is conducting research to FLESH IT OUT. There are various steps you can take to do this, like:
- Market research to understand the current sentiment in your industry and if there are any holes that your product will fit into, and if there will even be demand for it.
- Competitor analysis to understand if customers think there are things your competitors' products or services lack that you can incorporate into your product to better fit your target market's needs.
During this stage, you can also get early feedback from customers about what they think of your ideas before coming up with a final definition for your product. One of the best ways to get this feedback is through surveys, where you can easily and quickly collect information from existing customers. A high-quality tool like Lucky Orange can help you create these surveys, and with it, you can ask multiple choice questions about types of products they may be interested in, or more open-ended questions that give you more insight into customer opinions.
This stage may include a bit of iteration because your research may tell you that you need to refine your original ideas and adjust your research scope before moving on to the next stage.
The third stage is planning, where you formulate a final product idea/definition based on your initial idea and research and begin coming up with your plans to bring it to life.
When you define your final product, you’ll want to begin planning for what you’ll need in order to create it. For example, if you’re creating a physical product, you’ll need to source the necessary materials or find production partners that will assist in manufacturing.
Planning also involves coming up with a marketing strategy that will help you effectively market when your product is completed, pricing models that make sense for your product, and that your customers will pay.
It’s also critical to identify the teams that will be involved in your product development process that will help bring it to market, from the marketing teams that will promote your product to any possible external partners that will assist with production.
The prototyping phase is when you come up with a sample product that is a mockup of what will be created during mass production.
This prototype is often referred to as a minimum viable product (MVP), which is a basic version of your tool, still similar to your final product, that will help you get a sense of how it functions and identify any areas that need to be improved.
You may make multiple prototypes and go back and forth between this stage and the testing stage before you have a finalized prototype.
Before launching your product you need to test it to ensure it will work as advertised and effectively solve your customer needs. So, during this stage, you’ll share your prototypes with target audiences and ask for actionable feedback on how the product works.
Essentially, you want your product to be used in situations that are similar to real-world use cases so you know exactly what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes the results of your testing will require you to go back and make changes to your prototype, as mentioned above.
Once you feel as though your prototype is finished and ready to solve your customer needs, you’ll begin product development.
6. Product Development
This stage involves creating the final product that will be commercialized once completed. You’ll use the insights gained from testing your MVP to make final touches to your prototype, and begin mass production.
Depending on your type of business, you’ll likely have a different process for product development. For example, if you’re a SaaS business, your internal software development or programming teams will likely work to finalize code. If you create a physical product, you may outsource labor for certain components and assemble final products in your warehouse.
Whichever your process is, your planning stage should’ve helped you identify how your product development will go.
The final stage of your new product development process is commercialization, where you introduce your products to market. This is the culmination of your brainstorming, research, iteration, where your audiences can finally make use of what you created.
You’ll enact your marketing plans to make your audiences aware of your new product, and enact campaigns that will entice them to become customers.
Although this is the final stage, many businesses launch their products and, over time, return to make improvements to their products based on customer feedback and market changes to ensure they’re always providing the best possible customer experience.
From Brainstorming To Reality
When you complete your new product development process, you’ll have brought your brainstorming ideas to fruition, and created a real product or service that solves a customer need. If you find success, you’ll have created a valuable strategy to replicate that will help you continuously innovate and create new products, giving customers the delightful experiences they desire.