Innovative businesses thrive by understanding what their market wants, making smart product improvements, and developing new products that meet and exceed their customers’ expectations. As a business holder with a competitive product/service, are you cognizant of the demand/want of your target market? Are you planning on leaving the market without finding out how to improve on your product or create a new one? You can only find answers to these questions with quality data and you can only get quality data by conducting market research. The business world is becoming more competitive and is moving fast, as such there is a greater need for continuous innovation. Before we go further, let us understand what new product development is?
WHAT IS NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT?
New product development (NPD) is the process of bringing a new product to the marketplace. Your business may need to engage in this process due to changes in consumer preferences, increasing competition, and advances in technology or to capitalize on a new opportunity. It’s not only about developing something new and original, it’s also about taking what’s already there and making it much better.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MARKET RESEARCH IN NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
The importance of effective market research in developing a new product or innovating on existing ones can never be underestimated. Planning and conducting market research is a critical component of any business. It provides decision-makers with important information to decide the course of the company, launch a new product, or keep a tab on what competitors are doing. Product innovation is a challenge no matter what industry you’re in. The road is fraught with detours and roadblocks. The proliferation of more consumer choice than ever before spurred by a multitude of digital channels is resulting in constantly changing customer expectations.
This, in turn, is fueling a demand for greater personalization, or the ability to market, advertise to, and even develop products or services that suit individual consumer preferences. These shifts and pressures continue to throw companies off their game, driving uncertainty and reactivity rather than deep understanding and responsiveness.
But somewhere on the horizon, there is a true customer need for which there is also an actual solution. Finding that customer’s need and then developing the best solution for it can be a substantial boon to your business in a number of important ways. This calls for a great need for conducting an effective market survey in order for you to gather data that will assist you in decision-making on the best way to go in your quest for new product innovation.
From getting to know your target audience to exploring potential competitors, market research gives businesses a competitive edge, allowing them to thrive in new environments and which also enables them to:
- Determine how large the target market is;
- Know how to sell to them, their preference and needs;
- Know your competitors and how to outshine them;
- Improve or develop a new product.
HOW TO GET NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT RIGHT
Organisations often depend on new product development to stay competitive within an industry. While the process can be challenging, and oftentimes lengthy, new products and services allow organisations to grow and further expand their market reach.
In order to ensure the time and cost invested in new product development do not go to waste, it is essential organisations make informed decisions based on actual market opportunity and customer insight.
Market research provides project teams with these insights and guides each product development and design activity.
As you embark on new product development, remember that ideas or theories without data are just assumptions with no factual reality to back them up. To this end, during front-end development, you need to integrate customer surveys and big data analysis to help you identify who you want to innovate and develop for and continue these methodologies into concept validation and market assessment to further segment and target the right audiences.
But before you do anything, understand first what your goals are with product development/innovation. The market is always in a flux and the speed of change and disruption is only increasing. With consumers holding more of the cards, it’s imperative to accept that product innovation is not a nice-to-have, but an essential component of a successful business in today’s world.
Starting with a back-to-basics understanding of product innovation gives you a renewed sense of purpose and helps you move in the direction you need to go. Then, embracing an entrepreneurial spirit, deepening your understanding of your customers, and utilizing the latest market research tools and technologies to support your efforts will get you all the way there.