Delivering a new product to a market is a non-trivial task that requires the coordinated effort of multiple professionals. In this undertaking, there are two crucial aspects that should be taken into account before launching new items, such as planning and developing. These stages usually account for increased accuracy of targeting, better sales, and thus, the long-term success of a firm (Chitale & Gupta, 2013). Given the pivotal status of these steps, this paper will elaborate and detail them for educational purposes and greater apprehension.
Planning and Development
Creation of Concept
According to experts in marketing, the planning stage should precede each product release (Forbes Agency Council, 2017). The role of this phase is to envision the product itself and its environment in all their complexity to ensure the success and profitability of the whole project. Arguably, the development of a new product starts with the elaboration of a concept. This task is usually undertaken in the marketing department, where employees research the current area where their company operates to locate problems that need addressing.
Innovative ideas are usually generated in the form of a brainstorming activity or proposed randomly as a result of daily functioning. Sometimes professionals face some issue that is not resolved by any existing means, which leads to the creation of an idea for a new product. It is important to note, however, that not every idea that emerges in that way is worth the investment. It should be based on a problem faced by a multitude of people.
For instance, waves of the emancipation of American women in the 1920s and 1960s triggered massive growth in branding and advertisement activities aimed at selling cigarettes to women (Anderson, Glantz, & Ling, 2005). Marlboro and other companies responded to a social issue with a planned marketing response that yielded huge profits. The success of that initiative was that the product was adapted to address a specific need that was identified by the analysis, such as the need for self-identity. Through continuous advertisement campaigns of cigarette manufacturers, a smoking lady became a symbol of a self-confident and independent woman. Thus, the concept was based on a real social need that was shared by many and emerged into a successfully launched product.
Market research is a paramount stage in which specialists gather secondary and primary data on consumers to understand if a new product could satisfy their needs. It also serves the purpose of identifying the audience for a new item. Market research may involve questionnaires distributed to customers, phone calls, internet surveys, and other types of data collection. The process requires an excellent understanding of human behavior and the knowledge of current trends to produce qualitative or quantitative analysis of the gathered data. The success of the Lego corporation is a vivid example of why market research is important.
Lego’s own surveys conducted in 2011 revealed that only 9% of girls were interested in Lego which was one of the sources of the company’s problems (Chew, 2017). By studying the behaviors of young girls, their interests, and wishes, Lego produced a new line of Lego bricks, “Lego Friends,” designed for girls. It helped dramatically increase the share of Lego in the young female entertainment sector (Chew, 2017).
Thus, well-developed market research could help the company build a product that meets customers’ needs. If this activity produces a clear image of a customer, which also matches a product concept and demonstrates the commercial feasibility of a project, one may allocate time and effort to planning a product life cycle.
Product Life Cycle Planning
This activity includes planning for introduction, growth, maturity, and decline stages. Thus, it is generally known that in the short term, after launching the product, sales may demonstrate success, yet, if consequent stages are not managed, the product could soon be outmatched by competitors and become a burden to a company (Chitale & Gupta, 2013). The experience of General Foods Corporation illustrates the necessity for lifecycle considerations. After pioneering with their “Jell-O” gelatin dessert, the company gradually increased the availability of the product in different flavors (Chitale & Gupta, 2013).
They also modified the formula to be suitable for usage in salads or as a cooking ingredient for other dishes. If the company did not think through its long-term marketing management policy, Jell-O could have failed to compete in the market for a sufficient period of time. Thus, it is critical that the planning stage details lifecycle and at least preliminarily specifies the activities to support a new product.
A Strategic Plan
All planning activities should arguably result in a comprehensive strategic plan, an official document that details the results of all research, modeling, and evaluation activates as well as an action plan for consequent activities. Such paper should serve as a guidance and coordination manual for every team member and executive. In addition to these stages of planning, there is also a need to consider certain critical elements.
As such, experts suggest conducting proper research on analogs of a proposed item (Forbes Agency Council, 2017). This step could save a company from potential legal issues pertaining to legal rights and patents. It is also paramount that every team that works on a new product share a common vision to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
Manufacturing and Testing
This stage should define the technical properties and design of a product and eventually form it into a final version that will be displayed on the shelves. At this stage, it is critical that the manufacturing department works together with design and marketing so that the development process is not interrupted by conceptual disagreements. For instance, General Motors occasionally faced serious issues with certain Chevrolet cars due to a mismatch in design and engineering (Meyer, 2017).
Such setbacks and mistakes are very costly and may account for a sufficient share of future sales which also speaks for the importance of planning in launching a new product. A beta test conducted on a small sample of customers could help address this issue (Chitale & Gupta, 2013). It could reveal defects and generate valuable feedback to assist the company in adjusting the properties of a final item. It could also help avoid losses on producing a volume of flawed goods and a scandalous start on the market.
All in all, planning and development are important preliminary steps that account for a major part of success before the product reaches its market. It includes several stages and activities such as concept development, market research, life-cycle planning, strategic plan elaboration, manufacturing, and testing. All these steps are crucial for the success of a product initiative, and failure in any of them could result in dire financial losses after a developed item reaches the shelves.
Anderson, S. J., Glantz, S. A., & Ling, P. M. (2005). Emotions for sale: Cigarette advertising and women’s psychosocial needs. Tobacco Control, 14(2), 127-135.
Chew, J. (2015). How Lego finally found success with girls. Fortune. Web.
Chitale, A. K., & Gupta, R. (2013). Product policy and brand management (2nd ed.). London, UK: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.
Forbes Agency Council. (2017). 17 steps to take before you launch a product or service. Forbes. Web.
Meyer, P. (2017). General Motors’ operations management: 10 decisions & productivity. Panmore Institute. Web.