This article throws light upon the seven main steps involved in planning and development of a new product. The steps are: 1. New Product Ideas 2. Idea Screening 3. Concept Development and Testing 4. Business Analysis 5. Product Development, Programme 6. Test Marketing 7. Commercialisation.
Planning and Development: Step # 1. New Product Ideas:
We visualize the detailed features of a model product. Ideas may be contributed by scientists, professional designers, rivals, customers, sales force, top management dealers, etc. We may need sixty new ideas to get one commercially viable product.
Planning and Development: Step # 2. Idea Screening:
We have to evaluate all ideas and inventions. Poor or bad ideas are dropped and through the process of elimination only most promising and profitable ideas are picked up for further detailed investigation and research.
Planning and Development: Step # 3. Concept Development and Testing:
All ideas that survive the process of screening (Preliminary investigation) will be studied in details. They will be developed into mature product concepts. We will have precise description for the ideas and features of the proposed product.
At this stage we can incorporate consumer meaning into our product ideas. Concept testing helps the company to choose the best among the alternative product concepts. Consumers are called upon to offer their comments on the precise written description of the product concept, viz., the attributes and expected benefits.
Planning and Development: Step # 4. Business Analysis:
Once the best products concept is picked up, it will be subjected to rigorous scrutiny to evaluate its market potential, capital investment, rate of return on capital, etc. Business analysis is a combination of marketing research, cost benefit analysis and assessment of competition. Business analysis will prove the economic prospects of the new product concept.
It will also prove soundness and viability of the selected product concept from business viewpoint. Now we can proceed to concentrate on product development programme. The proposed product must offer a realistic profit objective.
Planning and Development: Step # 5. Product Development, Programme:
We have three steps in this stage, when a paper idea is duly converted into a physical product:
(a) Prototype development giving visual image of the product,
(b) Consumer testing of the model or prototype, and
(c) Branding, packaging and labelling.
Consumer testing of the model products will provide the ground for final selection of the most promising model for mass production and mass distribution.
Planning and Development: Step # 6. Test Marketing:
Entire product marketing programme is tried out for the first time in a small number of well-selected test markets, i.e., test cities, or areas. Test marketing is necessary to find out the viability of full marketing programme for national distribution.
Customer reactions can be tested under normal market conditions. It helps the company to learn through trial and error and get additional valuable clues for product improvement and for modifications in our marketing mix.
We can use test markets for testing effectiveness of all ingredients of our marketing mix. Test marketing can answer such questions as: Is the new product labelled and packaged properly? Is the new product liked by the consumer? Is the firm justified in spending large sums on productive, capacity? Has the communication (promotion) programme been right? Positive answers will reassure marketers.
Planning and Development: Step # 7. Commercialisation:
Once the test marketing gives green signal for the product with or without expected modifications, the company can proceed to finalize all features of the product. Now marketing management can launch full-fledged advertising and promotion campaign for mass distribution. Mass production will start and all distribution channels will be duly organised. The product is now born and it will start its life cycle in due course.