January 11, 2008

New Product Development

Posted by Bizaholic | 10:52 PM | , , with 1 comments »

New product development is always a tricky business. A certain degree of uncertainty is intrinsic to the process. Some new products click while many fail. Yet, despite the uncertainty and risk, chances of success can be improved to a large extent with some commonsense.

I am often surprised to see that again and again new products fail in market not because of lack of resources to market it or the product's attributes and features, but due to marketer's inability to understand the consumer and her need - obvious or hidden. The problem starts with marketer's myopic thinking. The culprit is 'company centric' view of a consumer. This 'company centric' view of consumer comes in various flavours, all equally lethal for company's health and well being. Below are some samples:
  1. Marketers try to make a product that they feel is best for the consumer and then go and try to sell it to them. Most of the time this approach fails because how a marketer views the needs of a consumer is often vastly different from how a consumer views her needs!

  2. Marketers get a brain wave for a new product idea. They develop the product after investing lots of money and resources. Once the product is ready, they start searching for consumers who could buy it. It's like shooting arrows in a blind allay in the wild hope of hitting the bull's eye. Seldom have they succeeded.

  3. Marketer sees a product at some far away land and feels that the product seems so nice. He comes with a sample and hands it over to his R&D people to develop a similar product for his market in his country. Once the product is ready, he starts searching for consumers to sell it and then finds that the overall market for the product is so low that there is no business sense to launch the product.
Successful product development has few basic features apart from the luck factor. From what I have observed in my career so far, great and hugely successful products are built around following pillars;
  1. They are backward engineered from consumer. Hence, when developed they have a ready or at least, a latent market to tap.

  2. They are simple from consumer's point of view and satisfy her needs in a simple way sans complication and at a price and experience that gives her maximum utility value and satisfaction.

  3. They have a 'consumer centric' DNA.
New product development requires simplicity. It needs to put the consumer at the center of the gravity and then develop itself around the consumer. This is perhaps the only way I know to develop great products that are loved by consumers and are commercial success.

In the world of marketing, only those products end up with consumers which start with consumers.


  1. Rajesh Kumar // February 28, 2008 at 4:24 PM  

    Sometimes needs are invented by out of work marketers like me and you :)