Think about these 5 things early and often to ensure successful product development.
- Pinpoint the problem you’re solving
Successful product development hinges on keeping the problem you’re trying to solve in mind as you move through the development process. Some products solve straightforward issues for which you’ve found a unique solution, while others may solve a problem of which buyers aren’t aware until you introduce the product to them.
Good examples are vacuum cleaners and bottled water. New and improved vacuums hit the market regularly even though they still solve the same underlying problem, cleaning floors. On the other hand, bottled water fixed a problem that consumers didn’t recognize they had until it came on the market. Now, there are a plethora of options!
Either type of product can succeed. It all depends on your ability to help consumers see the problem and understand the value of your solution.
- Describe your customer
Begin with the end in mind by asking yourself who will buy your product. It’s critical to your success to know your customer. Take some time to research and describe your target market thoroughly. Consider things such as age, income level, education level, gender, occupation, interests, hobbies, geographic location, shopping habits, etc. Think about questions like—what would stop someone from buying my product. Having a frame of reference based on your target market brings clarity to the decisions you make during this process and increases your chances for successful product development.
- Stay focused and get the functionality right
Once you’ve identified the problem and understand your customer, the next step is to perfect the basic functionality. It’s easy to get carried away, and, as the saying goes, “include everything in but the kitchen sink.” Unfortunately, when that happens, you often end up diluting the functionality of your product and confusing consumers. Before you add extra features, ask yourself whether you’re adding value to your solution or complicating it. Features that sound cool but only add cost should be left on the drawing board. Remember, simple designs are the most elegant. It’s wise to keep your solution straightforward and easy to use.
- How it looks matters
Make sure your product is appealing. Again, think about your target consumer as you consider the shape, colors, textures, and materials for your product. If there are accessories, think about how they will be stored. The look and feel must match the perceived value of the product for it to succeed.
- Design it to last
Few things frustrate consumers more than a product that easily breaks. To maintain your reputation, your customers need to feel that your product was worth the money. Complaints about quality, particularly in the age of social media, have the potential to destroy even the best ideas.
Successful product development starts early in the process. Use the insights you gain from thinking about these 5 things to avoid missteps and make sure when your product launches, it offers the functionality, features, durability, and appeal your target customers expect.
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