By Kathleen Hogg
“Necessity is the Mother of all invention.” This statement is the core of product creation and development. Once you discover a gap or component missing from your product needs, you may be able to find a solution. “Bang” a product idea!
Here are some steps to get from point A. Product creation to point B and then finally, market ready product.
The need in the marketplace is identified, and a product idea is inspired. Demographics play a key component in this section. You want to create your product for a certain target market. The categories of your clients are broken down into sex, marital status, age, income, geographic location, and lifestyle segments. Basic demographics generally mapped out, will assist in getting the most out of the following categories. Remember this, it is crucial, you cannot be all things to all people. There will be people who object to your product no matter what and that is okay. Don’t try to be all things, focus on the market segment you want.
What are the components required to make this product? This includes ingredients, materials, production requirements, etc.
Create several different versions of your product. Start testing them on yourself as best you can. What features appeal to you from each model and which don’t? Once you are satisfied with two and three different models; they are ready for others to test.
In the product model category, assess the actual price point and pricing strategy. The price point is the break even price. The following are a list of expenses that factor into price but are not exclusive to:
- Bottling and packaging.
- Office expenses – heat, hydro, water, telephone, ink, etc.
- Wholesale pricing – if you chose to distribute your product through stores, then you must figure that most retailers want at least a 100% markup. If you are going to sell on the internet or through your own store, you must create a price that matches the wholesaler. Both must make a profit.
- Legal and accounting fees.
- Organization fees – any fees that must be paid to affiliated industry organizations.
- Advertising and marketing expenses.
- Your time.
Your pricing strategy is dependent on your marketing strategy. If you want to create a high-end product you may look into prestige pricing, for a product that you are entering in a very saturated marketplace, you may want to use a Penetrating Price strategy. There are numerous methods in which to price based on your marketing strategy, but the primary price should be based on covering your costs and making a profit.
One of the important components of the product model category is sourcing your ingredients and materials. You want to find the most economical supplier, but not the cheapest. Research each one of your suppliers to find out their reputation. This is crucial as it is their materials that are building your finished product, so you need to know as much about them as you can. Reliable, cooperative, ethical suppliers will help you build a better product.
This is the most important aspect of product creation. You want to be sure that you are creating something the consumer is willing to purchase. Remember (although it can be hard) not to take any of the feedback personally. Do not influence your testers in any way; they may be afraid to hurt your feelings, and this taints the research. Ideas and strategies for product features, distribution strategy, price and many other components can be discovered and discussed through research:
This feedback should allow you to narrow the product down to one or two options. If you are thinking of different colors, components, flavors, fragrances, etc. for the future, write these down, but try to stick with one model for primary research purposes.
Three Methods of Research:
After the tester has tried the product based on your instructions, they may complete a quick survey regarding questions/concerns regarding your product. 100 responses provides a good quantitative result.
2. Focus Groups
Getting 4 or 5 respondents in a room to openly discuss your product is a very valuable resource. This involves having a moderator present to give the questions and to keep the conversation on task. Running approximately 4 or 5 of these will provide you with substantial feedback.
3. Individual Interviews
This is one on one interview is a more in-depth personal view of the respondents’ opinion of your product. These can be done in person, webcam or on the phone.
Research is an overlooked part of the process, and it needs to be completed for product creation, product launch, and overall marketing campaigns. Many times, I have seen people jump right into a business without conducting research and have failed. It is important to know your audience, product, and marketplace inside and out. Research may seem tedious or intrusive to other people, in fact, people like giving their opinions. Making them feel part of the process is important and can lead to support down the road.
Product Revision and Strategy:
Once you have collected the research on your Beta Testing, you are now able to modify the product based on this information. In some cases, the initial product that you intended on creating may be entirely altered based on the research that you have conducted.
This crucial piece of the puzzle affects the design, price, distribution, and marketing strategy. You have to figure out how you are going to make this product. For example, are you going to do it in your kitchen? Are you able to outsource to a manufacturing plant? If so, what does that entail?
Once the product creation is finalized the pricing strategy, distribution strategy and marketing strategy need to be put in place. These will assist in getting the product from inside your head to the consumer.
Product creation is the most exciting process. It is when your ideas can become a reality. Even though it seems like a lot of background work, it is the most invigorating part. Some ideas, features, and components you may have thought were fantastic may not be seen the same way the public sees it. However, some new and exciting attributes may be discovered to make your product all the better.
It is imperative to keep an open mind regarding product creation and development. Don’t take things personally and enjoy the dynamic of other's insight. This information will give you a foundation to build your product and provide you with more product ideas. Remember too that your product development and creation is not static. You must keep reviewing the performance of the product and ask your customers, what they think. If modifications are made down the line, then you have a new and improved product. You may also find that your product is being used for things you didn’t even think of. This presents a new marketing opportunity. It is a wonderful process, which is exciting, dynamic and creative. Just make sure that you look at the criticism as an opportunity for modification rather than an insult. Keep an open mind and good luck!
Kathleen manufactures Bath & Body products for Bath-a-holic, as well as provides clients with a variety of customized high-quality creative design and business consulting services; allowing them to successfully develop, enhance and expand their business. To learn more about Kathleen, visit Kathleen Hogg Creative Design & Business Consulting Services.