Whether you’re starting a retail business or creating new products to refresh an existing one, the development and marketing process is always a challenge. You want your products to be in high demand while keeping your costs low and your returns high.
This process gets even more difficult when you’re trying to develop a popular product around a new concept.
“Imagine trying to explain the value of the transistor radio to the general population back in 1954,” says Jon Brody, CEO and co-found at Ladder. “How could manufacturers convince consumers that they would meet needs customers weren’t even aware they had? A tough sell, but once it caught on, it changed the world.”
Brody also talks about Bitcoin and how it was a struggle to explain why such a product was useful in today’s market. As you know, both the transistor radio and Bitcoin were wildly successful, and their inventors were well compensated.
Even if your product concept seems a little out there, you can develop a product with smooth processing. It can also have a low-investment with a high return and maintain popularity in your industry. You just need the right strategies to get you there.
1. Know What Pains Your Target Audience
Every successful product developer makes his or her fortune by capitalizing on customer pain. More specifically, they define what causes discomfort and develop a product to mitigate it.
For example, one of the hottest products over the last couple of years is a knob that you place on the back of your iPhone called PopSockets. This product was in answer to the pain of customers who dropped their phones during selfies–or worse–dropped it on their faces while lying down.
PopSockets prevents literal pain for its customers, and in the third quarter of 2017, they were on track to sell 30 million units.
If you want to develop a popular product, tap into the pain centers of your target audience. Find a market that has yet to be explored, and produce a revolutionary product for the ages.
2. Create a Prototype Process
“You only have so much time to make mistakes and develop a product that customers are eager to use,” says Peter Cohan, founder of Peter S. Cohan & Associates. “To develop the right product, you must charge a team with building a series of prototype products that customers can try and then critique.”
This process is similar to doing a scientific experiment. You’ll need a hypothesis based on your observation of customer needs and your vision. You’ll make educated guesses and try to assess how well your product will perform on the market.
Next, you’ll build a quick and inexpensive prototype of your product. The first version probably won’t be your final, so you need a process of testing the products on your chosen audience. These tests will help you close the gap between the product you have and the products your customers actually need.
Finally, you’ll analyze any variance between the expected outcome and the observed result. From this information, you can change your strategy to better serve you next time, saving more time and energy in the next product creation.
3. Recognize Your Own Ignorance
In an article on the pillars of dependable product development, software development, design, and architect company Praxent says that you have to recognize that you don’t know everything.
“If you really want your investment to pay off, don’t be satisfied with what you know,” the article admonishes. “At the birth of the product, you may view this idea through your own lens of experience. That’s only the beginning of developing the concept. Your crucial next step is to validate the idea outside of your own box.”
Dig deeper into the development of a new idea, finding ways to save money, innovate, and extend your processes beyond anything you’ve used before. Constantly investigate your current process to see if there’s a better way to do things.
4. Market Your Product
You might have thought that developing your product was a challenge, but making it popular through marketing is an entirely new beast. Some customers will initially love your product, but others won’t see the value immediately.
You must execute a series of marketing tactics to get on your customers’ radar. Sujan Patel, co-founder of the company Web Profits, offers the following tips:
- Make Your Product Seem Scarce: Play on the customer’s fear of missing out by offering limited-time offers, limited quantities, or one-day-only sales.
- Leverage User-Generated Content: Let the customers sell the product for you through social media, product reviews, videos, and more user-generated content in favor of your product.
- Offer Exclusive Deals: When customers are left out of an “exclusive deal,” they tend to want the product even more.
- Use Problem-Solving in Your Marketing: Focus on the largest problem that your product solves, and make that the central focus of video, blog, social media, and advertising content.
- Use Social Influencers: Those who have built a strong following of people interested in your industry can bring customers to your door in droves just by recommending your product.
- Don’t Stop There: This shouldn’t be your last product development. Expound on the existing design and create companion pieces to keep customers interested in your products for a lifetime.
Product development is a grueling process with incredible rewards. There’s no better feeling than getting your product just right and offering it to customers in desperate need of the relief it will provide them.