New product development strategy

With a well-considered new product development (NPD) strategy, you can avoid wasting time, money and business resources. An NPD strategy will help you organise your product planning and research, capture your customers' views and expectations, and accurately plan and resource your NPD project. Your strategy will also help you avoid:

  • overestimating and misreading your target market
  • launching a poorly designed product, or a product that doesn't meet the needs of your target customers
  • incorrectly pricing products
  • spending resources you don't have on higher-than-anticipated development costs
  • exposing your business to risks and threats from unexpected competition.

There are several important steps you will need to plan into your NPD strategy.

Define your product

An accurate description of the product you are planning will help keep you and your team focused and avoid NPD pitfalls such as developing too many products at once, or running out of resources to develop the product.

Identify market needs

Successful NPD requires a thorough knowledge of your target market and its needs and wants. A targeted, strategic and purposeful approach to NPD will ensure your products fit your market. Ask yourself:

  • What is the target market for the product I am proposing?
  • What does that market need?
  • What is the benefit of my proposed new product?
  • What are the market's frustrations of existing products of its type?
  • How will the product fit into the current market?
  • What sets this product apart from its competition?

Draw on your existing market research. You may need to undertake additional research to test your new product proposal with your customers. For example, you could set up focus groups or a customer survey.

Find out more about customer research.

Establish time frames

You need to allow adequate time to develop and implement your new products. Your objectives for developing new products will inform your time frames and your deadlines for implementation. Be thoughtful and realistic. Some objectives might overlap but others will be mutually exclusive.

  • Your objective to race against your competition will require efficiency from your team.
  • Your aim to achieve a specific launch date will be influenced by demand for seasonal products and calendar events.
  • Your aim to be responsive to your customers' needs and demands will require time for research to ensure you develop the right products at the right time.
  • Your objective to stick to business as usual and maintain other schedules will affect the resources you make available for NPD.

Identify key issues and approaches

There are many tasks involved in developing a product that is appropriate for your customers. The nature of your business and your idea will determine how many of these steps you need to take. You may be able to skip or duplicate certain stages, or start some of them simultaneously. Key tasks include:

  • generating and screening ideas
  • developing and screening concepts
  • testing concepts
  • analysing market and business strategy
  • developing and market testing products
  • implementing and commercialising products.

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