Sunday, March 20, 2011

Overnight Success?


Pat McGraw shares with us the truth about how things really happen, from his blog:

7 Steps in a Successful Product Strategy

Posted: 18 Mar 2011 11:13 AM PDT

Symphony by Paul (Dex)

I watched The Social Network the other night and. boys and girls, things don’t typically happen that way. Sure, it makes a great story but in reality, only a few businesses

  1. Idea Generation: This is NOT coming in on a Monday morning with “…a great idea!” Idea generation is a continuous, systematic process that will identify opportunities. And in order to improve your chances for success, here are some very effective techniques:
    1. Dimensional Analysis: Create a list of features/benefits/characteristics of an existing product and then ask questions that stimulate creative responses. Why is the product built this way? What would be the impact of removing certain features – or adding other features?
    2. Problem Analysis: What problems does your target audience face? How are those problems solved with products/services within your product category? Which solutions could be improved? What problems are unresolved – and how could you solve them?
    3. Benefit Structure Analysis: Within your category, what benefits does your audience want and what, if any deficiencies exist between those wants and reality? How can you meet those unmet wants?
    4. Scenario Analysis: Looking towards the future, what opportunities might exist and what might be the impact on your audience?
  2. Product Screening: Using a new product screening check-list, you list the attributes believed to be the most important and then each product concept in a standardized approach. The goal is to eliminate the weak ideas and focus on the strongest ideas.
  3. Concept Testing: You need to walk before you run – and concept testing should be a quick, inexpensive process that helps you identify initial consumer attitudes. You can test concepts with a written description of the product (features and benefits), or even a picture/drawing of the product.
  4. Business and financial analysis: What is the projected size of your market? What will it cost to manufacture the product? What are your competitors offering? How does it compare with your new product? What results have your competitors generated? What resources will be required to invest in this product? How can you generate a profit – how many units at what price in order to generate what profit?
  5. Product development: If the numbers make sense, now it the time to turn the idea into a real product and begin to hammer out the details of your distribution, promotion and sales strategy. Line up wholesalers, distributors, retailers – the channel partners you will need to get your product out to as many qualified buyers as possible. And focus on your promotional as well as your sales strategy – how will you generate qualified leads and convert them into buyers?
  6. Test Marketing: Again, walk before you run. Select a few test markets and start promoting your product in order to see if the market responds as hoped.
  7. Commercialization: If the test marketing goes well, now you can start rolling out your product for wider/broader reach.

Notice the importance of market research in this entire process. You have to understand your audience and the competition.

Now some of you are probably thinking “This is too slow – we would miss the opportunity if we forced ourselves to follow this process.” That’s possible but not as likely as you might think because when you have this process in place, you are still able to take those ‘inspirational ideas’ and place them into the process. And if your process is working properly, you will have so many great ideas in the process, your focus and attention will be on them.

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