Macro Economic Data
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The question is simpler than the answer but let us try to give another point of view in this matter.
We should first cut the process in workable pieces: idea generating, concept development and product launch.
Product ideas come from many directions and let us first list some of these sources:
Consumer research, consumer complaints, retail suggestions, creative sessions, packaging specialists, ingredient suppliers, branding specialists and every signal coming from the market. Marketing management is responsible for the collection of the ideas and signals and should use all elements to create even more ideas. It is important not to start shifting in an early phase but pick the best ideas from different perspectives.
Example is first to take out the 5 ideas with potentially the highest turnover and profit. Then pick the 5 ideas with lowest capital needs, then the 5 with highest competitive power followed by the 5 that will have the highest chances on a quick listing at the major retailers. Other aspects can be: time needed before launch, fit in the company strategy, cohesion with existing advertising activities, risks when the product would fail, cannibalism on existing products etc.
These lists should give good feeling what product ideas should be elaborated in concepts, packaging, communication, brand-name, pricing level, optimal product performance etc.
Important is to think in a perfect product as if no budget limits exist and define the product as meeting the ultimate consumer wish. Reality will downgrade some of these specs but it is good to describe the perfect concept first and then go to a realistic product in a balanced way, thinking how the consumer promise will get the best answer and not "how the existing machines are best loaded". If the machine overcapacity is the key problem, develop concepts that are low in costs but do not expect to make major market move.
The third phase is the biggest chunk in the process and while in phase 1 and 2 all involved people are equal in creative power, here we should use the specialists for each aspect of the concept. Bringing the whole concept to "launching level" forces us to use all dimensions at the same time and all should be seen in function of the success of the launch. Packaging is not carton or design but "the contribution of packaging to the success of the product. Each element, price, shelf-life, outer carton, advertising, introduction at retailers, sales pitch, anything, should be measured in potential contribution to the success and should be significantly better than any competitors activity.
To measure these elements is not always easy but market research can play a leading role in this part of the process.
Getting the retailers involved in some stages can be wise to insure the listing but a brilliant product might not need that involvement in that early stage. Thinking about the very best product or service, unlimited by costs is the best start for any break through product.
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