Innovation Defined: The Best Practices For New Product Introduction

  • Oct 16, 2020
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Innovation Defined: The Best Practices For New Product Introduction

The New Product Introduction (NPI) process extends beyond simply introducing a product to the market. NPI begins with conceptualization through prototyping, testing, and eventually market introduction. The way in which a company approaches NPI can make or break a product. With a dedicated team focused on innovation, you can complete the NPI process in a smooth and efficient fashion.  

Here are the seven main steps associated with NPI and suggestions on best practices for implementation: 

The Seven Steps of NPI 

  • Define: Before you can dive into NPI, you need to work with your dedicated team of engineers to determine the exact features and design of the product. This step also considers necessary resources, scope of the project, preliminary research, target market, and tangible objectives or outcomes. 
  • Feasibility: Once you’ve determined the fundamental elements of the project at hand, you and your dedicated team must analyze the feasibility of the project—or the chances of a successful outcome. With a set of goals in mind, you can decide whether the project actually makes sense at this time and whether or not you have the resources to bring the product to fruition. 
  • Development: If it has been determined that you can feasibly bring the product to market successfully, you can move into the development phase in which you actually hash out the project and create a working prototype. Consider elements of innovation that will set your product apart from others on the market and solve a real problem for your targeted demographic. 
  • Testing: After a working prototype has been designed and created, testing is an important step to eradicate potential issues and make improvements on the initial product. This is when you can implement incremental innovation to make small improvements that will create a longer lasting, more successful product. 
  • Implementation: Prior to market introduction, it’s essential to create any necessary guides or documents that accompany the product—for example, manuals, training guides, product catalogues, etc. During this phase, you should also consider your sales team and how they will present the product to potential customers. 
  • Evaluation: Before launching the product on a full-scale, evaluate the final product and take into consideration any customer feedback that may highlight strengths and weaknesses of the product. You can also evaluate your intended marketing efforts and how to improve upon them. 
  • Full-scale Production: Now, it’s showtime. The full-scale production is only implemented after the product has been heavily tested and analyzed to the point where it feels as though it’s ready for market introduction and general consumption. 

Best Practices for New Product Introduction 

Determine USP 

Your USP (unique selling point) is what sets your product apart from similar items or programs on the market. You should have a concrete idea of what your USP is prior to development as this will be your main selling point once the product hits the market. However, just because your product possesses uniqueness does not necessarily mean it will be successful. Innovation encompasses uniqueness and functionality, so your product may be unique, but does it solve a problem? If the defining features of your product are not practical enough to appeal to consumers, then it’s likely not ready to bring to market and incremental innovation should be considered. 

Define Your Target Audience 

During the NPI process, it’s essential to pinpoint a specific demographic that you’re looking to appeal to. This will help tailor your marketing efforts to an audience with a need for your product. Defining your target market involves a great deal of research, so have your dedicated team of marketing experts consider all features of the product and the type of consumer who would be searching for a similar solution. 

Ensure that Your Dedicated Team is on the Same Page 

One of the most difficult aspects of NPI is ensuring that everyone involved is on the same page. The process of moving from development to market introduction involves many steps and moving parts, which means it’s easy for one sector of your team to be unaware of what’s happening in another department. Before launching the product, it’s best to hold a meeting with your dedicated team and send out specific documents outlining the product features, target market, marketing strategies, and any other necessary information. 

Pick the Optimal Time to Launch 

Just because your product has been finalized and prepared for market introduction does not necessarily mean it needs to be launched right away. There are optimal times of the year that may help boost the success of your product launch. Take into consideration whether or not the product has a seasonal element and examine your marketing budget. Before bringing it to market, you want to guarantee that you have the resources to properly market and meet high demand. 

Take Advantage of Multiple Marketing Outlets 

When it’s time to launch the product, marketing is everything. You need to be able to spread the word and boost consumer interest, which is why it’s vital to find several outlets that fit with your marketing strategy. You can take advantage of everything from partnering with social media influencers to utilizing PPC advertising. Do your research to decide which channels your target market is most likely to be using and persuaded by. 

The Takeaway: 

NPI is a long, complex process that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of a product up to the point of market introduction. Considering factors such as level of innovation, time of launch, marketing strategies, and barriers to entry are all essential aspects to creating a successful product. With these tips in mind, you can make more calculated decisions on how to introduce the product to the market and find a favorable outcome. 

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