New products come on the market all the time. Some are completely new concepts, but most are additions to or modifications of concepts and product lines that already exist. And while it’s true that extending or revamping old products is usually easier and cheaper than conceiving and developing entirely new ideas, all three types of product development — new concepts, additions and modifications — can benefit from the insights gained with quality market research. Indeed, product development is similar to the maturation that occurs within any life cycle: there is a beginning, a middle and an end. Products are conceived (i.e., “developed”); they mature; and then they decline. With the right nurturing at any part of the process, each stage can be improved and prolonged. Thus, anytime is the right time to start new product market research.
Product Development and the Product Life Cycle
Product development is the first stage of the product life cycle:
- Product Development
However, because new products often include revisions of existing ones, product development is really an ongoing process that continuously occurs over and over again at each stage for as long as a brand survives. We break it down here to illustrate how each of the following times could be the right time to start new product market research:
Most companies realize that they need to assess a market before they enter it. Market research can lay bare pressing consumer need and demand, as well as any relevant issues and/or competitors affecting that need and demand. With this type of information on hand, a company is better prepared to create unique appeal with a new product, targeting the right type of people in the right ways. Of course, market research isn’t a guarantee that a new product will work, only that it might or could. Research respondents can’t be responsible for accurately predicting how they would (or would not) embrace a product they’ve never seen and never used. Therefore, it’s up to companies to weigh the potential of a new product against a slew of variables uncovered by their market research to see if a product launch could likely be profitable.
After a product is launched, there is still amble opportunity for a company to maximize its performance by improving its product’s features. In this way, ongoing market research assessing user (UX) and customer experience (CX) can help companies identify problems with and make modifications to their product(s), hopefully increasing customer satisfaction and, thus, increasing sales, as a result.
Of course, no matter how strong a product launch nor how useful a product is at any one time, all products experience a decline at some point during their life cycles. During these periods, a company can attempt to reinvigorate a product’s appeal by expanding a product line to address new consumer needs and issues, and/or they can try to implement changes to a product that remedy specific problems. This isn’t to say that new product modifications only occur during one certain stage and that additions to a product line occur only in another. It’s likely that new concepts, new features and new product variations will occur throughout each and all stages of the product life cycle. That’s what keeps companies relevant and top of mind within a market. Hence, companies should consistently and continuously use market research to garner feedback and intelligence in order to remain aware of market trends and prepared for market change. Qualitative research methods (like interviews and focus groups) can forcefully probe what consumers and customers think, while quantitative research (like surveys and questionnaires) methods can measure what consumers and customers do. Between the two, companies will hopefully have the tools they need to constantly reinvent themselves and stay afloat in a rough sea of competition.
Want to Learn More?
Anytime is the right time to start new product market research. Our team at Communications for Research (CFR) has over 20 years experience helping companies gather the insight they need to launch new products, as well as add to and modify their existing ones. Contact us to learn how we can gather and convert information that strengthens your brand value and increases your ROI.