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Giving your product the intelligent start

The critical importance of market research in bringing new products or services to market is a topic that comes up again and again when we are working with clients.

At Product Innovator, we have recently started a research project for the application of motion-detection technology in the sports and fitness market. It is only by speaking directly to potential customers that we are getting a view of what they really want, what they are willing to pay for, what sort of products they would compare the new product to, the other applications or market ideas for the product and, finally, a price range that customers find acceptable.

From our experience in advising a wide range of companies, we have drawn up a list of six key points to consider when bringing new products or services to market. Market intelligence:

1. Informs you of industry trends
which may provide opportunities or threats to your business. Are there new technology standards or legislation that will affect how you build, market or deliver your product?

2. Depicts the competitive environment
Who are the competitors and what functionality do their products provide? You will discover any market leaders and perhaps you will also discover unexplored niches to make use of.

3. Defines your ideal target customer
and also identifies the user buyer, economic buyer or technology buyer in your customers’ organisation.

4. Identifies the explicit needs of your target customer

You must understand the business problems your product should solve and the most important features it must have. Provides critical information to allow you to position your product. You can learn what motivates the customer to make a purchase and their other market options. Using this information can help to identify your value proposition so you can articulate the pro- duct value to the customer.

5. Maximise Profitability
Maximizes your ability to set your product’s price profitably. You need to understand the true value your product de- livers for customers, in order to price your products accordingly. This means you avoid reactive cost based or competition driven pricing tactics.

6. Highlights
how you can use your marketing budget to best create and deliver on a product launch plan. You can then create marketing collateral that articulates how your product can solve the customer’s business problems. You should also discover the trade publications, trade shows, conferences, social media channels and other avenues to best spend your marketing budget.

Companies that follow these points will be well prepared to bring a new product or service to market. The value of market intelligence does not just end there however. It should be applied to your strategy for the complete life cycle of the product. Regularly scanning the market will keep you up to date with market changes and ensure you stay on track.

Mary Ryan is founder and managing director of Product Innovator. For more product development advice to bring new products or services to market, see