Product Marketing Strategy helps manufacturers with product marketing, product strategy, and marketing strategy to maximize profitability over the product life cycle.

The Solution Stage

The Solution StageThe Product Development and Introduction stage of the Product Life cycle can also be called the Solution Stage. A new product is developed to solve a problem or meet a specific need, usually for a specific customer or a select group of customers. It is in this stage that branding begins and quality levels are established. If possible, patents and trademarks are obtained for the intellectual property. Distribution is limited, costs are high, volume is low and promotion is focused on building awareness.

The company looks for early adopters and spends a tremendous amount of time and energy educating the consumer about the product. Profits at this stage are virtually non-existent. because of the heavy expenses of product introduction.

The solution stage has more recently been termed the product development process. Rapid change, increasing competition, complexity, organizational stress and high customer expectations have combined to support a process for reducing product development time. With time as a critical factor in today’s market, speed to market can create a competitive advantage. Instead of being viewed as a single stage, the introductory stage has become the product development process with as many as seven different parts.

Idea generation is the first step, with input gathered from customers, users, market research, outside inventors, competitors, other markets and employees. The mortality rate for ideas is extremely high. It takes a huge amount of input in the idea generation phase to ensure a flow of new product ideas that actually make it to the commercial start-up phase.

Each new idea goes through an idea evaluation or screening process. This can range from a very informal review by one or two people to a more formal review by a new product development team. It usually involves determining whether the product fits with the objectives of the company. The strengths and weaknesses of the product are evaluated. The idea is reviewed in light of current or expected market trends. Eventually the product’s volume and revenue potential are estimated.

An idea that survives preliminary evaluation will be passed along for a technical and market evaluation. Can it be produced and marketed? Does the concept make sense to potential customers? Rough estimates are generated for costs, required investment, sales and profit margin. The fall-out in these first two stages is tremendous.

Ideas that make it through the first two evaluations are usually turned over to the company’s engineers for product and process design work. This involves a great deal of liaison work between marketing and engineering with a lot of input from prospective customers.

If the design looks good and the processes make sense, the idea moves into the early development stage. Here prototypes are developed, marketing plans are undertaken and a business plan is developed. Frequently prototypes are shown or tested by prospective customers. Test markets are conducted, and the plans are revised as needed. Once completed, the prototypes and plans are reviewed again against expected objectives.

If everything is on track, the new product moves into final development. Financial estimates are reviewed against the objectives. The tooling begins, and advertising and promotion programs are finalized and initiated.

The last step in the solution stage is commercialization: production is started and the product rollout begins.

head-and-sholders  Robert Cannon

   With over 30 years of expertise in marketing, and leadership, Bob creates innovative systems, 
   products and services for small to mid-size manufacturers. Contact Bob today for more information 
   on the Cannon Advantage services and solutions.