In last week’s blog post, I wrote about the new product development process entrepreneur Scott Tavenner and his team used to create Savino, a wine preservation carafe.

Does the product fill an unrealized need?

Savino Wine Preservation CarafeScott came up with the idea for Savino because he couldn’t find wine preservation system that really worked and he thought he could create one that worked better. In other words, he identified what he thought was an unrealized consumer need that he could fill. He then talked with other wine enthusiasts to confirm that his product concept did indeed fill that consumer need. He found out that they shared his frustration with the wine preservation products on the market. By doing this initial research to confirm that his product concept solved a problem for wine enthusiasts, Scott improved his odds of new product success.

What happens when a new product doesn’t fill an unrealized need?

The housewares landscape is littered with products that failed because they didn’t meet unrealized needs or solve problems. Take, for example, manual multi-blade fruit and vegetable choppers. Over the past couple of years, kitchen tool and gadget companies have launched all sorts of contraptions designed to chop, slice, and dice fruits and vegetables. They figured that with fresh fruit and vegetable consumption on the rise, consumers would be interested in new tools that make the time-consuming labor-intensive tasks of chopping, slicing, and dicing easier and faster. Very few of these multi-blade gadgets have really caught fire with consumers. The reason? These fruit and vegetable choppers don’t really save the consumer any time. In fact, when you factor in the amount of time it takes to set the chopper up beforehand and clean it up afterwards, many of the manual food choppers actually take longer to use. Had the companies who launched these gadgets gotten consumer feedback early on in the product development process, they would have learned how important the attributes of easy set up and easy clean up are to today’s time-pressured harried cooks.

Why should the product meet an unrealized need?

The one thing you must do when developing new productsI can’t emphasize how important it is that a new product concept meets an unrealized need or solves an unsolved problem for the consumer. Products that fill an unrealized consumer need or solve an unsolved consumer problem have a higher likelihood of marketplace success. If consumers don’t think that a product will meet a need or solve a problem for them, it is highly unlikely that they will be interested in purchasing that product. That’s just one of the reasons why it is so important to integrate consumer feedback into the new product development process. And to test early and often. It’s a whole lot cheaper to make changes to the product early in the development process than it is after tooling has been made.