It’s a common dilemma. You have multiple new product ideas, but how do you know which ones are the most attractive in terms of consumer/customer interest, market size and growth and where you and your customers can make the most money? In addition, how long would it take to bring the idea(s) to market and does the company have the right design and build capabilities to make it happen? The key is to figure out an objective way to assess the attractiveness of alternative new product concepts so you can prioritize those first.
Prioritize Your New Product Portfolio
Many reasons exist on why you need to prioritize your new product portfolio. Some are:
- Not all new product programs are the same. There is a big difference in developing simple model derivatives vs. “disruptive” new product ideas. You need to tailor your new product process to match the types of new products being developed.
- You can’t do everything. You have limited time, people and development dollar resources.
- While you might have a great new product idea, new functional technologies might not be developed enough yet to have it work.
- You want to be “first to market” vs. competitors. Studies have consistently shown leading the market with new products is more preferable than following.
- You need to make sure your new product development portfolio is aligned with business strategy and goals as well as being sufficient to meet new revenue growth expectations.
Assess New Product Concept Attractiveness
You need an objective way to assess the attractiveness of alternative concepts since people, time and dollar resources aren’t unlimited. Fortunately, this step doesn’t need to be 100% accurate or highly complex. A consistent qualitative ranking assessment will do just fine at this stage. There are at least five major attractiveness criteria measures you should consider:
- Consumer Interest: Is the concept unique? Can consumers easily see demonstrable results?
- Design & Build Capabilities: How easy is it to design/build? Is engineering/R&D familiar with the technologies involved? Should you make the product or source it elsewhere?
- Market Size/Growth & Competitive Offerings: How big is the market? Is it growing and sustainable? How many major competitors are out there already?
- Financial: What is the net margin $ potential? Does the concept require substantial development dollars? Will it require substantial marketing communication dollars beyond the launch?
- Risk: Is your concept patentable? How long will it take to develop? Will either qualitative and/or quantitative market research be required to help reduce business risk?
You should weight these measures and combine them into a new product ranking assessment tool. Then you grade each one of your initiatives and rank them high to low based on these concept attractiveness scores.
In sum, it’s not enough just to have great new product ideas. You need to prioritize your ideas so you can make sure your product portfolio is diversified similar to any financial investment. This tool can help you and your company manage the “fuzzy front end” vs. it managing you. Author of blog post: Rick Steinbrenner, Principal of Brand Marketing Advisors – is the “global brand guy”; a consumer brand and product marketer. He’s led and managed leading global brands like General Mills, Kraft, Remington Products and Black & Decker. He’s also managed consumer product businesses as large as $200MM in multiple product categories ranging from B2C, B2B and even B2B2C. He’s known as a brand builder, new product developer and a subject matter expert on branding and new product development. His website is www.globalbrandguy.com.