Good morning readers!
I thought of something today as I was driving that I would like to share with you all. My background is in Mechanical Engineering and Sales and Marketing so when I look at product development I am typically using logic to define how a potential product will satisfy a gap in the current product offering. In other words, by analyzing the final consumers “needs” and “tendancies” I can better design the product so that it is what is referred to as “fit-for-purpose”.
What I have learned over the past couple of years is that while functionality is critical to the overall success and durability of a product, buyers more often than not will choose a product that is also asthetically pleasing to the eye. This comes as no surprise really as we know that good Industrial Design is also key to the successful longevity and impact on the market.
So what does all of this mean? Let me explain by a series of questions you should ask yourself before embarking on the PD journey.
1) Who is the target audience (consumer)?
2) What is the problem that is being addressed with the propsed product idea?
3) What are the existing products on the market?
4) How are these products failing to address the defined market gap?
5) What are the decision factors the consumer uses to choose a product (i.e., weight, shape, size, color, simplicity, etc,…)?
6) What is the budget thresholds (not just the high limit but the preceived low value)?
While these are not the end-all, be-all list of questions but, they more often than not will shed some light on the direction you need to be going in. What you will find is that questions 1 through 4 will be defining the customer and problem while 5 and 6 will help in creating needs analysis. The final question I wrote above about budget is an interesting one. You may immediately think that the purpose of this type of question is to define the maximum amount of money the consumer is willing to part ways with in order to solve the problem or market gaps. This is only partially true. Planning to price an item as the lowest in the space will also be trouble. You must think about your product as highly valuable in terms of addressing a need and then pricing it accordingly. We refer to this as “Value Pricing”.
Question 5 is where good Industrial Design comes in handy. To make a product functional is one thing but also making it attractive and sexy, this is what differentiates 2 products through the eyes of the consumer. If you lack an artistic eye for design, it would be well worth consulting with an Industrial Designer to have them help make your product most widely accepted by the final consumer.
These are just some things to be thinking about when you start to develop that next great invention idea.
As always, please share your comments with the world by posting a question below.