Strategic Marketing: Product Development and Innovation
Your customer’s wants, needs, and goals are like shifting sands; the marketplace drift is constant, and to maintain sales and increase market share, a healthy company must continually develop new products and services.
First, it is essential notice the drift and develop a plan to capture it as an opportunity. What is drift? “A continuous slow movement from one place to another” according to the dictionary.This is evident in direct marketing, from direct mail letters to email to “drip” campaigns that happen automatically. As you become aware of changes in your industry, note them and see where you can create a new product that adapts to these changes.
Be sure to plan for Product, Place, Price, and Promotion, the 4 Ps of Marketing:
- What is the product?
- Where do people buy and consume it?
- How much will they spend for it?
- Where do they get their information?
For instance, if you are in the restaurant business, you may notice the shift away from carbs and processed foods to paleo or protein -rich diets. You can begin planning a few menu items to serve that market. Become aware of the concerns of that group of eaters, what they like to eat, how much they spend on food and snacks, the type of entertainment they prefer, and where they workout.
The next step is to create the service or product. Again the restaurant can develop a fresh interpretation of many new food combinations that meet the “no carb” condition. Develop three levels of service or “bundles” of products and name them in a thematic way. Paleo meals, snacks, and food items can be named like dinosaurs and paleolithic events and people. T-Rex burger with a fennel tea for lunch or the Cro Mignon Steak.
Develop approximate cost to produce and a dollar amount of value to the end user–this helps frame the size and number of units. Then create a projected profit and loss to get an idea of how many and what type you will need to sell for the product to be successful.
Innovation and product development is a crucial business activity. No matter your industry, take the time to notice and plan so you can continue to be successful.