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What Is the Product Development Process?

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  • 0:03 Product Development Process
  • 0:19 Opportunity Identification
  • 1:11 Product Design
  • 1:47 Market Testing
  • 2:29 Market Introduction
  • 2:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
You have to develop a product before you can sell it, right? In this lesson, you'll learn about the product development process in four steps. Learn what it takes to go from an idea to market.

Product Development Process

Product development is a process whereby a business identifies an opportunity in the market for a product and then designs, tests, and introduces the product to the market. Based on this information, the product development process can be broken down into four steps.

Opportunity Identification

The first step in the process is opportunity identification. At this step, scan the environment to determine what unfulfilled needs or desires are in the marketplace. Ideas can also come from employees, managers, customers, suppliers, research and development departments, and even your competitors. You need to carefully define your market at this stage to set the scope of the market and to determine your competition. A market can be defined by customer needs, demographics, price, and product type, among other criteria. For example, you may define your market as sport cars for males aged 35-55 with annual gross incomes of at least $75,000 and living in the United States. Finally, you must carefully analyze these opportunities to determine if they're feasible and useful in helping your company achieve its objectives.

Product Design

The second step is product design. The core concept with product design is to have a clear understanding of the needs and wants of the target consumer for the product. Then, design the product around those needs and wants while attempting to differentiate your product from competing products. The design will be evaluated, often refined, and modified. Product design also includes developing a marketing strategy to support the introduction of the new product into the market. Product design usually is a collaborative process involving different parts of the company, including marketing, research and development, and production.

Market Testing

The next step in the product development process is testing. After a product has been fully developed, it's time for a pre-market test. Here, you will perform some test marketing by introducing the new product to a limited number of customers or to limited geographical areas. For example, you may send the product out to a small, select group of customers who agree to use the product and provide feedback. This is called beta testing. You can also introduce the product to selective geographic areas of your total market, such as a few cities. You may take what you learn from the test marketing and send the product back to the design phase for modifications, or you may determine that the product is ready for the market.

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