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Understand the relative importance of each step in the new offering development process and the functions within each step. Distinguish between the various forms of testing and analysis that take place before a new offering is brought to the market. Many companies, HP and Apple included, were launched in someonea€™s garage after the founders got an idea for a product and then tried to make and sell it.
Customers are particularly important cocreators of offerings when they are consuming products with service components.
Campbella€™s creates many new products, including varieties of their Pace products, that may result from working with their suppliers. FigureA 7.5, a€?New Offering Ideasa€? shows some product ideas that came from each of the sources we have discusseda€”employees, customers, suppliers, and onea€™s competitors.
Keep in mind that idea generation is typically the least expensive step in the process of developing a new offering, whether you involve customers or not. Better idea screening might have helped Coca-Cola avoid the problems it encountered marketing its a€?New Cokea€? formula. The purpose of idea screening is to try to avoid mistakes early in the development process. Because screening considers the feasibility of actually making and servicing an offering, price and cost are important components. Quality function deployment (QFD)quality function deployment (QFD)A specific process for designing new offerings that begins by specifying a customera€™s requirements and then designing a product to meet those needs. In the development stage, the actual offering is designed, specifications for it are written, and prototypes of it are developed. During the testing stage, the offering is tested, first in the lab and then with real customers. Simultaneous to testing the offeringa€™s ability to meet its specs, the company is also developing and testing the marketing communication plan that will be used to launch the product. Some companies test the complete launch of a producta€™s marketing plan to ensure that it reaches buyers, gets positive feedback, and generates sales of the product or service. Most companies put new offering ideas through a seven-step process, beginning with the idea generation stage. Once the outline project brief is established with you, we will be able to specify the project's scope (skills required & activities) in more detail. Click on the thumbnail image (opposite) to view a detailed flowchart illustrating the typical Outline project stages (and milestone review points). Please see my MRD binder for good variety of resources on how to write a market requirements document. Although the size of a company will affect how the different stages of their new product development process are conducted and whether products are test marketed before being introduced, the steps are generally the same.
HPa€™s first product was an audio oscillator that two Stanford University students developed. At Motorola, engineers are working on a mobile phone that can be recharged by rubbing it on smooth surface. In fact, in business-to-business (B2B) markets, customers are probably the biggest source of new product ideas.
For example, if you provide your hairdresser with feedback while your hair is being cut, your input will alter the final style you receive. A supplier might develop a new product or technology that can be used to make yet another product, and then go to the makers of those products and suggest new versions of them. As you move through the product development process, each step is usually more expensive than the last.
Famous product blunders include Ford Motor Companya€™s Edsel, Clear Pepsi, and Coca-Colaa€™s New Coke.
Concept testingconcept testingPresenting an idea for an offering (including possible marketing communication ideas) to consumers for their reaction early in the offering development process. If the company cannot sell the product in sufficient quantities to generate a profit, the idea must be scrapped. Process feasibilityprocess feasibilityThe degree to which the manufacturing of a product or the delivery of a service can be done within the proper quality specifications on a repeatable basis; the degree to which an organization can actually make and service an offering.
The history of business is rife with examples of companies failing to develop winning new products only to see their competitors do so.
The first is investment riskinvestment riskThe potential of losing onea€™s money and time should a new offering fail., or the possibility that the company will fail to earn the appropriate return on the money and effort (the investment) it puts into the new product.
Again, price enters the picture as the company considers which features are important to consumers at different price points. The QFD process has been particularly helpful when it comes to bundling the right features within the HPa€™s printer line because each printer model can be targeted to specific customer needs.

It is also during this stage that the firm considers the producta€™s manufacturing process.
Lab testing is also called alpha testingalpha testingThe testing of a product in a laboratory setting.. During beta testingbeta testingThe testing of a product by real customer in the customera€™s location., actual customers make sure the offering works under real-world conditions. The developer of the product needs a strong relationship with these customers because the product might still have bugs that need to be ironed out. Many companies involve consumer panels or user communities, both for testing the offering and the communication plan. This is called a market testmarket testThe test launch of a producta€™s complete marketing plan to ensure that it reaches buyers, gets positive reactions, and generates sales of the product..
You have probably heard about the a€?box officea€? sales for new movies the first weekend following their release.
Ideas for new offerings can come from anywhere including onea€™s customers, employees, customers, suppliers, and competitors. While there was some debate, Applea€™s Macintosh microcomputer appeared to be a low-cost knockoff of the Xerox Star, a software-equipped workstation.
His idea was to use the wheels of the roller blades to generate electricity to charge a cell phone or MP3 player.
Customers know what customers need and want, which provides organizations an indication of market needs. Similarly, a businessperson who provides her certified public accountant (CPA) with information and feedback about her firm will help the CPA develop better financial and tax plans for her business.
However, many new ideas (and consequently new products) arena€™t actually new but rather are versions of products and services already available. Ideas for new products are relatively cheap and easy to generate; what is difficult and expensive is making them a reality. Understanding the customera€™s personal value equation (defined in ChapterA 1, What Is Marketing?) is an important consideration, too. For example, when the inventor Chester Carlson approached IBM executives with the idea of photocopyinga€”the technology platform that later became the heart of Xerox Corporationa€”they turned Carlson down. The second is opportunity riskopportunity riskThe potential loss of revenue a company risks when it chooses an alternative course of action such as launching a different offering., or the risk that there is a better idea that gets ignored because the firm has invested in the idea at hand.
The benefits are linked to certain characteristics of the offering, which are then broken down into component-part characteristics. Customers can then purchase the model that best suits their needs and doesna€™t have a bunch of features that dona€™t add value for them. For example, when a restaurant is developing a new dish, it must not only taste good; it must also be a dish that can be made in a reasonable amount of time once ita€™s ordered and prepared at a cost that earns the restaurant a profit. Alpha testing ensures that the offering works like ita€™s supposed to in a variety of different environmentsa€”that it meets its specifications, that is.
Beta testing not only tests whether the offering works as advertised but also tests the offeringa€™s delivery mechanisms, service processes, and other aspects of marketing the product.
If the relationship between the parties is a€?iffy,a€? and the product or service needs a significant amount of changes, beta testing could damage the relationship between the two parties and hurt the developer of the producta€™s sales.
As we mentioned, JCPenney solicits the advice of a user community for its Ambrielle line of lingerie (you can listen to Laura Carros, who developed the community, in ChapterA 14, Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty, and Empowerment).
Other companies may use a rolling launchrolling launchIntroducing a new offering across markets one by one in order to work out any challenges or problems related to marketing and supporting the offering. The next step in the process is the idea screening stage, followed by the feature specifications, development, testing, and launching stages.
He wondered if a small generator could be created to capture and store the energy generated by rollerblade wheels. Customers who are good at generating new product ideas or applications of products are called lead userslead usersPotential customers who are innovative and develop new applications or new products for their own use without the aid of a supplier.. There are, however, different ways to achieve the same results as Apple has with its iPhone.
A line extensionline extensionA new idea or offering that occurs when a company comes out with another model (related product or service) based on the same platform and brand as one of its other products. The phonea€™s large size, large buttons, and large screen screamed a€?Ia€™m old and blind!a€? leading potential users to shun it in droves. The purpose is to get early consumer feedback before investing too much money in an offering that wona€™t work. If the value consumers receive from the product is less than the price the company charges for it, they will not buy it. Process feasibility affects financial feasibilityfinancial feasibilityA new offeringa€™s ability to make money..

IBM did not see the product fitting with its strategy and stopped before they fully considered the potential.
By contrast, a low-priced offering is likely to be a a€?bare-bonesa€? product with few features.
In terms of a manufacturera€™s offerings, using the same technology platform as another product (like Apple has done with iPods) can be very effective and cheaper.
For example, Kraft might launch a new food product that has to work in hot climates, cold climates, high humidity, dry climates, and high altitudesa€”all conditions that can change how well the product works.
The company frequently runs concepts by the group as well as sends actual prototypes to users to try on and report back to the company. For example, when one beverage maker tested the marketing plan for a new wine cooler, the firm first launched the product on the east coast, where the beverage was promoted as a a€?Polynesiana€? drink; on the west coast, the beverage was promoted as an a€?Australiana€? drink. If the ticket sales for it are high during the first weekend, a studioa€™s executives might decide to beef up the promotions for it.
This idea, in turn, led to the development of a small roller ball (like you would find on an old-style computer mouse) built into the mobile phone. The Omnia, manufactured by Samsung, and the G1, a T-Mobile product, are devices similar to the iPhone that operate with software serving the same purpose. If the producta€™s costs cannot be controlled when ita€™s being made or serviced, the firma€™s financial goals wona€™t be met. When it is assessing feasibility (both financial and process), it is assessing its investment risk. Thus, the feature specifications process begins with a strong understanding of what consumers want and need. Using the same platform also generally makes it easier for a company to train its technicians to service a new product. Depending on the product, some companies might find it better to simply launch the product and let the market respond to, or test, it once it is available for purchase.
Similarly, the data warehousing company Teradata has a a€?partnersa€? organization that consists of a community of users who participate in the firma€™s product design and testing. The Polynesian version proved more popular, so in other new markets, thata€™s how the beverage was advertised and packaged.
If the ticket sales for the movie are low, the studio might stop screening the movie in theaters altogether and release it on DVD instead. A company must balance an offeringa€™s investment risk (the risk associated with losing the time and money put into developing the offering) against the offeringa€™s opportunity risk (the risk associated with missing the opportunity to market the product and profit from it).
Focus groups and depth interviews are research techniques that can also be used later in the offering development process to test ideas, or for other purposes.
Other risk-related questions include whether or not the offering can be developed on time and within budget. The company makes the offering available to one market after the first batch of its employees are prepared to service the product; then as new batches of employees are prepared to service the product, the company enters more markets. For other types of offerings, important milestones might be the first ninety days after the product is launched, followed by a second period of ninety days, and so forth. JCPenney, for example, utilizes a panel of women who help develop the companya€™s Ambrielle line of lingerie products. Focus groups working virtually on the Web and by phone actually helped to develop this textbook. For example, many manufacturers make great-looking faucets, yet one of your authors had to have the a€?gutsa€? of one faucet replaced three times before it would work, only to find two other friends had the same experience with the same model. Assessing a producta€™s feasibility continues throughout the entire new product development process. However, be aware that firms are constantly in the process of evaluating their offerings and modifying them by either adding or subtracting the features and services associated with them, changing their prices, or how they are marketed. Concepts may also be tested online by creating an image and having people representative of the target market provide feedback.
The length of time for milestones used to evaluate products may vary depending on the organization and other products or services being developed. Whether using focus groups, depth interviewing, or online methods, concepts must be evaluated by people representative of the target market or the feedback is not relevant.

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