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Product development is a crucial step in building a company that will produce top sales. Through the years, innovation has been at the core of creating successful business models or new products. The question you must ask yourself is, “How can I tell if my product will satisfy customer needs in innovative ways that lead to effective marketplace performance?
Let us first analyze the characteristics of a “perfect product”. From a customer standpoint, it must fulfill a need or a want, and it must either attract a niche market or have mass–market appeal. In the mid-1990’s, the hospitality industry was suffering from low profits, and company executives were starting to worry. Although most were feeling the pressure, the Courtyard by Marriott chain gained niche market appeal by targeting cost-conscientious business travelers over high-end globetrotters–dramatically putting them ahead of their competitors. Other important qualities of a “perfect product” include: at least a 2:1 markup (5:1 or higher is optimal), a high perceived value, the ability to be replenished or repurchased by the customer often, and the ability to be easily upsold and cross-sold.
Now that we have a good foundation of what constitutes a successful product, examine the factors that make up your creation or manufactured good, and ask yourself these questions:
<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>Is the product effective and does it exemplify high quality?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>Does the product enhance pleasure, improve utility, or decrease pain?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>Must the product be reordered?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>Can the back-end of the product be easily developed?
A new product is only as good as its on-going product management. A fundamental principle, which business owners should never lose sight of, is the ability to listen to customers. Within iContact we constantly seek data through customer focus groups, surveys, and feedback forms within the web site and application. Taking that information and weaving it into a formal iteration process, iContact can create a formal product wish list, use tracking tools to monitor our progress, and initiate bug tracking tools to identify and fix problems in new product releases.
I hope you find this information useful in creating and managing your next great product. I will be back in a few days to talk more about email marketing tips and advice.