The product development process is like a storybook. It contributes to just the opening chapter, however, it’s incredibly important for it to achieve its duties well enough to allow the concept and the first draft of the product development cycle to flourish. The outcome can play an effect on the ability to capture and hold the attention of your audience and the value of marketing the product to be on a larger-scale publication. If you would like to learn more about the umbrella stages of product development and the in-depth details of each of the product development phases, keep flipping the page.
What is Product Development?
Product development or NPI (New Product Introduction) refers to the requisite preparatory processes inventors, startups, and manufacturers must conduct to create a product and successfully launch it into the market. Alternatively, the product development process can also be used for redeveloping a product that has already been conceived but requires modification to remain useful.
Understanding the product development process will elevate your ability to connect with the targeted audience, visualize a new product, complete the pre-production groundwork, guide the launch, and leverage consumer feedback.
Many industries use the product development phases in their respective specializations. This includes engineering, manufacturing, product marketing, and so much more!
The Stages of Product Development
Each industry and design firm often has its own unique process. However, the general frameworks of the process include these 7 steps:
Stage 1: Ideation
The idea behind product development is having the ability to provide a solution to a problem that is currently happening in the market. Often, an idea can actually stem from wanting some sort of elevation. It can be based on factors such as:
- Substituting plastics with biodegradable materials.
- Combining the functions of a laptop into a smaller compact tablet.
- Adapting the design of a bag to be able to fit dividers for more space and organization.
- Modifying an extensive skincare line into a simple routine.
- Placing the idea of boxers into another use, such as a line for women who want to feel more comfortable.
- Eliminate the cord of the headphones.
- Revolutionize a dog toy that has the capability of never being able to rip quickly.
Through this, you will be able to start forming a tree-like chart that can help open doors to start the process of exploring other important facets of that industry.
Stage 2: Research
Product Validation is a series of questions that need to be solved through market research and is an incredibly important step of the product development process.
The first one would be to investigate if the product will circulate enough interest to gain profit and traction. Not to mention, if there is already a product that features similar troubleshooting attributes. You can do this by using tools and mediums such as:
- Employing artificial intelligence to better understand trends happening in that market
- Develop online surveys or focus groups
- Launch a crowdfunding campaign
- Curate a soft launch marketing strategy
- Networking events
On top of that, it’s important to use platforms like Upvoty. You will have the ability to form an organized space to receive user feedback and update consumers on the progress along the way.
Stage 3: Planning
Just like providing a preface in a novel, creating a roadmap can be advantageous when prepping for the prototype. The main points to include are the product vision, strategy, requirements, product plan, markers, and metrics. Also, you will be able to break down goals, material for stakeholders, important functionality requirements for the consumers, and checkpoints to keep everyone in the loop, and measure all elements evenly.
Additionally, you can bring back earlier sketches and add details. For example, an elevated phone sketch may include finer details such as predicted dimensions and notes about material finishings. This is incredibly important to add as you can start forming an idea regarding retail prices and categorization. You can form deeper questions such as “Will my product be a sustainable invention?” or “Will my product need sensitive formulas?” Remember to also keep in mind what your packaging and labels will need and look like as well.
Stage 4: Prototype
The prototype’s job is to form a complete product that can assist in sampling for the mass production phase. Prototyping often requires experimenting with many different versions of the product. The prototype will have the ability to assist in withdrawing the various options planned and tweak improvements that are longstanding. Additionally, you can also perform testing an MVP, minimum viable product during this phase as well. The purpose of the MVP is to be able to showcase the functionality to clients early on and of course, implement their feedback during the product development process early on.
At this phase, it’s also incredibly important to consult or work with a product development firm like MAKO. We will be able to implement our expertise to ensure you will be given a successful end-to-end experience. For example, we use state-of-the-art 3D CAD technology to highlight aesthetics and utility. Not to mention, employing full manufacturing top-of-the-line software such as Solidworks Premier or Fustion360 on top of that. This allows us to execute the design and engineering process smoothly and simplifies the transition to product manufacturing.
Stage 5: Funding
There are a few ways you can accumulate funding for your invention. This includes:
- Kickstart, Indiegogo, and Patreon
- Business Incubators
However, at MAKO, we are a fee-for-service company. This means we only charge for the services that are provided, not to mention, clients keeping 100% of the intellectual property. Each service has fermented the ability to create elite and modern caliber products while executing quick and efficient designs on a smaller budget. We pride ourselves in the uniqueness of our approach so you can keep worries and costs low.
Stage 6: Product Launch
When it comes to launching a product, there isn’t simply one way to do it. There are three different types of launches that need a little investigating during the stages of product development. This allows you to see which would be best for the product:
- Soft Launch: This common strategy is often used to release a product ahead of its actual launch schedule as a dry run or simply through B2B (Business To Business) for a smaller audience to take notice.
- Minimal Launch: In this case, minimal launches are employed for products that are on a smaller scale and or gradual adjustments within the product development phases. It is like your introduction to society.
- Full-scale Launch: For this sector, the target audience will be reached to its fullest capabilities. You will be executing each stage more meticulously.
Stage 7: Marketing
In this day and age, the world of marketing is right at our fingertips, literally. Your product and the product development process will really be able to optimize its potential through the amount of multi-channel engagement and publicity. This can include:
- Press Releases: It’s important to draft a press release announcing your product and including the unique solutions it will be bringing to your market. You can reach out to boutique and macroscale media outlets and or recruit a public relations consultant to really push potential leads further.
- Content Marketing: Through content marketing, you can strategize SEO blog posts, email newsletters, guest features, and so much more to encourage the daily flow of new and loyal audiences to your website and channels.
- Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with industry giants and trendsetters can be very rewarding in terms of building a following, a well as organic referrals. You can send out PR packages, host synergetic giveaways, campaigns for brand ambassadors, and more.
- Launch Events: There are a few types of launch events that you can host. It can be your own in-store event, a partnership with a local space, or even virtually through a live streaming platform.
The Product Development Process: Frequently Asked Questions
What are the product development phases?
There are 7 main stages of the product development process. This includes ideation, research, planning, prototyping, funding, product launch, and marketing.
How can I get a product developed?
First and foremost, it’s crucial to work with a top-caliber team like MAKO throughout all stages of product development. Our design team is mid to senior designers with Fortune 500 product company backgrounds. This includes Dell, Nike, Bose, Boeing, and others.
Is it expensive to go through the product development process?
Here at MAKO, our clients are always guaranteed to receive a high-quality product that surpasses modern standards at a low cost. Not to mention, a quicker turnover and a strong alliance between all stakeholders. This has ultimately allowed us to stay at the top of the industry and create award-winning products for inventors, startups, and small businesses alike.
As one new chapter opens and the product development process closes, it’s also important to have check-ins with your product design phases even after launching to ensure you are still en route to achieving your goals. This can set you up for yet another sequel.
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!