169: Core Product Testing Stages | Product Startup Podcast

169: Critical Testing Stages in New Product Development

March 31, 2023

With Ryan Margolin, CEO of Professional Hair Labs

Hosted by Kevin Mako, President of MAKO Design + Invent

169: Critical Testing Stages in New Product Development
169: Critical Testing Stages in New Product Development

As the CEO of Professional Hair Labs, a global cosmetic company with a diverse product range and sales exceeding tens of millions of dollars, Ryan Margolin brings over two decades of experience in consumer product sales and marketing, along with a TEDx speaking credential. In this session, Ryan will impart invaluable insights to inventors, startups, and small manufacturers on the essentials of intelligent consumer product testing, covering the various types of product testing at different stages of the development process. He will also provide guidance on how to optimize a pilot manufacturing run to align your brand with your customers and establish a strong market presence.

Today you will hear us talk about:

  • The Marketing Brief outlines the product’s scope.
  • It’s unlikely that any product will appeal to everyone in the market, so it’s crucial to identify the specific problem your solution addresses and the target audience.
  • Determine which tests are necessary for your product.
  • Compliance tests are essential to ensure that your product meets regulatory requirements.
  • Compliance testing serves as a baseline.
  • The reliability of these tests is crucial.
  • You only have one opportunity to make a first impression.
  • Clients expect a high level of reliability, which should be compared to best-in-class quality rather than merely meeting regulatory requirements.
  • Thanks to the increased accessibility of the global market, achieving global sales is now easier than ever before.
  • Conduct a pilot production run to test the product with customers once it has been made as reliable as possible.
  • This phase is critical to ensure that a small group of potential customers can provide feedback.
  • If possible, get paying customers to purchase the product to learn as much as possible.
  • The key difference between successful companies and those that struggle is the effort they put into testing and validating their products before large-scale production.
  • Conducting more testing earlier in the development process can significantly reduce expenses and prevent headaches down the line.


  • 1:20 – Testing in consumer product development specifically for hardware.
  • 1:25 – Testing is an important part of product development, and is something that is either completely overlooked by hardware startups or significantly downplayed vs. its importance.
  • 2:20 – There has to be a process and solid systems in place to allow for rapid expansion of a hardware product brand.
  • 4:30 – Testing is important for a mass-manufactured consumer product that you plan to sell.
  • 5:00 – Where do you start in building out a product development testing process?
  • 5:30 – Start with the solution. What does the market need, or what do your existing customers want? Understanding the goal of your product is the foundation for what you want to test against.
  • 5:35 – A Marketing Brief is a document that you can put together to identify the key claims of your product to your end customer.
  • 6:00 – Consumer hardware product testing has to come back to a central hypothesis or product promise.
  • 7:00 – Benchmark your tests against your marketing brief.
  • 7:30 – Most products that provide a solution to the market, especially as a hardware startup, are not going to speak to everyone, so you should dial in to who precisely the first version of your product attracts. Don’t try and be everything to everyone. Start with an MVP and then build out the brand features and brand promises over time.
  • 9:10 – Seeing your product come to life right before your eyes is quite an enjoyable process.
  • 9:25 – Once you have your marketing brief, you need to figure out what types of product development testing options are relevant to your brand promise.
  • 9:55 – Compliance testing is the certification testing required for a physical hardware consumer product to be allowed by the governing authorities to sell.
  • 10:50 – Reliability testing is a more in-depth degree of internal testing to ensure the hardware product meets the quality standard that you expect for the market.
  • 11:10 – Compliance testing is usually just a baseline, reliability is more stringent.
  • 11:30 – You can sacrifice the number of features your product has, but a hardware startup can never sacrifice the quality of its product.
  • 12:10 – You never get a second chance to make a first impression, this is why quality is so important in hardware.
  • 12:30 – Reliability and quality testing is the hardest part of product development as getting that balance right requires significant testing and analysis. The smallest percentage of adjustments could mean the difference between the success or failure of that part.
  • 12:45 – The good news, is that once you nail reliability and stability, you are over the hurdle of ensuring a very good product.
  • 13:00 – As a hardware startup, think globally about your testing by adhering to stricter standards so that you can sell worldwide to the best markets for your product.
  • 13:30 – It’s easier to access global hardware consumer product markets than ever before.
  • 14:00 – Building your product to a global standard usually requires just a little bit more effort, but leads to significantly more opportunity.
  • 15:00 – Customer testing is the final and most important part of building a long-term consumer product and product brand.
  • 15:30 – After you have developed and tested the product to be as reliable as it can be, you are not yet ready for full mass-scale manufacturing.
  • 15:45 – It is too risky to go straight from final testing into large production, instead of a pilot / short-run manufacturing run to do a small test of your customers.
  • 16:00 – For your pilot production run to test with customers, get as many of those first test customers to pay for your product so that they are giving good quality feedback.
  • 16:30 – Test selling isn’t just great for perfecting your product, but also gives you tremendous ammunition to use in promoting the future sales of your product.
  • 18:00 – Final testing with a small batch of first customers is the key separator between hardware startups that become long terms brands and those that always seem to be struggling along.
  • 18:20 – In fact, if you are trying to save money by cutting out testing, you will pay significantly more both directly and indirectly in the future, let alone astronomical lost opportunity.
  • 16:45 – In general, the earlier you test and the more effort you put into those tests, the significantly less expensive the overall development and manufacturing cost will be.
  • 19:00 – Never cut corners in testing, not only for the costs mentioned above but also because you ruin your company relationships and your brand reputation.


Ryan Margolin Links:
LinkedIn | Professional Hair Labs

The Product Startup Podcast Links:
Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube

PTC Links:
OnShape | Creo

Mako Design Links:
YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Kevin Mako Links:
Instagram | LinkedIn | Quora | Facebook | Twitter

Partner: PTC’s best-in-class software solutions Onshape: The only cloud-native product development platform that delivers full-featured computer-aided design (CAD), integrated product data management (PDM) and enterprise analytics in a single system, and Creo: 3D CAD solution that provides designers with the most innovative tools to build better products faster, such as generative design, additive manufacturing, real-time simulation, IIoT, and augmented reality.