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Product development – how to think

The other day when I got busy around the house with the vacuum cleaner, I soon started thinking about why they make the cords so short. I believe that since all vacuum cleaners are probably equally good, I would certainly consider purchasing a vacuum cleaner with twice the length of a cord (as a single argument). And soon I started wondering why no one sells a soft kind of foam strip that you can stick to the vacuum cleaner nozzle so you won't keep banging up furniture and damage paint or the paint on the bars as well. I also think they should make the wheels bigger and smoother to make the vacuum cleaner move better.

Then, of course, SHE, the woman of my life, showed up and wondered why I was sitting next to the vacuum cleaner instead of vacuuming. Product development”, I wanted to say, but she didn't seem to be in the mood for that kind of discussion, so today I'm going to talk to you about it instead.

Product development = The hunt for customer benefits
Many companies spend lots of time to refine their products. Good. But is it really safe to assume that the customers appreciate the sophistication so much that they want to pay for it?

Sit down right now and make a list of the top five reasons why customers buy from your company (what are the reason, do you think?) Invite some clients for lunch and ask them the same thing. Compare their reflections with you own thoughts. Surprised? Some customers may say they trust that you will deliver on time - your product is not important in this case. Others say that it's always nice to be in contact with you - same thing here, your product is not important in itself. They may like your service, your location and lots of other things that have nothing to do with the product.

But when the product is important, it's also important that you think about what you should do to be first in line when a customer wants to buy.

1. Ask yourself - what do your competitors offer?
Make a list of what the competition is offering and set it against what you offer, add the things that you're willing to start offering and your competitive advantage is clear.

2. Don't be sentimental with discontinued products
Whatever sells - sells. A dedicated product developer chooses the products that sell best and expands them. And also offers several versions of them. If the green is selling well, then make a blue and a red, too.

3. Work hard to create completions
Whatever is missing - sells. Look for products that are related to your best selling products. Also look for services that are related to your products to sell even more.

4. Change the conditions with different selections
If you sell a product, can you re-package it in a different way? Can you sell more in the same package? Even if you sell services, there are ways to offer multiple choices. It may be that instead of offering the service as a one-off, maybe you can sign agreements on giving the customer a follow-up once a month and so on. THINK! The larger the sample is, the broader the electoral situation, the easier it is for the customer to buy (and the seller to sell).

5. Develop marketing
Everyone show their advantages in marketing, but guerrilla entrepreneurs show you the advantages that only they can offer. Many of today's products and services are so similar that the only difference between them is the marketing, the way they are presented. Never forget that.


About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
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