This Is A Crazy Way To Screen New Product Ideas But It Works

the secret to NPD assessmentTo improve the speed and success rate for your New Product Development (NPD) and innovation activities, you need to:

  1. Start with a good idea (customer need)
  2. Successfully develop the solution
  3. Successfully implement the solution

Since there are no guarantees as to which ideas are the “good ones,” the challenge is to evaluate the various ideas and determine which ones we should resource.

You should create an Idea Generation Checklist to help with this assessment.

The secret isn’t filling out an idea generation checklist – it’s step #2: Write an ad

The checklist has four key areas:

1. Description of the Idea

Briefly describe the suggested idea and its benefits.

2. Write an Advertisement

Turn your product innovation into an ad to powerfully share your visionThis is a unique section and the secret to success. As soon as you have an idea, turn it into an ad. Every new idea should start with an ad or a picture.

An ad is the language of marketing. It literally paints a picture. You don’t have anything to talk about until you put your ideas into an ad.

In the act of writing the ad, you force yourself to start developing the idea. What is the main benefit of the product? You can’t write a headline without answering that question. What about name? Package? Main selling points?

This ad isn’t meant to be polished or a test of anyone’s creative or artistic ability. It can be a hand sketch, or a cut & paste from something, it doesn’t matter.

3. Assessment of our Technical and Commercialization Capabilities

This section is a checklist of items. The objective is to estimate of our “Probability of Success” both technical and commercialization, as well as how much effort it will require.

Here’s a way to create an overall evaluation for initial screening.

Commercial                        High       Medium      Low

Probability of Success

Amount of Effort

Cost to Implement

Technical                             High       Medium     Low

Probability of Success

Amount of Effort

Cost to Develop

4. Assessment of Financial Viability

At this early point, the analysis is simplistic: what’s the current market pricing for competitive products. Next determine the margin level need by your customers. Layer in your margin requirements and customer loads to quickly back into a cost target. If it passes the sniff test, there is still a green light at this initial stage.

Turn your innovation concept into an ad to powerfully share your vision

the secret to NPD assessment and, ultimately, commercialization successA picture is worth 1000 words. Nowhere is that more true than when you are trying to powerfully communicate a new product concept.

It articulates the vision of the idea clearly for everyone at the screening stage and sets the stage for a more compelling commercialization.

Good Selling!

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The 5 Top Channel Instincts Posts Of 2014 – As Chosen By You

Street Smart Guy.emfAs 2014 draws to a close, so does the second year that Channel Instincts has been blogging.

Thank you for your continued interest, readership and comments.

But not all of you have been with us for the entire journey and while we have our own favorites, your clicks have let us know which posts struck a chord and were your favorites.

#5: 5 Tips to Succeed with Big Boxes

How to Sell Lowe's and Home DepotMaybe you already sell either Lowe’s or The Home Depot or both. Maybe you eat channel conflict for breakfast. But it’s been my experience that the continuous competitive clash between orange and blue is something that is tough for many manufacturers’ to figure out.

Selling one or both of the home center big boxes is a great way to drive volume. Each, however, works hard to differentiate themselves from one another. That makes it had to sell both of them when you have a commodity category. But it’s still possible to do this without being a major consumer brand.

#4: 4 Steps to Building an Internal Communication Plan

Effective internal communication is critical to your manufacturing successCommunication is critical within any business setting, but most importantly within a manufacturing facilities − where the right communication can really impact change and translate into business success.

What’s the best way to communicate?  How much should you communicate? How do you make sure your messages are heard? This guide will take you step-by-step through the communication process. It has simple, practical, easy-to-follow information you can put to use immediately.

#3: 8 Steps to Building a Customer-Focused Commercialization Strategy

8 Steps to a Commercialization StrategyBefore a commercialization plan can be developed and implemented, it must be driven by an overall commercialization strategy. By taking a strategic approach to your commercialization strategy, you will be better positioned to be successful with your new product launch.

The commercialization strategy should not contain a lot of financial detail or “how to,” but it must be consumer focused and customer centered and not technology focused. A key issue in a commercialization strategy is to set the direction to explore and understand the market. The commercialization strategy must focus on what satisfies the needs of the customer.

#2: Are You Using a 30-60-90 Day Marketing Plan?

Hired candidate had an action planAre you joining a company with big problems?  It may be too cliché, but it probably depends on if you see the glass half empty or half full.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hiring process and your ego can get in the way of asking the right questions.  You may never uncover or, worse, miss the warning signs that would prove that you cannot gain the commitments you’d need to succeed – especially with those critical quick wins that will help you gain credibility and traction with a new employer’s organization.

If you see the opportunity, the alignment and the financial backing, then you should accept that new position but only if you have a plan for success.  If any of those pieces of missing, there’s a good chance that you will fail.

#1: 7 Steps to Writing an Internal Communications Plan

Communication-PlanCommunication is critical within any business setting, but most importantly within a manufacturing facilities − where the right communication can really impact change and translate into business success.

What’s the best way to communicate? How much should you communicate? How do you make sure your messages are heard? This guide will take you step-by-step through the communication process. It has simple, practical, easy-to-follow information you can put to use immediately.

There you are, our top-5 list for 2014.  We hope you’ve enjoyed the posts over the past year, and we invite you to stay in touch in 2015 by following me on TwitterLinkedInSlideshare or Google+.

Good Selling!

Are You Great At Product Development and Lousy At Product Commercialization?

InventionHow often have you heard that innovation and new products are the life blood of a company? Too many times to count.

And who can disagree? Not us. But we also know that the product development process is often woefully inadequate when it comes to product commercialization.

The truth is that companies spend so much time on developing products that they forget that the sales force – and the customer – don’t know what the product is or why they need it. The customer mantra is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” No one wants to be a pioneer, take up valuable shelf space or add inventory.

What good are new products if your commercialization handicaps success?

Slow-SignProduct managers are often focused on the product development process and not the commercialization of their new products. This can leave the sales team out in the cold when it comes to knowing and understanding how to position the new product with customers.

A simple way to overcome this is to create a New Product Introduction—Field Communications Template. This tool will help you develop a robust communication to the field sales team. And not miss any critical details or facts in the process.

What’s In a New Product Introduction—Field Communications Template?

Driving sales New Product Introduction—Field Communications TemplateThis tool is a fact-builder. It is a reminder of what’s necessary to think through all the critical elements a sales person will need to help successfully commercialize your new product. It will help you build a story that will highlight how your new product fits into the marketplace and delivers solutions that your customer is looking for.

A note of caution: It is only part of the commercialization process and not the end of the work you need to do to launch a new product. For more on how to better communicate new products to the sales team, take a look our post “How to Get Knowledge Out of Your Product Manager’s Head and Into the Hands of the Sales Team”.

The template breaks into multiple sections.  Think through each one and put down all the information you can.  Ask yourself, what’s missing – what more do I need to find out to make this a flawless launch.

  1. Product name
    • Trademark
    • Generic name
  2. Product definition – what is the product and what problem does it solve better than anything else in the market today?
  3. Audiences
    • First buyer
    • Second buyer
    • End user
  4. Features/Benefits
    • Features – list the top 5
    • Benefits – list the top 5
  5. Differentiation – outline what sets this product apart in the market
  6. Positioning -=- how have you positioned the product in your offering and for the customer?
  7. Competitive environment – List the top competitors and what their strengths and weaknesses are in this product segment.
    • Competitor A
    • Competitor B
    • Competitor C
  8. Pricing / Value Proposition – Answer the question of “How are you the best economic value?” not just put in your pricing structure
  9. Market/marketing research – What third party insights help support your product
  10. Market size – Know not just the size but what drives the market, too
  11. Social/economic/business environment—market dynamics
  12. Marketing strategies
    • Strategy 1
    • Strategy 2
    • Strategy 3
  13. Packaging
  14. Technical support – 3rd party testing and documentation
  15. Brand identity
  16. Other factors specific to your product or market (regional issues, health & safety, etc.)
  17. Communications elements – pick the tools that drive your marketing strategies and fit you budget
    • Advertising
    • Co-op/Ad elements
    • Distributor/Channel programs
    • Incentives
    • Industry relations
    • Literature
    • Packaging
    • Point-of-sale/Merchandising
    • Presentations
    • Public relations
    • Sales support
    • Samples
    • Social media /website
    • Trade shows
    • Training – and don’t forget the customer service team
    • Trade advertising

CommentsWhat else would you add to make this template even more robust?  Share your thoughts in the comments area so we can all benefit from your perspective.

For more insights on successful product commercialization, see the Channel Instincts posts “Are You Using This Simple Product Commercialization Checklist?” and “8 Steps to Building a Customer-Focused Commercialization Strategy”.

Good Selling!