How to Keep Product Development on Track Using a Data-Driven Model
Product development teams are up against a lot of pressure in today’s consumer-driven markets. Timelines are short, sourcing issues continue, trends are always changing, and customers have high expectations. These realities often lead to product development challenges that can stand in the way of creating exceptional products.
But as the market has become faster-paced and more demanding, technologies have risen to the challenge. Product development teams are increasingly relying on data-driven models reliant on fast and flexible tools to make each stage of the product development process more efficient, effective, and predictive.
In this post, we’ll explore common product development challenges and look at how each can be addressed using data collected from a pre-market Voice of the Customer solution built for the product development process.
Identifying and Validating Market Opportunities
Ideating products that will be successful in the market is in part based on instinct and intuition – after all, you know your market and what products have been hits in the past, and you have a feel for where trends are going in the future. But product ideation should also be based on data-backed evidence of the buying habits, participation in interests and activities and, ultimately, the trajectory of your target customer segments.
By kicking off your product development process with deeper, product-centric data from your customers, you can identify the right product direction, right away. At this stage, a concept testing survey engaging your target customers is distributed to generate actionable feedback on interest and demand.
For the most effective product concept surveys that produce valuable, actionable data, a product feedback platform will feature surveys that are:
- Built into your product testing platform, so you only need one connected environment for every phase of your product testing process.
- Able to accurately target relevant consumers who represent your exact customers – all within the platform.
- Fast and easy to create and deploy and feature analysis tools so you can apply your findings to your product development process.
Validate your hypotheses about the market’s appetite for your product with a targeted product concept testing survey that returns valuable data quickly and easily.
Once complete, you’ve not only moved through the first major product development challenge, but you’ve built a strong data-based foundation for ongoing product ideation work. Plus, with customer feedback and market insights under your belt, you’ll know if your product can compete in a competitive market where others are fighting continuously to gain share.
Optimizing or Updating Key-Item and Core Styles
Even your top products eventually need some sort of refresh to ensure they continue to meet the changing needs and tastes of consumers. Keeping up with these trends and making informed product decisions are often challenges that prevent product development teams from making a potentially massive return on an existing style – and with minimal investment.
Here, product testing platforms allow you to effectively gather product-centric feedback from your customers through multiple feedback channels, including:
- Product testing surveys
- Product testing photos and videos
- Detailed tester activity logs
- Product heat-mapping, and more
If a customer doesn’t like the way a glove feels, make sure you’re getting the full story about why – and what they would like to see improved.
There is almost always room to reinvent top products, and with the right data from a purpose-built product testing platform, you can extend product lifecycles significantly with modest investments of time and effort.
Connecting Teams Across Your Organization
Those ultimately responsible for the launch (and success) of a product often work separately in silos. Much of the time, these teams are even separated from the adjacent departments also playing a role in the product development lifecycle at different but connected stages. When product testing data analysis and reporting are designed to be shared, cross-functional collaboration is accelerated and more effective.
Product testing platforms can act as a centralized, connecting source of truth to provide all appropriate stakeholders with the data and information they need for their direct contributions to the product creation process. This type of operational enhancement usually connects concept testing and product testing processes across your organization as needed, so everyone is on the same page from ideation to launch.
Innovating Within Product Creation
Brands continue to look for ways to bring more product and experience innovation to the market, but establishing an innovative product creation process can be an opportunity for improvement – and there are a few key reasons why:
- Customer feedback that could spur new or updated products is never collected or analyzed because product development teams believe they already know what the customer will want next.
- Companies are using a patchwork of legacy product testing technologies that don’t efficiently provide access to real-time customer feedback and data.
- Product development teams are too focused on a single phase of the development process while neglecting other critical steps.
If your organization has gaps in its product creation process that are hampering the ability to be innovative or identify opportunities, it’s worth taking a closer look at your ability to capture Voice of the Customer data before products launch.
There will always be tensions in product creation, but don’t sell your products short by falling to common roadblocks that can be resolved with the right product testing platform. Access to a vast tester community, valuable and relevant feedback from actual customers, and a streamlined product development process across departments are possible through product testing platforms like MESH01. Don’t risk product success – let’s connect.