i3 - May/June 2020 - 40

Business

By Robert Heiblim

but their focus nets them the bulk of
profits in their field.

CT R E P O RTS

Going to
Market

O

ur industry introduces many amazing, evolutionary,
revolutionary and sometimes, odd or even outlandish
products and services each
year. Sadly, a large portion of
these new offerings, well over
60%, will not survive. That is
a poor batting average considering how much
time, effort and
money it takes to create a new technology,
device or service.

40

MAY/JUNE 2020

i3_0520_Business_CTReports_GoingToMarket.indd 40

There are many reasons for this, such
as simply a bad product or idea, not
enough funding, healthier competition and better products. When working with companies, I find asking a
few questions, reveals lots of information. My batting average on this
insight is high, so I hope it is helpful
for you to consider.
I always ask two basic questions
(and often many more): "Who is this
product for?" and "How are you taking
this to market?" How these questions
are answered, and many times if they
are not answered, tells a lot.
For the first question the answer too
often is, "We are not sure yet" or "We
didn't do the research on that"
or the worst response, "For
everyone." The problem with
these answers is they are going
in blind, so they don't know
what to do, or how to measure
and adjust. If you answer for
everyone, then recognize that
the largest firms in the world
do not do that. Walmart knows
its customers; they overlap but are not
duplicated at Amazon or Best Buy.
Apple does not try to sell to everyone,

When addressing how to go to market it
is much the same. We are told "We have
a website", "We are selling on Amazon"
or "We will figure it out." None of these
responses is a plan. Even worse, it seems
clear no one engaged with the rest of the
company to assure success. Ask sales
teams who complain of being delivered
goods and services without considering
the costs of retail or other partnerships
that often are mis-priced or mis-featured. How about finance who likely
asked for profit projections to approve
the project, but then are hit with unexpected costs and time delays that were
not considered or prepared for.
The time for planning needs to start at
conception. When the Product Initiation
Document (PID) is prepared, that is the
time to get research going, finance
reviewing, sales commenting and committing, and of course support from
management. Without a 360° view of
how to succeed the likelihood of success
is much lower. Do you have a plan or
process in place to mitigate the impacts
and improve your new product development (NPD) average success?
The impact of not doing this work
ahead of time can be immense. Please
consider that letting the "invisible hand"
of the market adjust things like selling
price, available margins, marketing costs,
and other items can take a product from
profit to a large loss easily. The time to
learn that is not when you have inventory
in your possession. We have plenty of
observable examples of this from firms
large and small. We have seen large writedowns and losses, closures and upset
investors. The first step is to recognize
that bringing new products to market is a
total company effort and requires participation by all sectors of a firm.

Get Buy In First

This means having a process in place
from the inception of a product idea.
Yes, it is hard to make a new product,

Harry Campbell/The iSpot

Make a Plan

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

5/7/20 1:54 PM



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