Why Research is the Key First Step In Product Development

Why Research is the Key First Step In Product Development


Before You Develop or Design Your Product, Do Your Research 

If you’ve ever met an inspiring inventor, you’ve probably noticed something about their process. They have a personal insight into a product idea – and they’re incredibly excited about it. They’re certain they’ve had a “eureka moment” for a product idea that will make them millions. 

The problem with these inventors is their focus is entirely on their product itself. They’re certain they have a superior concept, but they have no data that shows a viable target audience has a need or desire for it. 

In other words, they’re just assuming people will actually buy their product. 

That’s a dangerous assumption, but it’s not just one that amateur inventors make. Many businesses developing new products do more or less the same thing. 

Today’s Consumers Do Know What They Want 

Aspiring inventors make assumptions about their product ideas because they’re inexperienced and often a bit naive. The same can’t be said for company executives. 

The problem key decision-makers usually have is one of outdated thinking. They’re working under the old paradigm of “consumers don’t know what they want until we show them.” 

However, a paradigm shift occurred in the last few decades, mainly as a result of the internet and digital culture.  

In short, digitally empowered consumers do know what they want, often in highly specific terms. People today have access to vast amounts of information and insight into not only product lines, but also brands themselves. Most consumers today engage in extensive research before committing to a purchase. The internet transformed everyone into methodical buyers.

To develop a product that will sell, you need to understand how consumers are formulating opinions and making purchase decisions. You have to research their research patterns. You must understand the market so you know what comparisons they’re making.  

You need to analyze and be honest about the competition you’re facing, and consider the timing of your product launch into the target market. 

Instinct is useful and should be considered, but in today’s markets it’s no substitute for research.

The Empty Chair

It’s worth it to take a cue from the most successful business in the digital era, Amazon. 

In Amazon’s early days, Jeff Bezos conducted meetings with an empty chair – literally. One chair would be unoccupied at the conference room table. 

However, figuratively, the most important person in the room sat in this chair. That person was the Amazon customer. 

Every idea the group had would be run by the persona in the empty chair. If there was something they didn’t like about it, the idea would be refined or dropped. 

This set the pattern of relentless customer-focus that is the basis for Amazon’s success. 

Today, being customer-centric is a business imperative. The way Millennials and other digital natives engage with brands allows for a level of customer insight that was impossible in the past. 

This changed the product development research process. The days of making unilateral decisions based on a belief that we can tell consumers what they want are over. Today, we have to understand consumers on a granular level and use that understanding as a basis for product development research. 

The Jett Approach 

Colorado-based product development and design firm Jett Development Group has a holistic, immersive, innovative approach. This begins with extensive market, consumer, and competitor research. 

Fortunately, we can often get a direct start because we tend to be consumers of the products we develop. Living in Colorado gives us an exceptional opportunity to understand, test, and use products for active lifestyles. We know activities like motocross, snowmobiling, hiking, cycling, and climbing not just as a product development team, but as enthusiastic consumers. 

But that’s just a leg up. We join with you in gaining wisdom about your target audience and strategic insight into your competition. We analyze market trends to help determine the timing of your product launch. 

We realize that for every new product, there is an empty chair. We have to fill it with knowledge about the persona who sits there. We’ll consider everything from lifestyle choices to buying tendencies so we can create a product they’re motivated to buy.  

This research impacts our design approach and, ultimately, gives you the highest probability of success. 

Do you have a new product concept you think is ready for design considerations but still needs further consumer and market research? If you do, then it’s the perfect time to team-up with Jett Development Group. We look forward to researching your product’s path to success.