Product Planning Fundamentals You Should Know
For businesses to stay relevant and thrive in the competitive economic environment, they need to create and launch new products regularly. However, coming up with a product idea and pushing it to market is not enough. In fact, it’s a recipe for commercial disaster.
Practicing good product planning fundamentals is a much smarter course of action. Product planning fundamentals can help you plan the design and launch of a new product, either alone or with the help of design and sourcing studios.
Not sure what the most important product planning fundamentals are? This guide will break down everything you need to know about smart product planning in detail. Let’s get started.
What Is Product Planning Overall?
In business, product planning is an ongoing process you should practice regularly as you sell “staple” products and create new products that you plan to send to market. Product planning involves:
- Identifying market requirements for current and future products
- Coming up with new products to be sent to market
- Altering or evolving existing products due to shifting demands for compliance requirements
Product planning is an essential process for any business that creates and sells products or services. Even if your organization uses products as a secondary source of revenue (such as for promotional or marketing pushes), it’s important to practice good product planning fundamentals so that you plan products appropriate for your target audience.
Product planning can help you align your business assets and operational processes with your product’s goals and results.
Why You Should Emphasize Product Planning in Your Organization
Product planning isn’t something you should skip over or only consider from time to time. It should be a major part of your product management practices. Here are a few reasons why.
Better Inventory Control
Proper product planning can help you enjoy better inventory control and management. It’s all too easy for businesses not used to extensive product planning to accidentally spend too much money storing excess product or to not create enough product for demand.
This can lead to severe inventory charges and result in poor customer satisfaction or lesser brand performance. Conversely, good product planning can lead to excellent inventory management and reduce the amount of money you have to invest in your inventory storage assets or equipment.
As a bonus, product planning can help you exercise even greater control over your business’s raw materials. You’ll be able to make new products much more effectively and affordably as a result.
Better Resource Management
Additionally, product planning will help you optimize your existing resource. When you plan a product, you can plan out how much capital will require to iterate and eventually develop in full. Your business won’t run into as many unexpected expenses or hiccups thanks to the preparedness inherent in product planning.
You can avoid wasting resources in turn driving down companywide costs. This benefit remains even if you use designer product sourcing studios like Harper+Scott. Such agencies can design and create products that better suit your enterprise’s needs.
Improved Brand Image and Customer Connections
But product planning is important for its benefits to your brand image and customer connections as well. No customer wants to place an order through your service and be informed that the order can’t be fulfilled due to poor product planning.
In contrast, businesses that leverage full product planning fundamentals will be able to fulfill customer orders as expected and pursue comprehensive marketing campaigns with a wide range of materials and promotional items.
Fundamentals of Product Planning
Now that you understand why product planning fundamentals are important to grasp, let’s break down those fundamentals in more detail.
Find and Develop a Core Product Concept
The most important fundamental of product planning is finding and developing a useful and profitable core product concept. This is common sense to some extent – any product you create should serve some use to your target consumer base.
But good product planning requires fully developing the ultimate goal of the product and what you hope it will achieve for your brand. For instance, you may want to create branded merchandise or private-label merchandise to drive sales of your business’s services, using the products as promotional leverage rather than sellable items in and of themselves.
In this hypothetical example, planning how to create and maintain the production of these promotional items is key if you want your product-based marketing to be successful.
Add Details via Market Research
No product can truly succeed without extensive market research. You should perform market research regularly for any new products you plan to put into circulation. Market research serves two major roles:
- It identifies whether the core product idea is viable in the market.
- It provides additional details you can add to or subtract from the main product concept.
For example, your company might need to create a product for its core consumer base, such as shirts, shoes, or jewelry. Market research could determine whether your next idea for a product line holds commercial merit and provide you with some additional details to add to the product concept, such as particularly profitable colors, theme decisions, and more.
Plan and Build an MVP
After developing a core product concept and fleshing it out with thorough market research and the data it provides, you should next focus on creating a minimum viable product or MVP. This product planning fundamental is important since it prevents you from going too far ahead with a potential dud product before you fully test it.
It’s one thing to perform market research about a hypothetical product and decide to go ahead with production. It’s another thing to roll the dice and create a massive line of branded products without first ensuring that they work as intended.
Say that you needed to create a new clothing line with branded labeling. A minimum viable product is necessary since it can show you:
- How much it will cost in terms of resources and cash to create each unit of the product
- Whether the product turns out according to expectations or if there are unanticipated designer engineering hurdles
While it’s true that design and sourcing studios like Harper+Scott can help with this to some extent, an MVP is still necessary to guarantee product liability in the open market.
Describe and Elaborate on the Product Life Cycle
An MVP is the first example trial of a new product you’re planning to release. You’ll next need to analyze and plan the product lifecycle, starting from production to the sale to the customer.
Planning ahead of product production is just as important as planning for the production itself. It will help you use your existing inventory space more efficiently and ensure that you don’t overproduce one product or another, filling your shelves and incurring big storage fees.
Planning at this stage can help you account for any excess product that you might make — both in terms of storage or recycling — if you want to be eco-friendly.
Launch After Integrating Feedback and New Details
Only after implementing these product planning fundamentals will you be ready to launch your product. With design agencies like Harper+Scott, you can fully plan for a new product launch for your company, whether it’s a core product line designed to bring in big revenue or a branded product designed for promotional purposes.
However, you should consider integrating any feedback or new details that you might have learned over the previous processes. For example, your planning and market research should have revealed any design issues with the MVP. This will allow you to incorporate corrections into the product version that’s planned to be launched to market.
Ultimately, each part of the product planning process should theoretically lead to an “ideal” version of your product line that accomplishes its commercial objectives and represents your brand successfully.
In the end, product planning fundamentals are just another important part of good product management. If you want to be successful, you can’t just push out mediocre or minimally viable products. New products have to be stellar, capture the public imagination, and represent your brand positively.
Fortunately, you can contact agencies like Harper+Scott if you have questions and if you want assistance with planning new products. Harper+Scott specializes in branded or private-label products for your company. Don’t hesitate to contact us today, and we’ll get you started right away.