Three Steps to Making Your Next Product a “Ringer”

The past several years have shown amazing growth in some businesses and outstanding failures in others, seemingly without notice. If we set aside the obvious causes of amazing growth such as scientific and technological breakthroughs, then business growth can be dramatically improved by following these three values.

Customers are the Driving Force

In my nearly 30 years of R&D and new product development, lack of focus on the customer is the number one killer of most products. This is obvious. The cause is not. The cause is the burning desire in most (mediocre) organizations to place internal “consensus” or “alignment” above market demands.

Textbook theory applauds alignment. What’s neglected is that while everyone may believe they have an equal voice, the customer, and his representatives in sales and marketing, are more equal. Metrics that only affect internal measures are meaningless to customers. Instead of being project requirements, these should be ongoing improvements to the business’s overall performance.

Tip: Make sure your project scorecards allow all departments equal access to provide input but weigh them heavier the more they impact customer performance.

Success, not Perfection, is a Key Value

Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What one department may deem a disaster, another may claim as victory. The search for perfection in a product inhibits more success than it will ever produce. Customers expect that a product will have minor flaws and have features they wish worked somewhat differently. They figure out how to adapt as needed.

Fear is the driving factor in the quest for perfection. If all departments perform exactly as required and the project, or business, fails, did their perfection really matter? This is the main problem in the “silo’d” organization. Departments can achieve their metrics while the overall objective is lost because the fear of failing at unimportant goals is stronger than the rewards of business success.

Tip: Watch for these keywords in project meetings: “buffer,” high confidence point,” and “alignment.” Challenge each of these through the lens of “sufficient for success for the business” and not simply departmental goals.

Schedules Are Sacred

Missing an announced launch date is one of the few things that customers will not forgive, especially in the B2B space. In B2B, your customer relies on you for products he resells. If you miss a date, he misses his commitments, and revenue, too. Do this once or twice, he will not return for a third failure.

Similarly, your sales force will become gun shy if they are disappointed too many times. They will not implement your sales and marketing plan until they know the products are in the warehouse and can be shipped. This delays the start of your revenue by months and can significantly reduce the product’s lifetime revenue.

Tip: Make your marketing communications group an integral part of all product development teams–do not just include them at the end of the project. They can tailor marketing messages based on progress and level of risk.

Not one of these three topics requires investment in technology. It does, however, require the most difficult work of any business-changing internal processes and culture. If all decisions are taken considering the needs of the customer first then followed by internal needs, then the scales will begin to fall from your organization’s eyes and true progress toward business growth can begin.


Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

jeffrey s. tagsold
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Auto-Owners Insurance CEO Jeffrey S. Tagsold
Svetlana Kuznetsova
How Svetlana Kuznetsova Achieved a Net Worth of $30 Million
Chris Evert
How Chris Evert Succeeds in Business as She Did in Tennis
Wilson Jones
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Oshkosh CEO Wilson R. Jones
The 10 Best Credit Cards for Balance Transfers
Ventas
Why Ventas is a Solid Long Term Dividend Stock
Capital One Credit Card
The 10 Best Credit Cards for People With Bad Credit in 2019
Discover It card for Students
The 10 Best Credit Cards for People with No Credit
smart food labels
How Smart Food Labels Will Change the Future
Mixed Reality Technology
What is Mixed Reality and Where Are We With It?
5 Myths About Custom Mobile Applications
Seamless Virtual AI Assistant
How Close Are We to Seamless Talking AI Assistants?
Pappas Bros. Dallas
Why Pappas Bros. Steakhouse is One of the Finest Steakhouses in Dallas
Quebec’s Gaspé is a Hotbed of History, Nature, and Food
Refinery Hotel NYC
10 Reasons to Stay at The Refinery Hotel in NYC
Urban Farmer Philly
Why Urban Farmer is One of Philadelphia’s Finest Steakhouses
A Closer Look at The 2013 Ferrari Mansory F12 La Revoluzione
2004 Ferrari F430 Scuderia
A Closer Look at The 2004 Ferrari F430 Scuderia
1991 Ferrari TestaRossa 512 TR
A Closer Look at the 1991 Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR
The 1987 Ferrari F40
A Closer Look at The 1987 Ferrari F40
A Closer Look at the Breitling Mark VI Complication 29
A Closer Look at The Breitling Windrider Blackbird
A Closer Look at the Breitling Chronomat 41
Breitling Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon
A Closer Look at The Breitling Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon