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Eight ways to generate new product ideas

Eight ways to generate new product ideas

Would you like to build your business by effortlessly coming up with new product ideas? It is easy to do this – if you ask the right questions and give yourself the space the time to answer them.

Here are eight areas of questioning you can ask yourself and your team that will enable you to generate new product ideas - quickly. Take time to ask yourself each question. Don’t jump ahead. Do one at a time – and give yourself some space to let the answers flow.

1)    Neglected Niches

In any industry there will be several niches that have been unattractive to bigger players or aren’t served at all. How can you serve these customers at a profit? What product or service do they need?

For example a British insurance company has launched a Young Drivers programme targeted at the 17-25 age range – a segment traditionally shunned by large insurers.

2)    Baby Boomer Profits

The so-called Baby Boom generation is the largest in history and they are currently hitting the peak of their earning power and assets. What can you sell them?

For example the cosmetic surgery industry is riding the aging boomers wave as are indulgence specialists like boutique chocolatiers.

Change brings opportunity and changes in demographics are noticeable years before they become market reality. What changes do you notice? What will be the impact? How can you profit from these?

3) Policy Changes

A change in government policy can create a new market overnight.

For example; solar technology is still expensive but due to government subsidies in Germany many homes have solar panels. This has supported the local solar cell industry – Germany is now ranked in the top three worldwide.

Look out for new opportunities by watching and deciphering the news. Ask yourself; how would this government decision help me make money?

4)    A New Approach

Is it possible to deliver the same product/service but in a different way that is more convenient and saves time?

For example; historically gold coins and bars have been sold by dealers. In 2009 a company developed a gold bars vending machine. Several have been installed at busy airports. And they accept all major credit cards.

5)    Look At The Calendar

What are the significant holidays through the year? Can you capitalise on them with a special offer or a limited edition?

For example; a Swedish brewery developed a Christmas version of their cider. It was spiced with cinnamon and vanilla and could be consumed cold, or warmed up as mulled wine.

What about significant events like a Football World Cup or the Olympics?

6) Crisis-Driven Affordability

In an economic downturn people often refrain from buying because of price. Is there a way to deliver an existing product at a more affordable price? Which variables can be changed to provide even more value but at a lower price point? I’m not advocating entering the price-sensitive mass market. It’s impossible to win this game. Create a mid-market product instead.

For example a US company launched a lower priced cosmetics line, made it available only online and added expert advice based on the visitor’s profile, plus an online community area for customer interaction.

7)    Look For Problems And Needs

There is a plethora of information available to us today – use it to find out what your customers need and what problems they are struggling with.

A recent example of discovering and addressing a need is a company selling university textbooks by the chapter! As a student did you ever read a full textbook?

Services like Google News will serve you news based around keywords. Visit your local library and access paid electronic archiving services to scan your selected publications. What are the unsolved problems in your industry? What can you do about it?

8)    Learn From The Mistakes Of Others

Study product flops. More often than not there were clever, professional people behind the product. They worked diligently; looked at different scenarios, the market and customers. Where did it go wrong? Was it distribution, positioning, pricing or the angle of the promotion effort? Can you improve on that?

For example a few years ago Harley-Davidson launched a perfume. They were spectacularly unsuccessful but the company and other marketers learned a lot about brand associations, positioning and brand extensions
Remember this is a time of opportunity; the current financial situation, massive technological innovation, social and demographic changes – all of these present openings for new products and services, and in turn the chance to make bigger profits. Don’t miss out on the opportunities – make use of them. Just developing one new product could change your business forever.

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