The 5 W’s (and one H) of High-Tech Product Development

by Jenny on October 16, 2017 Comments Off on The 5 W’s (and one H) of High-Tech Product Development

The existing consumer market is saturated with high-tech gadgets and gizmos, offering an array of shiny things people can get excited about. For brands looking to bring a new product to market, success shouldn’t be a matter of finger-crossing; it should be a matter of first establishing what consumers want or need, then delivering a product to satisfy those wants or needs.

One way to start developing a new product is by carefully examining existing market conditions, existing product offerings and existing demand to identify unmet wants or needs. This approach can offer the confidence of viable short-term opportunities; however it carries the risk of being beat to market by a competitor or sudden shifts in market conditions.

Another approach is to examine existing market conditions and product offerings in an effort to forecast the next wave of opportunities. This process, while carrying its own risk of looking forward into the unknown, presents potential for longevity and a first-to-market competitive advantage.

As an example, consider the world of Smart Home Technology; which is in-home, high-tech amenities capable of interacting with each other and can be remotely controlled.

What was once considered a “thing of the future” has now become available to and affordable for today’s average consumer. Brands looking to enter this market have two main options. First, develop a product for today. Second, develop a product for tomorrow. Both of these options require similar strategies, it’s the specific details within those strategies that will differ.

Here are some key things to consider when developing a smart home product (or any product):

Who will be the target market or intended end-user of the product?
By clearly defining the ideal target consumer, a data-driven consumer profile can be developed for a better understand of this person (i.e. lifestyle preferences, purchase patters, demographic information, etc.). The product development team is then able to look beyond product specifics to see how certain wants or needs impact a person’s daily life.

What pain-point will the product address?
Offering value to consumers is paramount for a successful new product. Identifying a need in day-to-day life will ensure ongoing product development is focused and will provide context around why the product is being developed to ensure practicality. Having established the ideal consumer’s profile, a better understanding of this person’s overall life will uncover potential pain-points that need to be addressed.

When will the product be released?
As previously mentioned, products are typically developed for today or for tomorrow. When creating a product for today, there is less time for strategic planning and trial periods. The potential for quick ROI is balanced with potential for insufficient market share. When creating a product for tomorrow there is more time for strategic planning and information gathering. However, this process can go on forever so eventually the rubber will have to hit the road with a clear project completion timeline.

Where will the product fit within the existing market’s framework?
Whether developing a stand-alone or a complementary product, certain parameters must be considered to offer the highest probability for success. On one side, a complementary product must be compatible with the most common or popular platforms of today or coordinate with promising technology not yet available to the public. On the other side, a stand-alone product must offer significant benefit to a consumer’s life so they will see the value in adding an entirely new item to their inventory.

Why is new product development a good idea?
Is the ultimate goal to present consumers with a new or improved value proposition? Is the objective to establish a new revenue stream or add to the brand’s existing product portfolio? Is the goal to bring change and innovation to the overall market or industry? Clarifying and communicating the desired outcome will make sure the product development team is on the same page and working in the same direction.

How might the product development team get started?
The most effective way to approach most any project is through research and strategy. The latter will ensure ongoing efforts stay on track and will provide success benchmarks to identify areas that veer off course. The former will provide data-driven, reliable insights acting as the foundation for the development of an effective strategy. Through these efforts, first steps can be taken with confidence and the team is presented with a high probability of success.

Already there are brands employing these steps to innovate and create smart home technology bringing the future to the present. Take a look at these award-winning smart homes and consider how high-tech company Crestron came up with these products and designs.

If your company is looking to launch a product development project of its own, we want to set you up for success. For over 30 years we have partnered with domestic and international brands providing the data-driven insights and strategic development needed to be success in any venture.

Whether you have some questions or just want to learn more about who we are, give us a shout!

Share this post:


Jenny Dinnen is President of Sales and Marketing at MacKenzie Corporation. Driven to maximize customer's value and exceed expectations, Jenny carries a can-do attitude wherever she goes. She maintains open communication channels with both her clients and her staff to ensure all goals and objectives are being met in an expeditious manner. Jenny is a big-picture thinker who leads MacKenzie in developing strategies for growth while maintaining a focus on the core services that have made the company a success. Basically, when something needs to get done, go see Jenny. Before joining MacKenzie, Jenny worked at HD Supply as a Marketing Manager and Household Auto Finance in their marketing department. Jenny received her undergrad degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and her MBA from the University of Redlands.

JennyThe 5 W’s (and one H) of High-Tech Product Development