When and how to let the public in on your new product development

If you find yourself going through the processes of new product development, one problem you may have is determining when to start taking public feedback on board. Different companies might differ slightly from one to another, in terms of both when and how they determine public opinion of a potential new product. In this article, we will look at one of the more conventional ways public feedback is brought into the process early on, concept testing. It can be daunting if it’s your first time starting the new product development, or you simply might be a bit rusty. Either way, it’s good to have a solid understanding of when it is best to start bringing on this sort of feedback, and how to go through this process for the best results

Firstly, it’s good to understand where this fits into the new product development process. No new product is going to be conjured up without a basic idea first, these ideas are normally thrown about amongst one another, before then being screened to be left with one clear idea/concept or a select few.

When a concept has been solidly constructed, it’s time to get the public involved. The reasoning here is that once you have a solid concept under your belt, you don’t want to start physical (and costly) development before knowing it is going to be a success with the public. This feedback can help work out which features are commercially viable, and which ones aren’t. While also helping to answer questions that might not have been possible to answer during the creative process, such as determining/narrowing down the target market.

Once this concept testing is completed, the next stages of new product development can begin. For a lot of businesses, this would usually take the form of a marketing strategy and business analysis simultaneously being started in separate departments. When it comes to marketing and branding, these particular aspects should be kept well away from concept testing research. This is because you don’t want any feedback to be biased, consciously or otherwise. If people have connotations toward a certain brand, then this will affect what they think of a product related to it. The value of this research is the unbiased honest answers, and is worthless the second that responses are distorted by factors outside that of the concept of the product.