Product definition deals with major tangible and intangible attributes the product has to satisfy.
In the previous blog, we outlined the five steps of bringing a product from prototype phase to mass production and distribution.
This time we will review the first, and perhaps most important step of all: The Product Definition.
A common practice for developers and marketers is to emphasize the functionality and market role of a potential new product.
While these aspects are crucial, they do not include all of the challenges the product must meet in order to sell and be profitable.
Following is a list of other essential parameters required in the product definition:
Target Audience - by age group, gender, culture, needs, preferences, etc.
Resilience to - environmental conditions, aging (durability), storage, shipping, and use (e.g. resistance to drops, electric voltage spikes, electromagnetic fields).
Look, feel and ergonomics – Identifying the intangible properties the product has to satisfy, such as visual and tactile appeal, weight, texture, geometry, and even the sound when contacting another object (e.g. table).
Cost - The target price is derived from the competition and the marketing model. In turn, the target cost, derived much by the target price, must be realistic in consideration of the manufacturing options. There must be coherence between the two in order to meet the target margin.
Marketing Channel – selection (also known as Distribution Channel) - will affect both the product and its packaging and shipping method. In addition to distributors requirements marketing channels are often subject to regulatory requirements (e.g. import duties) and to standards compliance in the targeted markets.
Life Cycle - each product has a finite lifetime. It can range from a single use of disposables (e.g. paper towels, medical equipment) through years and even decades (e.g. automobiles, industrial equipment, medical equipment).
Determining the product life cycle will have a major effect on the design and cost.
Safety – Safety standards protect against a wide variety of hazards such as intoxication, ionized radiation, fire, hazardous chemicals and physical injuries, to name just a few.
In-spite of rapid development of international trade and safety standards with it there are still additional standards imposed by specific bodies, such as countries and agencies.
The above list does not exhaust all aspects of product definition. Nevertheless, it illustrates the importance, as well as the complexity of the process. You cannot overstate the importance of a precise definition of your product to assure success in the marketplace as well as reducing the number of problems likely to appear in the transition from prototype to production.
Tip: Make your detailed product definition as soon as possible. The optimal time for defining the product is before the beginning of the product design phase or no later than during its development.