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New product development can be categorized into:
- Products that create a new market or niche segment: Paper disposable diapers are a good example of an entirely new-to-the-world product that, when introduced, created an entirely new and explosively large growth segment for infant care.
- Additions or line extensions to existing products: New flavors and new sizes of existing products are examples of line extensions. For example, new Life Savers flavors continue to proliferate (over 50 to date), continually refreshing a brand name and product line over several decades.
- Product improvements: Cars are a good example of products where continuous improvements are made each year, with increased safety, road handling, driver/rider comfort, entertainment feature improvements, etc., that competitors strive to quickly copy.
- Repositioned products: Tums (the anti-acid stomach product) has successfully repositioned itself to feature its high calcium content as a benefit primarily for women's health needs, along with its original antacid claims.
The first step for all companies, large or small, is to generate new business ideas that are unique. Are there any opportunities for your company's products to be refreshed in the marketplace by being repositioned, improved, or brought out in a new size, flavor, or package?
There are many techniques:
- periodically screening your products and comparing them with competitors' products, with an eye toward:
- improving attributes of products
- combining the features/benefits of several separate products into a single new product
- examining users' needs that are not being met by current competitive products
- using idea-generating methods like brainstorming
- improving a competitor's product