The process of product planning typically involves launching a new product or launching a product into a new market. Product planning is essential to ensuring that there is a market for a company to sell its products to. The planning process also involves evaluating how to promote the product and get it in the hands of its customers.
Typically, an idea for a product pops into the head of an entrepreneur or business owner. While it may seem like a great idea in the mind of the person, a lot of research needs to be done to determine if it is a viable product in the market. This research includes learning about the same or similar products that already exist, which markets the product caters to, the competitors that are offering similar products and how they are marketing the product to customers.
Conducting market research groups or evaluating existing research is one way to determine if the product will sell in the market, and in which market it is most likely to sell. In other words, determine if there is a market for the product before creating it, rather than creating the product and hoping to create a market to buy it.
Once it is determined that there is a need for the product and a market for the product, the next step in product planning is to determine how to reach the intended audience. Typically, this requires the business owner to put together a marketing plan that is a roadmap on how to reach and convince ideal customers to buy the product once it is manufactured and ready for sale.
Distribution is another important aspect of product planning. Once the product has buying customers, the company creating the product has to figure out to get it in the hands of the customers. This could be shipping the product or stocking retail shelves with the product where the ideal customers shop.
Finally, product planning involves measurement and evaluation. Companies should elicit feedback from customers to determine how well the product is performing and what changes could be made for better performance. Gathering this feedback can even lead companies to creating new products that better fit the needs of the existing customer base, or may even attract a new customer base because of the introduction of the new product.