A company discovers an opportunity for a new product! They first investigate thoroughly, define the target market, set a budget, and send the complete spec to the design and engineering teams. They craft what they feel is the best product to dominate the defined opportunity. This design is then sent back upstairs to marketing, sales and finance. This product is reviewed to make sure it can be promoted, it will sell and it will be within budget parameters. STOP. This is where badly designed products start their lives.
Have we not all agreed that groupthink does not produce the best results? Do we not tirelessly quote Henry Ford about faster horses and Steve Jobs on how the public cannot see its future? All the people from sales, marketing and finance are so wrapped up in their immediate worlds, they are just as myopic as John Q. Public. Is this really the correct path to create the go-to product for your target market?
The best way to woo customers to your brand is with innovative, beautiful and highly functional products. Your new product’s look catches a person’s eye, they investigate and bring it home. They use it and are impressed with the experience. Next, they do the greatest thing of all…they tell their friends and family. They extoll your product’s unique style and commend its functionality. They have become your early adopter and will be on the lookout for your brand’s next cutting-edge product release.
Would you rather be competing against a product made in a cheap labor factory and sold at rock bottom price?
Risk is a four letter word that can lead to Wow, good, okay, bad and train wreck.
On the other hand, playing it safe mostly leads to okay and bad.
Please manage this process with the goal of the best product. Not the best product possible product created within the constraints of sales, marketing and finance. Even if you have to price the item a bit more than the projected optimum estimated price point. Play the long term game. When the early adopters get on board and share their enjoyable experiences,price limitations will fall away. I think it is worth the risk.
What game do you want to play?
Related Reading: from Fast Company, Jonathan Ive & Marc Newson comment on today’s design process
Image by FaceMePLS via Wikimedia Commons