Key Product Development Steps to Give You the Most Marketable Prototype

Marketing is the most critical juncture in the lifespan of a fresh product design. It translates the innovations and features it presents to the world from tech-speak to customer-speak, making the voice of your product an effective one. It is also why getting the product development steps you use correct from the start is so important. These steps set the tone for the design and testing process and will be instrumental in driving your product to succeed in the marketplace.

Concept Creation: More Than Just an Idea

A prototype being demonstrated as a part of product development steps.

If you are reading this, it is safe to assume that you already have a product concept in mind. As exciting as you and your project team may be about this idea, the foundation of a successful product is much more than an idea—it is an encouragement of collaboration. The definition and documentation of tasks that will ultimately work together with the idea to drive it towards success. Completing the conceptual foundation of your project can be accomplished in just a few easy steps:

  1. Establish a well-defined process for communication and documentation. Addressing the way in which your project team communicates adds agility to any project. 
  2. Encourage collaboration, which builds team morale and becomes enjoyable when following the defined communication plan. 
  3. Empower staff to make the necessary adjustments to the process will cement the concept and drive it forward.

Goal Setting: What Prototype Would Best Fit Your Vision?

You will now be able to take your well-defined process and documentation structure and apply this to set goals around the prototype. The prototype for your product will provide a valuable service as both a marketing tool and testing platform, which makes choosing the most suitable prototype to represent your design the next step, even ahead of building the actual design itself. Taking this path will serve to shorten design and testing timelines and help to maximize its sales potential.

Addressing the goals and purpose of the prototype provides a clear roadmap that designers, testers, and marketers can use to develop forward-thinking strategies. Some of the items to address include: 

  • The overall functionality of the prototype
  • Whether or not to bring it to life physically
  • The methodology used to produce the prototype

Whether it be a CAD-simulated prototype, or a rapid prototype using 3D printing or CNC machining, your prototype will be assured to drive the success of the final product.

Design: Mixing High-Tech Tools and Old School Thinking

Design can be fickle, especially if the product you are creating is a completely new innovation. But even new products will contain some similarities to existing ones, which can lend a time-saving helping hand. The help offered by reviewing similar products becomes even more potent when the manufacturing partner you anticipate using to produce your creation offers in-house design services, as they may already have design specs on hand to help guide you through the design process.

The recycled tech approach of using pieces from past projects to implement into a new design will be strengthened through the use of modern CAD design tools. These tools allow specs to be quickly adjusted as the product takes shape, offering a real-time glimpse into how every design attribute affects the final design outcome. This reduces re-work after testing and can be utilized to build powerful and informative prototypes for testing and marketing.

Validation: How Your Prototype Will Launch the Product

Creating a prototype based on design specs will be your primary tool for validating its concept and performance. The results of these performance validations will tell you how close the product comes to meeting expectations, and where on the market it will really fall when compared to similar products. The inputs received during this process will provide the information needed to finalize your product’s development.

This helps you to further develop two of the last steps needed prior to releasing the product to the final production stage: 

  • Engineers will use the test results to build a support model, including warranty terms, any spare part requirements, and user manuals to ensure that the product is properly utilized. 
  • Meanwhile, those on the marketing team will be using the prototype for advertising media, in-person or virtual demonstrations, and other marketing collateral to help drive sales and profits upward.

Inclusive Product Development Steps Lead to Successful Products

The ultimate goal in the back of every creator’s mind is how to get the product in front of its target audience. There are several steps that should be executed during the product development process to ensure that the product meets functional expectations while maximizing its sales potential. One last important step is the selection of a manufacturing partner—one that not only can make your product but can also lend a helping hand every step of the way.

The designers and engineers at Pacific Research Laboratories are excited to work with partners whose products will make the impact they desire. We work with our clients to collaborate on design, testing, and final production, and we specialize in machining and molding small plastic parts. To learn more about our services, please visit our contact page or call (206) 408-7603.