It happens all the time: You learn that your active new-product programs are falling behind or the scope of the project has radically changed. Your teams are telling you they don't have enough resources to do all programs; moreover, they seem to be working at cross-purposes, and they have different opinions on the probability of getting the idea to work.
You need to figure out a way to get everyone on the same page so you can keep your new-product programs on track and get your ideas to market in a timely fashion.
In this article we will discuss ways to make sure you're properly resourcing your new-product portfolio, and then developing tracking tools to make sure they launch on time.
In "Are your new product ideas attractive enough?" I discussed the major types of new products as well as their differing risk/reward profiles:
- Type 1: Simple derivatives/new models of current product lines: easiest to do, lowest risk
- Type 2: Line extensions
- Type 3: New products/innovations in a company's core category
- Type 4: New product platforms in a category new to the company: hardest to do, highest risk
I then recommended using an objective assessment tool to help rank alternative new concept attractiveness from high to low. The goal of doing so is to prioritize your new-product portfolio—just as you would your individual financial investments.
Once that's completed, you need to determine whether your new product portfolio is "balanced" and can potentially deliver results vis-à-vis expectations. You must consider three critical elements to make sure your new product portfolio is "balanced":
- Are your new product ideas strategically aligned with business and innovation growth strategies?
- Is your new product portfolio balanced across product type, risk, time, and resources?
- Can they deliver against new product revenue growth expectations: Are they sufficient?
One tool than can help in this assessment is a new-product road map. The following is a graphical representation of a hypothetical product road map:
Rick Steinbrenner, known as the "global brand guy" (www.globalbrandguy.com), is CMO and principal of Brand Marketing Advisors. A consumer brand and product marketer, he's led and managed leading global brands, including those of General Mills, Kraft, Remington Products, and Black & Decker. He's also managed consumer product businesses as large as $200MM in multiple product categories, from B2C, to B2B, to B2B2C.