The Role of Research in New Product Development

By Insight Platforms

  • article
  • Co-creation
  • Innovation Research
  • Innovation Testing
  • Product Testing
  • Qualitative Research
  • NPD (New Product Development)

Introducing a new product to the market never comes with zero risks. From generating the initial idea to navigating the intricacies of development and launching, the product development journey is one with many hurdles along the way. Doing research each step along the way can make the process a lot easier and increase the chances of success.

In this article, we will explore the key stages of new product development and the research that goes into each step of the journey. We will delve into the importance of understanding consumer needs and desires, the critical role of prototyping and testing in ensuring that the final product meets customer expectations, and will discuss strategies for effective marketing and launch planning, helping businesses create buzz and generate excitement around their offerings.

Join us as we navigate the new product development journey and uncover the secrets to successfully bringing new ideas to saturated markets. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or a budding innovator, this article is packed with valuable insights to help you achieve your product/service’s full potential, and more!

And for much more on the role of research in new product development, check out the the Innovation Insights Summit – watch all session on demand if you miss them live:

2023-10 Innovation Insights Summit

The Importance of Market Research in New Product Development

Market research is the first and perhaps most crucial aspect of the journey. It involves gathering and analyzing data about the target market, competitors, and consumer preferences to make informed decisions. Only by thoroughly understanding the market landscape can businesses identify gaps and opportunities that allow them to develop products that truly meet the needs and desires of their target audience.

Effective market research begins with defining the target market and conducting market analysis. This involves studying consumer behavior, trends, and purchasing patterns. Identifying emerging trends and developing products that capitalize on them is possible once businesses have gathered enough insights into customer preferences.

Market research also identifies and analyzes competitors. In order to create a unique selling proposition, businesses must understand the strengths and weaknesses of existing products in the market and develop strategies to differentiate themselves. This information is invaluable in positioning the product effectively and capturing market share.

Thorough market research is the solid foundation of successful new product development providing businesses with the insights they need to identify market opportunities, understand consumer preferences, and develop products that meet customer needs.

Idea Generation and Evaluation

The first step in the new product development journey is idea generation. This can be done through brainstorming sessions, market research, customer feedback, or even by observing emerging trends. The goal is to generate a pool of ideas that have the potential to meet consumer needs and provide value in the market.

Once there are enough ideas, the next step is to evaluate them. Assess the feasibility, profitability, and market potential of each idea and consider factors such as production costs, market demand, competition, and potential risks. Try to stay objective – this will be key in determining which ideas have the greatest potential for success.

Not all ideas will make it to the development stage and that is normal. Some ideas may be discarded due to lack of feasibility or market potential. This is a natural part of the process and should not deter businesses from continuing to explore new ideas.

Idea generation and evaluation are crucial steps in the new product development journey and in identifying the most promising concepts to move forward with.

Find out more about idea generation and evaluation in these sessions at the Innovation Insights Summit:

Concept Development and Testing

Once some promising ideas have been (objectively) identified, the next step is to develop concepts that bring these ideas to life. Concept development involves defining the product’s features, benefits, and unique selling points. It is important to align the concept with consumer needs and ensure that it provides a solution or addresses a pain point.

During the concept development stage, businesses should also conduct concept testing to gather feedback from potential customers. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or even prototype testing. Involve the target audience in the development process to gather invaluable insights and make early improvements to the concept.

Validating the appeal and viability of the product concept allows businesses to identify potential issues and make necessary adjustments before investing any more time or money into development, and increase the chances of developing a successful product/service.

Concept development and testing are critical stages when doing research for new product development. Gather initial feedback from potential customers and refine ideas early on to increase the chances of developing a successful product.

Find out more about concept development and testing in these sessions at the Innovation Insights Summit:

Designing the Product Prototype

Once the product concept has been refined, the next step is to design a prototype – a working model or representation of the product that allows businesses to test its functionality and gather feedback for further improvements.

The design of the product prototype should be based on the finalized concept. It should accurately represent the product’s features, design elements, and user interface. The prototype should also be functional enough to demonstrate the core functionalities of the product and provide a realistic user experience.

Prototyping is an iterative process that involves testing, refining, and retesting the prototype. Gather feedback from potential customers, stakeholders, and experts to identify any flaws or areas of improvement to ensure that the final product meets customer expectations.

Find out more about testing and refining product prototypes using innovation communities in this session with incling at the Innovation Insights Summit:

Testing and Refining the Product

Once the product prototype has been developed, it is important to thoroughly test and refine the product before finalizing it for production.

Collect quantitative and qualitative data on your consumers’ potential use behaviors, habits, preferences, and reactions to your product. Conduct user tests, split tests, card sorting, eye-tracking or simple user observation to identify any potential issues and defects and make sure your product meets the highest standards of quality and reliability. Many times, the feedback from these sessions sheds light on non-ideal usability, performance issues, design problems or simply enhancing user experience.

Find out more about refining products in research in this session with Suzy at the Innovation Insights Summit:

Developing a Marketing Strategy

Once the product has been thoroughly tested, iterated, and refined, it is time to develop a marketing strategy in order to create awareness, generate excitement, and drive sales for the new product. Businesses cannot neglect the importance of research in new product development at any stage, and that’s no different in the case of preparing a marketing strategy.

Using previous information on the target market, define the unique selling proposition (USP) and positioning. Identify key features and benefits of the product that set it apart from competitors, and determine the most effective marketing channels and tactics to reach the target audience. This may include a mix of online and offline marketing activities such as social media marketing, content marketing, influencer partnerships, and traditional advertising.

Develop a plan that outlines the timeline, budget, and activities for the product launch. This plan should include pre-launch activities to build anticipation and generate buzz, as well as post-launch activities to sustain momentum and drive ongoing sales.

Find out more about strategic planning for new product launches with Dig Insights in this session at the Innovation Insights Summit:

Launching the Product

After months or even years of development, it is finally time to launch the product. Exciting! The product launch is a critical moment that can significantly impact its success in the market.

Communicate the launch plan to all stakeholders involved, including internal teams, partners, distributors, and customers. Aligning everyone with the launch plan to ensure a smooth and coordinated launch.

Focus on creating excitement and generating buzz around the product through various marketing activities such as teaser campaigns, influencer collaborations, and media coverage. During the launch phase, closely monitor customer feedback and address any issues or concerns promptly. This demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and helps build initial trust and loyalty.

In summary, launching the product is a critical moment in the new product development journey. By carefully planning and executing the launch, businesses can create excitement, generate buzz, and drive sales for their new product.

Monitoring and Adapting the Product

The new product development journey doesn’t end with the launch. In order to ensure long-term success, businesses must continuously monitor and adapt the product based on customer feedback and market trends.

Gather feedback from customers, analyze sales data, and track market trends. Always stay attuned to customer needs and preferences to identify opportunities for product improvements or new features. This feedback-driven approach allows businesses to stay ahead of the competition and provide ongoing value to customers.

Also keep an eye on emerging technologies, consumer behavior, and industry developments. This will help your business proactively adapt its product to meet changing market demands and stay relevant. Establish a feedback loop with customers to gather insights and address any issues or concerns through customer surveys, reviews, or even direct communication.

Build strong customer relationships and enhance the overall product experience.


The new product development journey is a complex and multifaceted process. From idea generation to market launch, businesses must navigate numerous steps, each with its own challenges and opportunities.

The role of research in new product development is crucial: from initial market research, idea generation, concept development and testing, prototyping, testing and refining the product, developing a marketing strategy, launching the product, and monitoring and adapting the product post-launch, research has a critical role in setting the launch up for success.

Follow the steps outlined in this article to minimize risks and make your new product launch a success!


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