Have you ever had to agonize over the question – When is it time to build the “better mousetrap”? By better mousetrap, we mean creating the next generation of a product. Most would think this would be routine for technology-based companies, however, a study of 28 next-generation product-development projects at 14 leading high-tech companies, found most were unable to complete projects on schedule. 1 In addition, these companies had difficulties with the derivative products needed to fill the gaps in the market that their next-generation products will create.
Companies maintain their brand value by having loyal customers, when they do not cater to their customer’s ever changing needs and the latest technological trends, it creates space for competitors to come in and entice customers away with the updated version. Building the “better mousetrap” is not an easy task, it is a critical decision for any organization because it invoices risk, cost and effort.
Things to consider when making this decision – Are sales dropping because customers have moved on to a newer version? Does your product need to be enticing to new customers in uncharted market segments? Quality marketing information can help you answer these questions, but keeping a continual, open-ended conversation with your customers is very important. When they feel their feedback will be genuinely received and considered, they will be more likely to deliver it. Identify your leading customers and ask them pointed questions about the changes they would like to continue using your product.
Some companies are moving to Platform Thinking – the ability for other businesses to easily connect with them by building products and services on top of their product and co-creating value.2 For instance, Apple and Android phones are so successful because of the app store and the external value developers create. Platform thinking is going beyond the tech industries, JC Penny is using this strategy to reinvent its interface by featuring “boutiques” managed by other companies within its stores. The boutiques are the apps.
This shift of creating platform projects is being pushed by the global technologies of the cloud which allows anyone to create content, social media which connects people across the globe and mobile allowing access from anywhere at any given time.
Don’t let your competition bring the “better mousetrap” to market before you! PSA has the experience to assist in your current needs, whether you need to start from scratch to create the next generation of your product, the current product needs re-engineering to bring it back in line with the market or a mobile app developed to add value to an existing platform. Feel free to contact our highly trained team of engineers to discuss your needs at firstname.lastname@example.org.