Product Planning - A Beginner's Guide

Product Planning - A Beginner's Guide

Introduction to product planning

Product planning is a complicated term to define because it is a vast process and involves many different characteristics of a product manager’s job.

The process of product planning starts with creating a product idea and working on it until the product is launched on the market.

Product planning and its development help in constructing realistic goals for each stage of development and also allow evaluation of progress towards those goals.

It helps in assessing the success of the product and making adjustments as required at any stage of the product development.

 

What is Product Planning?   

Product planning is the process of creating an advanced product and making it available in market for consumers. It requires detailed research, strategic decision-making, and immense planning.

 

Definition of Product Planning

According to W.J. Stanton- "Product planning embraces all activities which enable producers and middlemen to determine what should constitute Company's line of products".

In Product planning, the company's main focus is to detail the new product, essential features, target market, and timeline for development. A product plan aids companies in going on their product development journey with a clear image of what to build and who to build it for.

Businesses require product planning and control at the very beginning of product development to minimise the risk of product failure and errors that could affect the lifecycle of the product in the future.

In addition to that, product planning and development help in deciding team work and their responsibility. It is a continuous process in which there is always a scope for the addition of new information and challenges.

 

The initial stage of product planning requires answers to several essential questions:

-How can we make our product?

-Who needs this product?

-What features should our product have?

-How will this product bring value to the company?

-What metrics should we apply to measure our product’s success?

What is the importance of product planning?

 

Product Planning 1

 

Why is product planning important in a business? This question might not be as important as the final product, but it plays a very crucial role in the product lifecycle.

There is no proven formula for building a great product. A well-experienced product manager and the necessary resources are just a few of the factors to make a product successful in the market.

Product planning is a critical step for businesses that produce, manufacture, and sell products on the market.

-Marketing Program Initiator

In the field of marketing, product planning steps that involve planning and decision-making about the product are the very first movement towards making a successful product.

Planning and decision-making are involved at every stage of the product life cycle.

At the beginning of a product planning process, decisions like marketing policies, product planning strategies, programs, and procedures are finalized.

Inefficient product planning at this stage will set a negative influence and further it impact on all other decisions related to product planning.

-Effects Marketing Actions

Product planning decisions are proportional to marketing activities. Inappropriate planning may influence various elements of marketing activities like advertising policies, distribution channels, sales promotions, pricing policies etc.

-Customer Satisfaction

Product planning is done on the basis of customer requirements, and only reasonable products and services are offered by the companies.

The useless products are eliminated in the process of product planning, which results in customer satisfaction by providing only valuable and effective products.

Hence, product planning plays an important role in the fulfilment of customers’ requirements.

-Ensures Profit

To ensure profit Product planning plays an important role in the fulfilment of customers' needs and, in return, makes a profit out of it.

The companies conduct research on a regular basis to analyse customers' preferences, needs, tastes, and status, etc. This helps in gaining information and feedback about the product from the customers.

According to the research findings, the companies modified their products.

 -Profit prediction

At different stages of the product lifecycle, product planning helps in forecasting profits for businesses.

Also, in the phase of business declining, the marketers decide which product needs to be developed and which one should be eliminated.

This helps in bringing stability to the business. Appropriate product planning benefits the firm in taking such decisions.

What are the steps in creating a product planning strategy?

 Here are the seven steps to understanding product planning strategy.

 

Product Planning 2

 

-Imagining the idea of a new product

It is the initial and most creative step in a product's lifecycle, which is imaginary and random. A proposal can be initiated by a scientist, professional designer, etc.

This step is basically a product discovery phase where the product team plays an important role and is aware of the difficulties and benefits associated with the product that a potential customer can experience.

The proposal, which has features of a model product, is only considered and implemented.

-Final Selection

At the time of product planning, many proposals are presented for finalising the product features. Out of many proposals, the best model for the product is ultimately selected.

-Examination of the Product Concept and Testing

At this stage, further investigation is done on the idea chosen for the product. The product idea is then developed into a product concept.

The features of the proposed product are described precisely, keeping consumer sentiments in consideration.

-Analyze the Competition

To assess the economic viability of the product, comparative analysis is conducted. This step is performed under strict inspection to get the best proposal for a new product.

The evaluation provides an idea regarding capital investment, rate of return on investment, market potential, etc.

-Product Development Programme

After comparative analysis, the subsequent step is a product development programme. This includes specific steps like prototype development, consumer testing of the model, and branding, followed by packaging and labelling.

Here, the physical product is given a concrete shape. Thus, it sets the foundation for final selection, considering mass production and mass distribution.          

-Trial

A trial for the product is performed to find out the viability of the entire marketing programme. The trial is a phase in a product life cycle that plays an important role in product planning.

Testing the whole marketing programme in a wider market gives an idea of product sustainability and the scope of product improvement.

Here, the customer’s reaction is ascertained under normal conditions. Through trial and error, if any defects are found, they are modified if needed.

Feedback from customers through surveys, emails, and interviews is used to fix errors, and the performance of the product is improved before selling it in the market.

-Commercialization

After performing all the above steps of product planning, the right product is found and the commercialization of the new product is done.

The product's mass distribution is accelerated through advertising and campaigning sales promotion techniques.

At this point, the product is actually formed and the life-cycle of the product begins.

Once the product is released on the market, a comparison test is performed for the original product roadmap against data obtained from product users.

The product roadmap can be changed to maintain the original product roadmap without affecting the customers' needs.

 

Takeaway

Product planning and development includes decisions related to the products and services that the company plans to produce and sell to its customers.

It also comprised of decisions regarding product policy and strategies, which are basically the guidelines for the target market. This helps in framing the target market objectives and aids in evaluating the product sustainability and scope of product improvement.

To make it a successful product, best efforts should be made at the initial stage of the product planning process. The process may require revisiting, recapping, and revising the plan throughout the product lifecycle.

A strong understanding of product management and project management is required if you want to be a successful product manager for the product planning process.

You can enrol in project management training from a reputable training facility to learn more about product management and project management.

Sprintzeal is a registered training provider with PMI, the governing body of PMP certification. For Project Management Professional (PMP) certification training details, you can reach us at Click Here or you can also chat with our course expert to get instant information.

 

Courses to offer

PMI PBA Certification Training Course

PRINCE2® 6th Edition Foundation Certification Training Course

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is product roadmap planning?

A product roadmap planning is basically about summarising the product strategy. It gives an idea of how the organisation will implement the plans. It mainly focuses on themes and outcomes.

What are the benefits of product planning?

Product planning comes with several benefits for customers as well as for business:

-Meeting your customers' needs

-Using resources effectively

-Improving inventory control

What are the essential elements of product planning?

The essential elements of product planning are as follows:

-Product Innovation: Modifying a product or making a new product for productive use. Product innovation in the business field is an essential element to maintaining sustainability in a competitive market.

-Product Diversification: Supports in maintaining business growth and stability and also helps in enhancing profit.

-Product Standardization: This essential element of product planning includes limiting the number of variants within a particular product class.

-Product Elimination: This is also an essential element in product planning. In this case, some products are removed from the production line due to technical issues or defects in the product. Eliminating the right product helps in the misuse of resources and funds.

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Niharika Chaurasia

Niharika Chaurasia

Niharika is a technical content writer in the education niche with vast experience in creating content for certifications and training programs. She creates engaging, easy-to-understand, and valuable content for both beginners and professionals aspiring to enhance their careers.

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