How can you ensure that your newly developed product reaches customers quickly? Understanding the concept of time-to-market is a great initial step towards this, and also highly relevant for the success of your business.
In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business landscape, the time it takes to bring a new product to the market or in other words time-to-market plays a huge role in the success of your business.
Being first with your product not only gives you an upper advantage but also provide you good brand recognition along with product & customer loyalty before other companies get to market offering similar features at comparable price points.
If your Time-To-Market (TTM) is slow, then other competitor companies may already dominate the market by the time you get there. This simply means that you will then need to do the catch-up, while also make your product lower on profitability curve. Conversely, if you release your product too early, then there are high chances that it might not be ready for full customer engagement and this will directly impact revenue.
A study by McKinsey & Company depicts that, “if you are late to market by six months, your earnings are 33% less than a “right on time” scenario.” They also point out that if your time to market is right on the spot, however, you spend 50% more on the product than others, your revenue will only be affected by a 4% loss.
In short, it is all about getting the ‘right timing’ for your product!
However, it is seen that almost 45% of product launches are delayed by at least one month (Source: Gartner) which is quite indicative of the fact that it is quite difficult to nail down a product’s time-to-market.
And, needless to say that product managers who run late with product launches need to be completely conscious that this situation will directly intensify the risk of increasing the failure rates. To overcome this, here are the four main practices that as a product manager you and your product development team can make use of to reduce time-to-market.
- Create specific product roadmaps
Everything starts with accurate planning and this holds true when you are coming with a new product. Essentially, every new product has distinctive cost, timeline and resource requirements, and so if you looking out to cut down on your time, then you need plan and develop clear and accurate product road maps. This will aid you in not only prioritizing your tasks effectively but will also provide visibility to your team.
- Target quality rather than features
It is an obvious fact that developing a new product is a costly and time-consuming affair. Thus, try and not to focus on adding excessive features as that will directly increase your development time and effort and presents opportunities for errors or costly delays. Instead, prioritise on developing a high-quality product that solves the needs, desires and pain points of customers; in short the elements that will offer the greatest value to your targeted audience. You can also seek feedback from customers to determine which features are “must-haves” in your product development.
- Develop pilot ready customers or market segments
It is always wise to develop markets or customer cohorts where the innovative product you want to introduce can be piloted with an acceptable risk level. This also can be done in case you are coming up with some enhancements in your product. At the end of the day, your whole business revolves around solving your customer’s pain points and making their lives easier. So, ask your customers to gain a better insight of what products they feel you should offer.
- Automate the development process
Automation is undeniably a secure and efficient way of reducing time to market. The replacement of manual and time-consuming labour with an automatic one helps reduces human errors. Automating aids in passing clear information; on due dates and activities, getting rid of confusion and delay that might set in knowing what to do and when to carry out certain activities; is one of the major importance of automation.
There is no fixed way that reduce time-to-market of your product, but in all likelihood by using these practices you can definitely improve your odds radically!
In the end, getting products to market before other brands can give your business a significant competitive advantage. Take the example of Apple which entered the market with their original iPhone back in 2007, introducing a touchscreen display that set a new standard for smartphones, tablets, and even computers worldwide. And, today also it has the largest share in the smartphone and tabled market globally.
So, which strategy do you think can ensure that your product reaches your customers quickly? Share your thoughts or any of your experience by commenting below.
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