How do I define a new product category?
June 18, 2008 3:22 PM   Subscribe

Any tips for bringing a new product to market? Specifically creating a new and defining a new product category?

Any tips on creating a new product category? You know going from shipping to "FedEx"...i.e. normal shipping (as a category) to affordable overnight shipping (new category). I believe our company has a new product category, so I am trying to find the best way to define it.

Also any suggestions on researching market categories, especially if they are amalgams of other categories?

What sort of deliverables would you suggest if developing a report on this new market category?
posted by UMDirector to Work & Money (4 answers total)
What you're asking is akin to saying, "Please teach me to be a brain surgeon in five minutes." What you need isn't tips, what you need is a professional marketer. That's what Marketing is about, and it isn't easy.

I worked as a product design engineer for twenty-five years, and I came out of that with the firm conviction that the job the marketers did was a lot more difficult than the one I did.
posted by Class Goat at 3:44 PM on June 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

First of all, FedEx was not a new category, it was an improvement on an existing one. There are certainly innovations that can feed improvements, like how FedEx exploited the (also already-existing) hub model of airlines to simplify shipping by air. Your first step is to identify the precursors of your category, to find out what it is similar to (not different from) which will then reveal the improvements that you are adding.

Nothing is created from a vacuum, nothing is truly "new." What you ask is akin to those who start a business and say that what they're doing is so awesome that they don't have any competitors. What this tells me is that they haven't done any market research and are actually unaware of the dynamics and existing players in whatever business category they're starting up in.

Shorter: Give up on the "new" thing until you're creating advertising. Business-wise, it's a non-starter.
posted by rhizome at 4:22 PM on June 18, 2008

Are you talking about something like the "Blue Ocean Strategy"?
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 5:16 PM on June 18, 2008

Take a look into the Stage Gate process of product development. You might look into becoming a product manager, probably the coolest and most cerebral industrial profession there is.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:15 PM on June 18, 2008

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