If necessity is the mother of invention, then you need to follow the formula to find the need gap.
Do you ever wonder why some products, brands, or designs seem to blow up overnight, while others fall flat instantly? My experience in bringing products to market (A LOT of products) has taught me quite a bit about what it takes to design products that will succeed in our ever-changing, and fast-paced marketplace. There is a slight method to the madness when it comes to knowing which product to create, why, and how to make that product work for those who need it most. Where there is a need, there is a gap waiting to be filled, and this is how you should begin your process of designing something the masses will actually buy.
Innovating In the Gap
I’m not the only one who has figured out the ‘secret formula’. Lee Richter, animal extraordinaire, and founder of My Pet Lives On agreed to share her seemingly overnight success story with me. When Lee realized she would have to say goodbye to her beloved family dog, Elliot, it hit her that she had not planned for this in any way. In fact, even if she had thought to plan, there really wasn’t anything out there to assist her in doing so.
With that, and a ton of serious mastermind conversations, My Pet Lives On was born. Lee has brought to market a bio-degradable urn that will allow you to plant your pets ashes, along with a seedling, that will grow into something beautiful you can remember your pet by. Lee followed the number one rule when it comes to bringing products to market: innovate in the gap. The best way to find innovation and inspiration that translates to market success is when you design or invent from a needs-based gap. As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of all invention, and people will put their money where their needs are. The need must be obvious to you and your clients or customers.
People who master this skill have figured out how to find the gaps in what people spend their money on versus what they really want and need. They then use that information to build a product that is viable. So, with that, let’s break this down into a bit more detail. There are a few more key points to focus on as you evaluate your ideas and your product viability.
How Well-Versed Are You In Your Products ‘Language’?
You absolutely must have a deep understanding (and an even deeper knowledge) of the product you want to create. Your level of expertise will greatly influence the success of your product. Knowing the ins and outs of the market you are tackling will also allow you to create a proactive plan for each step of growth, rather than a reactive plan because you were unsure of what to expect. Once you’ve gathered experience through trial-and-error, those years of experience and learning through trying will serve you in a way nothing else will.
Does It Make Sense?
If you are running a candy store full-time and are considering bringing to market a dog-grooming brush, you may want to rethink your plans. Your design plans need to fit with your existing business and how you spend the majority of your work time currently. Initially, you shouldn’t be dealing with an entire pivot. This will also help you market yourself as an expert when the time comes for your design to go live. It’s much more fathomable to buy dog grooming supplies from a veterinarian, and candy making supplies from a candy store.
With My Pet Lives On, Lee Richter found a way to fill a gap in the market. Using the tips and information above, you should be well on your way to figuring out if your design idea is going to fall on the side of necessity or not. If you are on the ‘not’ side, either engage in some market-product fit research or go back to the drawing board and use what you’ve learned to perfect your product.
Read the original INC article published on July 26, 2016.