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Blog - How we brought a new product to market

Blog - How we brought a new product to market

By Paul Hughes, CEO Integra Systems

Following on from the blog post How We Came Up With a New Product

So you’ve created a new product, gone through prototype stages and market research and now you’ve settled on the ideal version of that product you believe is market-ready. But how will you make it known to the world?

For us at Integra Systems, we were on a steep learning curve when it came to marketing our own WorkSmart Collection of BioSmart and AeroSmart workstation solutions because, in the past, the selling of these products had not been part of our business model. We made innovative products but we made them for other people, and then they went away and did whatever was required to take to market.

You could say we came from behind the eight-ball in bringing our own new products to market but we learnt and we learnt fast.

Don’t think you know it all – let SWOT tell you

We knew we had identified an unmet market need with the quality and humanity of our sit-stand desks before we even created them so we had strength there. Still, we made sure we performed a full SWOT analysis to meticulously (and honestly) chart all our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

What is the market currently doing? What is it tolerating? What are our competitors doing? What does our buyer profile look like? These were all questions that we asked ourselves. We realised we could not leave any stone unturned if we wanted our WorkSmart Collection to cut through the noise of the marketplace.

Will you be putting your money where your mouth is?

It’s easy to commit so much cash to the actualisation of a product that nothing is left for bringing it to market. So you need to be mindful at each stage of your product creation, where is the money coming from and how much have I spent?

Ours has been a fully self-funded commercialisation but some product developers may choose to fund the initial development themselves and then seek some form of third-party financial support (i.e. government or investor) for the marketing or, indeed, fund the entire process with the money of others. That’s a whole other beast in itself.

Whichever path you choose, make no bones about it – commercialisation is really expensive. By organically funding our product, we found that it took a little longer to get it to market than if we had a cash injection but we sacrificed speed to market for total authority over our product.

Give your online presence a purpose

Once we had developed a mature product, we needed to consider the various ways the market would prefer to purchase it.

Given our market is more B2B in nature, we decided our online presence would not be selling for us but, instead, supporting our sales conversations. We needed somewhere for businesses and government to gather information about BioSmart and AeroSmart, without actually purchasing online, so our dedicated product website was equipped to handle this responsibility.

Don’t get me wrong – there are the occasional random orders of our sit-stand desks being made online, so the website is e-commerce-enabled, but our primary focus is on the bulk commercial orders. Corporates usually have a buying centre for purchases so they need to all be on the same page, and having good information centralised on a website can help facilitate that scenario.

You may have a product but what’s your brand?

Integra Systems is known as an integrated solutions provider, where we have strong market position, but it was not going to help us sell our own products. We needed to create a separate brand that supported our beliefs but was also broad enough to accommodate the introduction of further products down the track.

Integra Systems is known as an integrated solutions provider, where we have strong market position, but it was not going to help us sell our own products. We needed to create a separate brand that supported our beliefs but was also broad enough to accommodate the introduction of further products down the track.

So we asked ourselves, what are we truly about? Our answer: Innovating for performance. Around this tagline, Integra TransForm – a subsidiary company/brand to Integra Systems – was born.

Within the Integra Transform branding umbrella and brand values, we were able to segment our collections. For example, the BioSmart desk converter is really the flagship product for the WorkSmart Collection, so we had to market that differently to the AeroSmart workstation sit-stand solution. Even though a BioSmart customer may take a look at AeroSmart, their needs are very different – they want an ergonomic solution that is more flexible and works in with their current office furniture, whereas the AeroSmart customer is building their workplace from the ground up.

The two types of customers have similar needs and profiles from a segmentation perspective but their decision-making process is different.

The value of your product needs to be front and centre

In terms of finding market cut-through, there were a few brands dominating the sit-stand desk market but we knew their products were either cumbersome or – on the flipside – too flimsy, especially when compared to ours. These products have clearly been built for a price but were not sufficiently meeting the market’s needs.

We could see, with the BioSmart and AeroSmart, the one-touch action, robustness and the longevity of use of both products were where our value lay. This is a major value proposition for us, and where we continue to maintain focus. Corporate customers are starting to get behind us and make the investment in a product they can see is going to go the distance for them, and motivate and inspire the user, as well as being moveable and flexible for hotdesking.

The sales effort that has to go behind targeting the right people in the market is a major commitment. You need to resource it. Given that Integra creates products for performance, we know how to make changes on the fly so our flexibility is what makes us different. But that flexibility cannot just be on the factory floor. We made a point of ensuring our sales and business development works closely with design team to ensure we are always prepped for action.

Unlike putting a square peg in a round hole and expecting a sales team to go out and just flog a product, we are always prepared to modify the product and ensure market challenges are overcome. We could say this is our secret weapon but – never forget – coming up with a product and then bringing it to market is the synchronicity of many factors and many elements.

Be committed. Be passionate. Be resilient. Persevere. And make sure you have the dollars to back it all up.

For more details about the WorkSmart Collection, visit the Integra TransForm website

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Published in Blog
K2_WRITTEN_ON April 20 2017
Written by Erika Hughes