What Is Speed to Market and Why Is It Important?
Updated June 24, 2022
Many businesses work quickly to get their latest products to consumers as fast as they can to stay competitive in their industry. Being focused on their speed to market can mean the difference in whether the public considers a company to be a leader or a follower. If you are interested in learning how speed to market can help you, it's helpful to know what it is and why it's important. In this article, we discuss what speed to market is, why it's important and best practices.
Related: What Is the Innovative Process?
What is speed to market?
Speed to market is a product development term used to define how long it takes a company to conceive of an idea, develop it and get it to its customers. How fast a company's speed to market is can determine the success of its product and whether it stays ahead of its competition. The term encompasses the entire life cycle of a product, which includes:
Why is speed to market important?
Your speed to market is important because it dictates how fast you'll get your product to your customers and whether you're faster than your competition. Delivering your product before your competitors is a market advantage and can help you develop a reputation as an industry leader.
As an industry leader, you can start trends with innovative ideas and become the business consumers watch for new products and ideas from. Reaching consumers quicker than your competition can help you learn what your customers want quickly and make your brand more recognizable. Other reasons speed to market is important may include:
Reduction in research and development costs
Reduction in waste
Improvement in customer satisfaction
How is speed to market measured?
You can measure speed to market in several ways and may depend on your preferences, for example:
It's the time from concept creation until the product reaches the market.
It's the time from when the product development team starts to when the product launches.
Speed to market can also depend on several factors such as product type, complexity and the industry you're in. Often, the size of the project and the level of risk can also affect how fast you can get your product to market.
9 speed to market best practices
Here are nine best practices you can consider for your speed to market:
1. Have a detailed roadmap
As you get started working on your idea, it's helpful to have a clear roadmap for your team to follow. Draft your vision with a detailed plan of how you will get your product designed and made. This is where you and your team can decide on materials and workflow, and also discuss potential risks or roadblocks to your product development.
Related: Strategic Vision: A Definitive Guide
2. Keep your focus
While speed may be essential to getting your product to market, it can also be important to maintain your focus on your vision and your goal. As your development team builds your product, you might ensure fewer delays by focusing only on the specific product and not any extra features or ideas until after it goes to market or right before.
3. Remember to communicate
Product development can have many team members working at one time, or different teams working on separate parts of your product, so communication may be key. You can ensure constant, clear communication using various channels and having regular meetings to keep everyone focused and knowledgeable about other teams' work.
Related: Q&A: Why Is Communication Important?
4. Develop an MVP
You may develop an MVP, or minimum viable product, to release before your final product. This can help to get your brand and product out even faster, which may help get early feedback on whether there's interest from consumers. Releasing an MVP can be a test to see how your customers feel about the product and what issues there may be so you can make adjustments during development.
5. Invest in a marketing strategy
Before releasing your product to the public, you may want to first develop and invest in a marketing strategy. This can include an announcement on your website, social media platforms and press releases to relevant media organizations. You can also offer special discounts or presentations to attract consumers' attention to your expected product launch.
6. Expect and embrace change
Product development can be a process full of changes, so it's helpful to expect and embrace any changes by being agile and ready to make adjustments. You might prepare to add resources or team members if needed or modify the direction of your product's development if something occurs, for example, if a material you planned to use isn't available.
7. Use outsourcing
If your product requires resources you don't have readily available, you might consider outsourcing some of the work. Especially for new businesses or products, it may be quicker and more cost-effective to use an outside organization or individual to work on a portion of your product. Types of work you can consider outsourcing may include:
Social media management
Related: The Advantages of Outsourcing
8. Use a shorter supply chain
To deliver their products to their consumers, businesses often use a supply chain with vendors and other companies or individuals. Using a shortened supply chain, for example, shipping directly to consumers can speed your product to market faster than if you follow a traditional supply chain. You might examine ways to make your supply chain more flexible or efficient.
9. Consider a project manager
You might consider hiring a project manager or project management team to plan and operate your product development. Project managers have the skills for organizing and directing large and small projects, ensuring they stay on time and on budget. They also can make sure your product development team has the resources it needs.
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