Innovation and Prodcut Development

The first element is the product. A product is a good or service intended to meet the needs of consumers or society. Read the introductions of each section to gain an understanding of products and product development.

New product developments can be grouped into four major categories: new-to-the-company, improvement of existing product, extension of product line, and new-to-the-market.

For examples of the first three types of new product developments, we'll take a look at Just Born. The company is known for its famous "Marshmallow Peeps," and consequently its management is very interested in marshmallows. It conducted research that revealed that families use marshmallows in lots of ways, including crafts and decorating. This led Just Born to develop an Easter decorating kit that used Peeps marshmallows. It was such a hit that the company followed by creating decorating kits for Halloween and the Christmas season. Because similar products are made by other companies, the decorating kits are not "new to the market" but are "new to the company". Now, let's look at another product development involving Just Born's also famous Mike & Ike's. The marketing people at Just Born discovered that teenagers prefer to buy candies that come in pouches (which fit into their pants pockets) rather than in small boxes. In response, the company reduced the piece size, added some new ingredients, and put the Mike & Ike's in pouches. This "improvement in an existing product" resulted in a 20 percent annual sales jump for Mike & Ike's. Our last look at Just Born demonstrates an approach used by the company to "extend its existing product line". Most of us like chocolate and most of us also like marshmallow, so how about putting them together? This is just what Just Born did – the company extended its Peeps product line to include "Peeps in a chocolate egg". Consumers loved the combination, and its success prompted the company to extend its product line again and launch a chocolate crispy version for Easter.