Product or Service Development & Marketing Plan
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I. Product Development
Innovation can be supported through trying new ways of doing things to create your product and iterative product development in which you create many versions and learn from failures. Each product version is tested and then modified according to the results. Even after you develop a successful prototype, products are often modified to gain regulatory approval, reduce costs and time involved in mass production, or respond to customer feedback.
Product development goes through the following stages (Calvello, 2022):
1. Prototype Development
Develop a prototype that proves your concept is feasible. Decide whether to develop the prototype yourself in-house or to outsource it.
2. Transition to Product Production
Transition to the efficient production of a viable product. Work under a non-disclosure agreement with industrial designers, user interface and user functionality designers, engineers (e.g., mechanical, electrical, software), and project manufacturers.
Plan for the following aspects of production:
- Refine the design for mass production.
- Plan for technical challenges, costs, and time. The cost per unit must be less than what the market will pay.
- Find a manufacturer that can produce the volume you need. Choose materials and tools with engineers and designers.
- Plan testing to show your product meets any requirements.
- Plan to scale up production to respond to demand.
Technology Readiness Level
Technology readiness level (TRL) describes how close a product is to being available to customers (BIRAC, 2023; Hook-Barnard et al., 2013). There are nine TRLs, with the lowest being “basic research” completed and the highest being a product that is “ready for deployment.” You might need to describe your technology’s TRL in an application for a business loan, a grant proposal, or a pitch to potential investors. See the “Challenge” tab to learn about the levels.
BIRAC. BIRAC-TRLS: Technology Readiness Levels by BIRAC Across Areas Under Biotechnology. Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). February 14, 2023.
Calvello M. How to Go From Product Conception to Manufacturing: A Step-by-Step Guide. SCORE. December 6, 2022.
Hook-Barnard I, Norris S, Alper J, et al. Technology Readiness Levels in the Department of Defense. Washington: National Academies Press (US); December 31, 2013.
II. Marketing Plan
Most biotech and life science companies are sold business-to-business, so your strategy needs to target their decision-makers. Use the results of your market research to understand how best to reach them, familiarize them with your brand, and convince them to buy your product or service. To stand out from other companies. . .
- Make your product seem exciting and dynamic, such as by using videos. Show the positive outcomes of using your product or service.
- Highlight a commitment to quality.
- Portray your team’s positive qualities.
- Show satisfied customers using your product or service.
- Invite potential customers to visit your facilities.
- Break complicated technology down into a few selling points that highlight the most exciting features.
Mechanisms often used to market biotechnology include. . .
- Social Media – Use this essential tool to make your target customer aware of your brand and drive them to your website, blog, or podcast. LinkedIn and Twitter are particularly important channels for marketing in the life sciences (Manosso, 2020).
- Website – Learn about search engine optimization. Use keywords that your customers will use to find you. Use data analytics to understand the source of your website’s traffic. Effective features on your website include. . .
- Relevant, useful, and easily consumed content, such as blogs, podcasts, or webinars.
- Videos to help potential customers understand your product and give it a dynamic presentation.
- Testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Easy access to your sales department.
- Trade Shows – Post a schedule for the shows you plan to attend. Offer free samples if possible.
Product or Service Sales & Distribution Plan
Decide how you will sell and deliver your product or service. For example, will you. . .
- Use online ordering?
- Sell directly to the customer or to a vendor who will sell the product to individual customers?
- Extend credit or offer a bulk discount?
These questions and many more will need to be answered as your business moves into the stages of development beyond the steps covered in Steps to a Startup.
Facet Interactive (kevin). Top 10 Content Marketing Strategies for Biotech. Facet Interactive | Digital Strategy Agency. December 26, 2016.
Manosso L. The Beginner’s Guide to Biotech & Life Science Marketing. Labiotech.eu. June 4, 2020.
Padhan N. The Complete Guide to Digital Marketing for Biotech Companies. LinkedIn. December 10, 2021.
Sriram R. Content Marketing for Biotech & Pharma: The Ultimate Guide. The Kolabtree Blog. November 20, 2020.
Team Linchpin. The Beginners Guide To Biotech Marketing. November 24, 2021.