New Product & Service Development
The product I am looking to introduce is a revolutionary cricket bat. As I play a bit of cricket I am able to assess what a bat requires and the needs a player has when using the bat. The best section on a cricket bat is the middle, if a batsmen hits the cricket ball in this part of the bat, the ball will travel much quicker as this is the strongest part of the willow. However, many bats have a very narrow and small middle, making it a challenge for the ball to make contact with it. The product I am proposing will be heavier as it will be wider but the middle will also be larger. The products aim is for more runs to be scored during a batting innings. I do believe there is a market for this type of product as I am always hearing players saying they wish they had a bigger middle.
This assignment is looking at the development of a new product into a market from the initial idea through the development process to its launch. The main areas of the activity stage model are listed below this is the main model used for this assignment:
New product idea generation
New product screening
Market study for concept development testing
Business / financial analysis
Consumer test of products
Pre-market volume forecasting
Market test / trial sell
Market launch planning
Idea Generation – This stage is predominantly identifying the ideas or products that an organisation wishes to produce within its set strategy. It also looks at ways in which these ideas can be put into practice. This will allow an organisation to build up a vast number of potential profitable products, within the set product strategy boundaries. The main departments associated with this area are research and development, design and engineering.
Product Screening – This area will look at whether or not there is enough demand for the future new product. This will asses the market structure and market capacity. The overall aim of this section is to distinguish between products, which have the potential to succeed, and ideas that are deemed to fail.
Concept Development and Testing – Within the cricket bat industry their are very few big players, this section will look at what area of the industry the new product will compete in. This section also highlights the testing of the product, with the main testing being done by offering trial uses to local players.
Business Analysis – This section will look at whether the new product is worthwhile both financially and reaching customer sales targets. This section will also detail what is the target market and the price of the product.
Product Development and Testing – This stage of the model is where the prototypes of the new product are constructed and tested. The performance of the product will be tested extensively to see if it meets expected potential and durability. The product is first tested in this section of the development, until this point the organisation do not know whether the product will be a success or even work. Also potential customers will be bought in a test the product to see if it meets with their expectation of what the product should do.
Test Marketing – This section actually conducts tests with customers, this will enable an organisation to see the reaction of the product not only by the customer but also the competitors as well. This area has advantages and disadvantages to the launch of a product, it can allow a company to gather further information, but it can also allow competitors to see how the market reacts to the new product.
Commercialisation or Launch – This is predominately the most expensive process within the new development procedure. This section looks at when the product will be launched, where the product will be launched and finally whom the product will be launched for. Large multi national organisations must also decide which countries the product will be launch in and also whether the product will suffer from seasonality.
I had a little think about what sort of product the organisation could introduce into a market, which is not already saturated. I decided to introduce a new product into an area of a market I know something about. As I play cricket I am able to relate to this area of industry and I am able to understand the needs that a player requires from a cricket bat. One of the major problems many batsmen face is normally about the middle of the bat, the most efficient section of the product. This has led me to propose the making of a cricket bat with an enlarge middle.
This would enable a batsmen play more scoring shots. This type of product would definitely be of interest to everybody who plays the game of cricket as it could enhance the possibility of winning the game. This idea will be very easy to enter the market and in theory put into practice. A lot of marketing within cricket is done by word of mouth between players of the same team or different teams. Also most cricket shops are owned and run by specialised personnel who play the game and normally advise a potential customer on what product would be best suited for each individual. These individuals normally take the advice given, so in theory if the shop owner likes the new product, they will aid the selling process.
I do believe that although there are a number of major players within the cricket equipment sector of the industry, I do believe that the market has not yet reach saturation point. However, it could prove very challenging to enter the market as many of the products have built up loyalty with the consumers and have gained substantial market shares. I feel that when cricket players here of my new product, which offers the potential for more scoring shots the product can poach customer from the big players within the market such as Slazenger and Gunn and Moore. I do feel that there will always be enough demand for cricket bats, this is largely due to the fact that many clubs with youth teams are always purchasing bats as their numbers are increasing nationally as cricket is fast becoming popular again. Also many adult cricketers like to have two or three cricket bats each as most are superstitious and they believe that different bats will bring luck to them. This shows that there will always be a demand for cricket bats especially now as numbers of enthusiasts are growing annually largely due to the success of the England national team over the past two years.
Concept Development & Testing
Although the cricket bat market is a large and competitive section I do feel that there is sufficient room within the industry for another product. There are five to six big main players who represent almost 80% of the market, the rest of the market is made up of smaller specialised shops whose employees make bats individually for order. An example of this can be seen in Globe Sports Bristol where you can have a bat made just for you by one of the Australian Employees. As a means of testing the product, I feel the best way would to offer free bats to individuals at a local level standard of cricket. This way these people could actually test the new bats first hand during a game and it allows them to see how successful the new product will be. Once feedback is obtained the possibility is there to extend the testing to professional players and international cricketers. This form of testing allows an organisation to obtain honest feedback from potential customers, commenting on possible improvements, advantages or disadvantages on the product. I do feel that the new product will be able to compete against all competitors once consumers realise the new feature of our product, allowing bats to make more scoring shots.
I do feel that the launch of the new product should commence as it has the potential to succeed and compete against the most trusted bats within the market. The reason I believe this is due to the increased middle area of the bat, which will offer batsmen a wider range shots available. I feel this product will also make players far more adventurous thus making cricket lose it boring game reputation. Other factors to be considered are:
Target age range
Potential market share
Volume of units made
I believe that this bat will not be restricted to a specific age range, I feel that anyone interested in playing cricket would fit into the age range for this product. However, I believe that this product will specifically appeal to an age range of 15 to 45 years old. In cricket clubs people between these ages have the most desire to win and be successful, this is why I feel this age range is suitable for the product.
Looking at prices across the market a good quality and standard bat will cost in the region of ï¿½100 pounds to ï¿½200 pounds. The actual material used is not a great expenditure, the only real outlay would be the time and employee takes to make the bat. After chatting with the manager of Globe Sports in Bristol, he told me that it takes about six hours to make a bat. With this in mind I believe the total cost of making the bat to be about ï¿½60. If the organisation sell the product ï¿½150 well within competitors prices each bat will have almost 150% mark up. This alone highlights the fact that providing target customers are reached the product can succeed.
I believe that the aim of the first year of business is attempt to gain access to the market and to survive. After that year, I believe a 25% market share is a realistic target to achieve, especially with a high advertising budget. Another good way of generating publicity is to sponsor international and popular cricketers, who have influence over what the general public purchase, an example of this would be Brian Lara (the David Beckham of cricket). When Brian Lara uses a certain bat, that product suddenly becomes one of the highest selling products within the industry. I believe in order to gain a 25% market share, the organisation and product must attract customers from Slazenger, Gray Nicholls, Gunn and Moore and M & H. These are seen as the major players within the cricket bat sector of the industry. The major drawback is that these companies have an established product and clientele, which will be hard to tempt away. However, I do strongly believe that our new product will be of better quality and more intriguing to the general customer.
Within in the first year I feel the number of units produced should be kept to a minimum. I believe the most cost effective way to introduce the new product will be to sell it in a specific region first e.g. The South West Area. This area has a high proportion of local, Minor County and County cricket teams, which are well supported. This will allow a general customer base to be built up. Another benefit to less units being made, as it will only be sold on a local scale it will show how successful and the potential of the product. This approach will also not drain the resources of the organisation, as expenditure should be kept to a minimum.
There are many products on the market at the moment, with the top selling brands coming from organisations such as Gray Nicholls, Gunn and Moore and M and H. All these companies provide good quality products at competitive rates. However, the idea of a bat with an increased middle will appeal to potential customers and none of these other organisations provide a product, which is similar. This new bat will also be exceptionally competitive with prices as well as quality.
Product Development and Testing
Once the prototype has been constructed I will personally test it in an indoor cricket net, using a bowling machine. This way all possible weaknesses can be identified, as the test will consist of starting at 30mph and bowling six bowls. The speed of the bowling machine will then be raised 10mph and another six bowls will be bowled. This will continue up to 99mph to test the quality, durability and strength of the product. The machines settings will then be set to spin, this will then allow the bat to be tested against spin bowling, once again to see how it reacts and also test the quality, durability and strength.
Once these tests have reached completion one bat will be given to each of the ten teams within the top league in the South West, The Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset premier league. The reason for choosing this league is that it has the best batsmen and bowlers to test the product, another factor is that I play in this league and can see first hand how the new product withstands the pressures forced upon it. Each player that uses the bat will then be required to filter feedback to the organisation about the products strengths and weaknesses. These ideas will then be analysed to see if there is anyway the product can be improved. As a thank you to the people taking part in the test, if they wish they will be allowed to keep the new bat free of charge.
I propose to use a similar strategy as in product development and testing however, the testing conducted will be done on a much wider scale. I propose the sponsorship of a number of professional cricketers to see the reaction of the product at the top level of the game. This will also help the advertising of the product, once again the large proportion of testing will be conducted at local level, as this is where the highest percentage of potential customers play cricket. I aim to also test the new bat in rainy conditions to see what sort of effect the rain will have upon the willow. This will prove the weather durability of the product. By conducting a wide range of tests the aim is to not only see the product’s performance but also increase publicity surrounding the cricket bat. The major drawback to this approach is it will allow our competitors to see the new product in action, thus allowing them to conduct research and start designing their own brand in competition.
Commercialisation or Launch
The cricket season has already begun this year, so I propose we aim to launch the product around December 2003 to January 2004. This will then allow the product to be on the shelves in time for next season. This is due to the seasonality of the game of cricket. To create awareness I aim to hold shows at Gloucestershire and Somerset County Cricket Clubs on the first game of their season to promote the new bat. As I am launching on a local level this will definitely have a positive effect on awareness about my new cricket bat.
The launch plays a really important role, as without a successful launch potential customers may not even realise the product exists. Another way I aim to conquer this is by sponsoring two local professional cricketers, one from Gloucestershire (Jonty Rhodes) and one from Somerset (Markus Trestchoick). When we decide to launch the bat on a national scale I will aim to sponsor a more famous and renowned player such as Brian Lara or Sachin Tendulker. I feel that sponsorship of players in cricket is definitely the best way of keeping the product in the public eye.
In conclusion I do feel that the cricket bat market is exceptionally competitive, however, there is still room for another organisation to enter the market. There are only five or six major companies within the industry and none have a product similar to ours. This will then allow us to compete and tempt their customers away to gain our loyalty allowing us to gain an increased market share. I do believe that achieving a 25% market share by the second year of business is hard but not impossible due to the diversity of our product. I also do believe that other companies may attempt to use our idea and start designing bats with increased middle area, this would then offer stiff competition to our product as the virtual mini monopoly would have been taken away. If this were to happen, I believe the best way to defend the position within the market would be to lower prices and compete that way with competitors.