8 Steps in Developing A Marketable/Profitable Football Product in Nigeria

This is the reason many football products fail in Nigeria, because the organizers do not go through the new product development  process. As a result many continue with unmarketable/unprofitable concepts and loose millions of naira in their passionate venture.

Passion is not enough to drive and sustain your football product idea. The Toyota popular Ad says "Good Thinking, Good Product..." and I add "Good Business!."

It is obvious, not every football concept is good business in Nigeria. So don't just feel you have a great idea and out of excitement you quickly push it out to the market without subjecting it through the new product development (NPD) process.

Whether it is a football tournament, game show, trial test; merchandizing manufacturing  or entirely new product.... whether it is a simple or sophiscated concept, subject it to go through this cardinal progress.

The New Product Development process is often referred to as The Stage-Gate innovation process, developed by Dr. Robert G. Cooper as a result of comprehensive research on reasons why products succeed and why they fail.

Your great football idea can as quickly hit the rock in the marketplace the same way it was launched  in a hasty fashion... and you may loose all your financial and time invested on a rather not marketable product.

When you are able to assemble a team of well knowledgeable and experienced people in the football industry in Nigeria... to collaborate in developing your intended new product, having the following eight new product developmental repertoire... This will ensure that the product overall marketability will relatively come out well and accurarely... or you may have to drop the idea if found otherwise. It starts with:

Step 1: Idea Generation

Utilizing basic internal and external SWOT analyses, as well as current marketing trends, one can generate football ideologies which considers affordability, Return On Investment, and widespread distribution costs into account. Lean, mean and scalable ideas are the key points to keep in mind.

During the NPD process, keep the system nimble and use flexible discretion to find out which football needs can be marketable (i.e monetized). You may want to develop multiple versions of your road map scaled to suit different type of consumers or users...and look at all the risks involved.

Step 2: Screening The Idea

Nigeria possesses a more complex football industry than most other developed economies in Europe, Therefore, you may see many new innovative ideas stop with Step 2 – screening.  Do a go or a drop analysis!  Set specific business criteria for ideas that should be continued or dropped. Stick to the agreed upon criteria so poor projects can be sent back to the idea-hopper early enough and save you all the troubles.

It could be very risky to just lift a football product idea that's  doing well in say Europe and you feel it will also do well in Nigeria market.

Product development costs can be cut in areas like “prescreening product ideas,” means taking your Top 3 ~new innovative ideas and analyize what benefits end consumers could expect (the unique selling proposition) of your new product etc.

 An interesting industry fact: football consultants will often compare growth in other entertainment market with football consumption. Therefore, when football is rated number one sports in Nigeria, never assume that it is so with all aspects of the entertainment industry... the music industry comparably may be doing better and so is nollywood. How can your new product compete favorably in the entertainment industry as a whole.

Step 3: Testing The Concept

As Gaurav Akrani has said, “Concept testing is done after idea screening.” And it is important to note, it is different from test marketing.

Aside from patent research, design due diligence, and other legalities involved with new product development; knowing where the marketing messages will work best is often the biggest part of testing the concept.  Who are your target market? Does football consumers understand, need, or want the product or service you are offering? Is there any feature or variables you need to adjust to make it click?

 Step 4: Business Analytics

During the New Product Development process, build a system of metrics to monitor progress. Include input metrics, such as average time in each stage, as well as output metrics that measure the value of launched products, percentage of new product sales and other figures that provide valuable feedback. It is important for an organization to be in agreement with these criteria and metrics.

Even if an idea doesn’t turn into product, keep it in the hopper because it can prove to be a valuable asset for future products and a basis for learning and growth.

Step 5: Marketability Tests

Arranging private test groups, launching beta versions, and then forming test panels after the product or products have been tested will provide you with valuable information allowing last minute improvements and tweaks. Not to mention helping to generate a small amount of buzz.

Samples tested in selected market to gain feedback on consumers reactions and buying behaviors...Acid test for the 5 ps of marketing:  product core and features, Pricing penetration or scemmering, distribution- how, where and when consumers need the product... And off course promotion across selected media channels and sales promotional schemes; then Public relation= community relations + Media ralations.

Step 6:  Product Development + Technicalities

Provided the technical aspects can be perfected without alterations to post-beta products, heading towards a smooth commercialization is imminent. According to Akrani, in this step, “The production department will make plans to produce the product. The marketing department will make plans to distribute the product. The finance department will provide the finance for introducing the new product”.

As an example; In sportswear manufacturing, the process before sending technical specs to machinery involves printing MSDS sheets, a requirement for retaining an ISO 9001 certification (the organizational structure, procedures, processes and resources needed to implement quality management.)

Step 7: Commercialize

At this stage, your new product developments have gone mainstream, consumers are purchasing your good or service, and technical support is consistently monitoring progress.  Keeping your distribution pipelines loaded with products is an integral part of this process too, as one prefers not to give physical (or perpetual) shelf space to competition.

 Refreshing advertisements during this stage will create awareness and keep your product’s name firmly supplanted into the minds of those in the contemplation stages of purchase. Football consumers and users should have it in front of their mind always (dynamic and continuous promotions) is the key.

Step 8: Post Launch Review and Perfect Pricing

Review the NPD process efficiency and look for continues improvements. Most new products are introduced with introductory pricing, in which final prices are nailed down after consumers have ‘gotten in’.  In this final stage, you’ll gauge overall value relevant to COGS (cost of goods sold), making sure internal costs aren’t overshadowing new product profits.

You continuously differentiate consumer need at each of your products life cycle, forecast profits and improve delivery process whether physical, or digital, products are being perpetuated.

Remember: Football products are not usually manufacturing like sports equipments and wears. It could be tournament, reality show, Award night, fans festival... It could be stadium arena, team players and style... It could be media - football newspapers, online magazine, live scores and fixtures, live television broadcast... Whatever it may be, make sure you subject it to NPD process to ensure marketability and profit generation.

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