One of the biggest issues confronting modern managers is the problem of properly planning and implementing new products and services. Product and service launches are typically associated with millions of dollars in expenditures. Often times these products ultimately fail as a result of bad planning. There are good prospects for those interested in product planning all over, including positions in marketing of consumer products, consumer services, hospital and medical services, and public service programs. Working as a new product planner can help enhance skills in understanding marketing research, sales forecasting, and promotional planning.
Prospects for careers can be found in consumer industries, advertising agencies, consulting firms, public agencies, medical agencies, retailing management, and many more. Such a wide array of industries affords those with aspirations to become marketing planners with a promising future.
Formal jobs in product planning are becoming increasingly abundant. Traditionally, such jobs carry titles such as “assistant manager/director” of product planning or new product development. Bigger companies have these types of positions available in staff departments. The preferred level of education to fill such positions is an MBA, though it is not necessarily required. Typically undergraduates are brought on as “new product assistants.”
New product work requires a special combination of creative and analytical abilities. A “product planner” has to have the ability to visualize and conceptualize new ideas, research out new ideas and products, and perform an objective market and financial evaluation of the new products.
Not similar to management of established businesses, managing product development requires a person that is adaptable and tolerant of the constant changes brought on by the nature of developing new products. Planners performance report cards are quite visible, as they are graded on whether the product succeeded or not. The stress and uncertainty surrounding product planning is countered by the joy that comes from birthing new ideas and products into the market.
The majority of new product planning positions make a bachelor’s degree the minimum requirement, while typically MBA’s are preferable.