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Commercialization is often confused with sales, marketing, or business development. The commercialization process has three key aspects:
The funnel. It is essential to look at many ideas to get one or two products or businesses that can be sustained long-term.
It is a stage-wise process, and each stage has its own key goals and milestones.
It is vital to involve key stakeholders early, including customers.
Proposed commercialization of a product can raise the following questions:
When to launch. Factors such as potential cannibalization of the sales of a vendor's other products, any requirement for further improvement of the proposed new product, or unfavorable market conditions may operate to delay a product launch.
Where to launch. A potential vendor can start marketing in a single location, in one or several regions, or in a national or international market. Existing resources (in terms of capital, and operational capacities) and the degree of managerial confidence may strongly influence the proposed launch-mode. Smaller vendors usually launch in attractive cities or regions, while larger companies enter a national market at once.
Global roll-outs generally remain the exclusive preserve of multinational conglomerates, since they have the necessary size and make use of international distribution systems (e.g., Unilever, Procter & Gamble). Other multinationals may use the "lead-country" strategy: introducing the new product in one country/region at a time (e.g. Colgate-Palmolive).
Whom to target. Research and test marketing may identify a primary consumer group. The ideal primary consumer group should consist of innovators, early adopters, heavy users and/or opinion leaders. This will ensure adoption by other buyers in the market during the product-growth period.
How to launch. The prospective vendor should decide on an action plan for introducing its proposed product - plan shaped by addressing the questions above. The vendor has to develop a viable marketing-mix and to structure a corresponding marketing-budget.