KWF Consulting was engaged by a large international science publisher to develop new products, starting with a list of internally generated ideas.

After initial meetings with the executive team, reviewing background documents, and analyzing relevant data, we interviewed opinion leaders including Nobel Laureates in the sciences regarding emerging areas of interest. For ideas not removed from consideration, we prepared one-page descriptions of each product including similar products already in existence, anecdotal information from the market, and a ballpark estimate of revenues or market share that products may be expected to generate. KWF Consulting also subjected each idea to the following questions:

  • Is the idea consistent with the mission and goals of the publisher?
  • Is it easy to think of this product as being part of the publisher’s brand?
  • Broadly speaking, who would purchase or use the product?
  • Do we believe it is capable of being financially successful; profitable?
  • Would it be better/possible to acquire/partner rather than develop this product from scratch?
  • Does the publisher feel confident that it could successfully compete with or complement similar products?
  • Does the publisher have, or could it easily acquire, resources to develop, market, and distribute product?
  • Are the publisher and board enthusiastic about the concept?

The goal in this phase was to weed out ideas that appeared unworthy of further investigation, to modify ideas that appeared to have promise if conceptualized differently, and to identify those ideas believed to have the greatest potential. Once the list of ideas believed to have merit was developed, the concepts were further developed and tested. Some ideas were dropped after this additional scrutiny.

To further develop concepts, KWF Consulting collaborated with the publisher to assemble a cross-functional team of staff members. We provided each participant with a package of materials containing descriptions of the remaining list of products. Team members met to prioritize the concepts by most-favored, least-favored order. Unpopular concepts were dropped from further consideration. Initial ideas for possible expert managers, editors, or authors for the concept were presented. Additional potential attributes, features, or sections also were identified. To gain a preliminary test of the concepts in the market, experts were re-interviewed, a series of focus groups (and in depth, international telephone interviews) were conducted, and a large-scale potential user survey was undertaken.

At this stage, the list of potential products had been pared, rough prototypes developed, and the market for each product conceptualized. Working with members of the publisher’s marketing department, marketing strategies were developed, including the following:

  • An overview of the target market(s) and market penetration goals
  • Identification of the publisher’s distinctive competencies and the product’s unique market position
  • Brand identity, including registration of the product’s name for copyright and/or trademark protection
  • Proposed pricing, distribution channels, and the initial plan and budget for the product launch
  • Longer term financial goals and marketing strategy
  • Business model and detailed financial and return on investment (ROI) projections

The foregoing intensive development cycle led to the publication of three major new products. The publisher extended its engagement with KWF Consulting to include overseeing successful publication launches. We since have heard from the client that the titles continue to exceed expectations.

KWF Consulting is a leading management consultancy serving the scholarly publishing community.

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