A product that has passed the screen and business analysis stages is ready for technical and marketing development. Technical development involves two steps. The first is the applied laboratory research required to develop exact product specifications. The goal of this research is to construct a prototype model of the product that can be subjected to further study. Once the prototype has been created, manufacturing-methods research can be undertaken to plan the best way of making the product in commercial quantities under normal manufacturing conditions. This is an extremely important step, because there is a significant distinction between what an engineer can assemble in a laboratory and what a factory worker can produce.
While the laboratory technicians are working on the prototype, the marketing department is responsible for testing the new product with its intended consumers and developing the other elements of the marketing mix. The testing process usually begins with the concept test. The product concept is a synthesis or a description of a product idea that reflects the core element of the proposed product. For example, a consumer group might be assembled and the interview session might begin with the question: "How about something that would do this?"
The second aspect of market development involves consumer testing of the product idea. This activity must usually await the construction of tile prototype or, preferably, limited production models. Various kinds of consumer preference can be conducted. The product itself can be exposed to consumer taste or use tests. Packaging, labeling, and other elements in the mix can be similarly studied. Comparison tests are also used.