Successful Product Life Cycle Execution requires a disciplined approach, process driven mindset and accountability for execution. This is easier said than done, and their are many companies doing a lot of talking while others execute.

Execution is the most critical ingredient to ensuring proper Product Life Cycle management. Other components which are part of the pre-planning process such as Product/Category Line Planning, Master Scheduling, Critical Path Analysis, PDCA Reporting, Market/Competitive Analysis are also crucial, but the ability to execute against your plan is integral. Once you have done your pre-line planning (i.e Styles, Price Tiers, Merchandising, etc…), developed a comprehensive Market/Industry Analysis, then a detailed Master Schedule is created. This should effectively track the progress towards the commercialization of your product.

The Master Schedule acts as barometer to gauge progress, assures proper resource allocation and in a “true” world is dependent. When dependent scheduling is mastered, the planned commercialization date is never compromised. This is crucial to proper execution, as accountability is assured and teamwork is needed. The single biggest issue facing the Product Life Cycle team is missed commercialization dates, as many departments are affected when this date is missed or is constantly being updated. As you move along the product “food chain”, if dates are missed, marketing cannot activate programs and sales can not effectively plan for seasonal presentations to key customers.

This is why I say “execution” is the “key” ingredient in the Product Life Cycle process. You can plan on paper, but unless you track to a definitive date for product line commercialization, then your ability to succeed is diminished.

Clearly define your “Product Life Cycle” process…

Track progress, and do not compromise…

Hold individuals/departments accountable…

Execute against your plan..!

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer

www. bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog”



One the most important aspects of Product Creation is being inspired to create an “Innovative” design, one that sets you apart from the competition and becomes the new category standard. However, if the capacity to bring that “break-away” design/innovation to life does not exist, then it remains a great design, nothing more…. This ability to bring an innovative design to life is inherent in the “core” competency of your selected sourcing.

This is why tying the overall Product Lifecycle process together is so important to the vision of not only the brand, but the company as a whole. In building a cohesive lifecycle team, they challenge one another to build what others say can not be done. If a brand truly believes in “Innovation” and hangs there brand MO on this flagship standard, then the vision has to match the reality. The reality is that from “Ideation” through the “Commercialization” of the product, others will challenge this engrained philosophy, but if you accomplish and break through this self limiting mentality, then the expectation will always be what can we “re-invent” (Great) vs what can we “improve” (Good).

A Good product is one that has not yet reached Greatness….

Always look to out-Innovate yourself, and others will have no choice but to follow.. I would rather always have the lead, than to follow and always wonder who is about to pass me…

Stay True… Be Authentic

Enjoy the Ride…!
Bryan Smeltzer

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog”




The “Art of Destruction” is key to successfully building a long term brand that brings a constant “Point of Difference” to the marketplace. With this principle in place as part of your overall evolutionary process, you will never have a shortage of creative ideas, concepts and “pipeline” of product progressions or reinventions.

This “Destruction” principle follows very closely the concept of “Out-Innovating” yourself, as I had talked about previously, however it builds upon this principle and allows the Product, Marketing and Design teams to think completely “outside the box”. When implemented in combination with one another, the brands marketplace positioning is always protected both short term and long term. Implementing the “Destruction” concept is difficult and requires a more engrained long term thought process. This process takes into account competitive reactions, marketplace implications, product life cycles and adoption rates on a long term basis.

The overall intent and reasoning behind “Destruction” is to always find a way to “re-invent” yourself to your “core”, early adopter consumer through new product introductions, relevant brand content or enhanced technologies that move your brand into another level of “Evolution”. Although difficult it is a necessary part of your product portfolio, and brand “authentication”. What is your next “Break-Away” Design/Product..?

Always look for ways to destruct your current products or category…

Always re-invent yourself with “Flagship” Products…

Always leave your competitors wondering “What is Next”..

Welcome to the “Art of Destruction”..!

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer


“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog…”





Strategic Brand Marketing starts and ends with Product. The most effective marketing programs are developed on the front end of the product line planning process, and evolve throughout the design “ideation” cycle. This is why it is critical to have the Marketing team involved at the front end of the process, and part of the product design “evolution”.

As with any truly “great” brand, they have a process to continually evolve, take the “lead” and leave their competitors sniffing fumes. The goal is always to “out-innovate” yourself, and most companies speak these words with no action, but the true “innovators” inject this foundation into their bloodlines..! In order for these brands to continually drive new innovation and have it connect with their brand followers, they must be able to convey this “passion” through effective brand marketing. This stepped process begins on the front with defining the brand opportunities, competitive challenges/threats, strengths and weaknesses that need to be improved (SWOT). Once this is complete, the team defines the new product line plan, positioning, SKU/Merchandising mix and moves on to the Creative Engine. This creative engine is what makes or breaks a “true” brand. You must have a process where marketing is engrained with the design team, and understanding their mindset when designs are created. Through the Design Briefing process, marketing will get an inside look at what the designers utilize for Inspiration. These inspirational keys will also drive how this “design evolution” is translated to the brands consumer.

By implementing this process, marketing is able to get in the designers mindset and ensure that the product evolution is translated to both the retailer and “core” consumer through strategic Product Marketing programs. This process creates an effective & efficient marketing machine, unique the brand..!

Build a Brand Driven, Product Creation process…

Engrain Marketing in the Design process…

Engrain Design in the Marketing process…

Translate the Product Evolution…

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer


“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog..”


A Brand IS a lifestyle choice for a consumer, not a product choice. Growth for a branded consumer products driven company is driven by your ability to create a lifestyle for your “core” customer first, and then balance it’s extension beyond this base. This is a very delicate balancing act, as a significant number of brands extended to far, eventually went over the cliff  and their “core” base never returned.

Product by design for a premium brand should always be driven a quality and performance, but also has a story built around its eventual creation. This story is the “connector” between the Design Ideation process and Marketing’s ability to convey the vision at retail or on-line.

As the brand execution team, you are the ” keepers of the flame” , do not let it burn out… keep thinking outside the box… provide new experiences for your loyal followers, take them on the ride with you..!  Always, Always…





Your customer wants to be part of  the lifestyle offered and envisioned by your company, the brand. Their is a certain persona and lifestyle associated with driving a BMW, wearing Oakley’s, suiting up in an Armani…The product is an extension of the brand, which is driven by a lifestyle chosen by your “core” consumer. Stay true your purpose, be authentic and they will stay loyal to you… The BRAND…!

Enjoy the Ride..!
Bryan Smeltzer

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog..”




A key formula to assuring you are able to realize your goal of being an “Innovation” driven brand, is to assure the innovation hits the market at the right time, in the right markets with the right consumer. This is all achieved by ensuring you have a cohesive Product Life Cycle Planning system in place.

Many brands either live by their founding principles and organization, which may not have a life cycle process in place and feel this will continue to evolve the brand and its products. This is usually inherent in a smaller brand, still living in itEntrepreneurial roots. The process will eventually catch up with the brand, finding that processes and procedures are integral to its future growth and success, with the Product Life Cycle Process being a key ingredient.

On the other hand  is a well established brand with finely tuned Product Life Cycle processes, but never bring anything to market on time. This “passing of the torch” can damage a brands innovation engine as well. By the time this product evolution or re-creation gets through the brands systems and approvals, it may be to late, as smaller, more nimble brands have already established a footprint. Obviously, there is a lot of good which can come out of these large product engines, as deeper pockets allow for more “hits & misses”, whereas smaller brands do not have this luxury.

Tucked neatly in the middle to these two dynamics is the mid-tier brand, very nimble, simple point to point contact for product approvals and deep enough R & D pockets to do some serious damage. They’ve grown out of the Entrepreneurial roots, but have not yet accepted the large company mindset. These companies are the most dangerous, and the biggest threat to grab market share from the industry leaders. 

Always Keep it Simply Sophisticated…

 Always think Big, but act Small…

Always be Quick to Respond, and anticipate Reactions…

Enjoy the Ride…!

Bryan Smeltzer


“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog..” 


It is always easier for a company/brand to imitate competitive products than it is to truly reinvent their respective product or category.  As a result, progressive improvement is attained, but nothing truly innovate comes out of this type of product strategy.

When  a brand is looking to build a  product strategy, at the forefront of building this foundation is developing a Product Inspiration formula that allows your designers (Industrial/Graphic) the freedom to create without limitations. You should always have a structured seasonal front end loading process with your required product line planning, competitive analysis and “key” product/category drivers, however you should always look to drive product innovation through this free flowing creative process. This begins and ends with design inspiration. This inspiration should  come from and feed off of  adaptable technologies, design cues and bloodlines from products that drive your brand.  If you are truly a performance driven brand, then look for aspects of your product that come from or could be derived from other performance products, not necessarily from your industry. When we design, our intended purpose is to disrupt the norm, and create outside the boundaries of what has been done before in our industry. Your ability to give the consumer what they never knew they wanted, but have to purchase is the magic formula for success.

“Innovation distinguishes between a Leader and a Follower”

                                                       Wisdom from Mr. Jobs

This creative product creation foundation assures your company/brand will have a pipeline of designs driven off your brands bloodlines, and innovation that allows you to stake a leadership position. Your intention should be to take that leadership position through innovation, and out-innovate yourself. Consumers will then look to your brand for true, authentic, market driving products.

“Always look to out-Innovate yourself first..”

“Always obsolete your products first..”

“Always take Risks in order to Breakaway from the Imitators..”

Enjoy the Ride !

Bryan Smeltzer


“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog..”


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