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Product category description
Our product category entails developing a squeeze toy similar to that used for relieving stress. The squeeze ball entails a handheld device that can easily be squeezed using one hand, and thus apart from decreasing emotional tension, it reduces muscular stress. The squeeze ball usually targets muscles including the thumb flexors, fingers, and wrist (Stalvey and Brasell 8). The squeeze ball will be made of foam rubber to improve the ease of squeezing and thus facilitate the effortless acquisition of associated skills.
For instance, the toy could be used to enhance nerve stimulation for enhanced cognitive development, divert attention, and prevent the occurrence of repetitive injuries. For improving the effectiveness of the toy in facilitating the mentioned functions, the squeeze ball will be designed in such a way that its color changes if squeezed thus capture the attention of the individual in a manner that fosters their development (Kim 330).
The idea to develop the squeeze toy bases its findings on a comprehensive market research undertaken by a team of engineers. The research is founded on secondary and primary research to gather substantial data on the need for fostering cognitive and physical development. The goal of conducting the marketing research was to acquire insight into the simple methods of children development that are commonly applied today.
Thus, the findings of the market research were to generate insight on the prevailing gaps concerning the available products in the market with the aim of fostering the intellectual, social, and physical development among children. The marketing research targeted different customers such as students and employees. The rationale for targeting these groups arises from the realization of balanced development as a common phenomenon affecting different individuals irrespective of their demographic characteristics. The simple sampling technique was employed in selecting the respondents. The research team constructed a sample of 100 respondents.
Ethnographic studies and interviews would characterize the primary data collection approaches. The study sample comprised of individuals, mainly children, with different demographic characteristics hence making it representative. On the other hand, secondary data collection involved gathering data from available online sources.
The squeeze balls target a specific population composed of the young generation. Particularly, the squeeze ball would focus on consumers between five and seven years old. The primary and secondary research findings reveal that children in the given age group experience several aspects of cognitive, social, and physical development and thus, the application of the squeeze ball would successfully facilitate childhood development (Streisand et al. 515).
In particular, the team of engineers engaged in the development of the product believes that parents would also embrace the squeeze balls since they appear in the form of a toy that could also improve the various elements of children development. In this regard, the marketing aspect of the squeeze toy would focus on middle and upper-middle class households that earn an annual income that ranges between $50,000 and $125,000.
Given that the price of the squeeze balls would range between $14.5 and $21, the said social classes would afford the products for the improvement of the household’s well-being (Dawson-McClure et al. 55). Regarding the psychographic aspect of the target market, the squeeze balls would appear in a manner that appeals to both boys and girls regarding their interests and attitudes.
The undertaken research reveals that several competitors would offer a hot contestation for the identified target market given the rising cases of altered childhood development today. Notably, Generic forms part of the key competitors in the sector by offering the product under the brand name “Abilitations Gel Squeeze Ball.” The competitor uses both the online and physical stores to market the product domestically and globally. S &S, through its brand, “Shamrock Squeeze Balls”, is another key competitor that poses considerable competition in the market. Similarly, the competitor markets its products globally through online retail stores like Amazon.
Additionally, Fun Express, an outstanding player that provides squeeze balls at reasonable prices would undoubtedly exert pressure on the competitiveness of our product. As such, the identified key competitors would require the marketing team for our product to identify the gaps in the existing market and fill them in a manner that fulfils the needs of the target consumers. Specifically, gaining a competitive edge in the market requires us to offer affordable prices for the products besides raising awareness regarding the usefulness of the squeeze balls in fostering childhood development.
Major Needs and Expectations Based on Problem Identification
In conducting the research, several needs and expectations of the target market emerged, and thus they should be considered for the sake of enhancing the development issue among children in a satisfying manner. For this reason, the undertaking sought to focus on the critical needs and anticipations of the consumers to restore the growth equilibrium induced by harmful experiences using the squeeze balls. The following list depicts the needs and expectations of the consumers ranked from the most important to the least important one.
- The need for a squeeze ball that manages growth by restoring the developmental imbalances significantly among young boys and girls
- The consumers expect a squeeze ball of the right size and thus, appear in the form of a compact to that bolsters skills for physical, cognitive, educational, and social improvement.
- The expectation that the product would integrate the playful aspect of childhood development so that parents would collaborate with the children in the management of the issue
- The need to provide a safe product to be used by children also acts a considerable concern for solving the identified problem instead of deteriorating it.
The consumer statements gave an insight regarding the expectations and needs that necessitate consideration to solve the problem efficiently. In this respect, the parents raised concerns over the effectiveness of the squeeze balls in mitigating the escalation of growth issues among children. Notably, they required us to explain the manner in which the squeeze balls function and thus, an elaborative explanation of tension release mechanism proved essential in convincing them on the practicality of the product.
Additionally, the research unearthed that the consumers anticipate a product easy to grip and squeeze in the tiny hands of the children (Seaward, “Managing Stress” 68). In this regard, the team saw the essence of using appropriate materials for designing the product. Therefore, the designing aspect of the product would consider an appealing surface and a squishy inside of the squeeze ball of the right size for a comfortable grasp.
What is more, the statements from the respondents revealed that they expect a product that could be used collaboratively facilitate physical and educational growth. In this regard, since toys are the items commonly used by children when playing, designing the squeeze balls in a manner that takes the form of a toy would fulfil this need. As such, several kids could use the squeeze balls simultaneously as they play thereby collaborate in fostering development.
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Parents could also use the squeeze balls in a manner that inculcates its essence among the children thereby fostering its utilization as a stress relief toy (Seaward, “Health and Wellness” 124). Moreover, the safety aspect of the product proved essential as the parents expect it not to harm their children. In this respect, parents raised concerns regarding the possibility of the product to choke or suffocate their kids owing to the size and marbles possibly contained in the product. As such, the product would uphold the essence of safety to curb the emergence of hazardous events when using it.
Future opportunities through new product development
Concerning the identified needs and expectations obtained from the primary and secondary sources of the market research undertaking, the following developments would ensure that the squeeze balls solve the identified need satisfactorily.
- Creating awareness regarding the efficacy of the squeeze balls in fostering development among the children between five and seven years old would considerably facilitate its acceptance among the consumers. In this concern, the initiative would seek to raise awareness of the products significance in handling the identified problem by persuading the members of the identified households that it functions effectively. Therefore, in the process of raising awareness, the team would demonstrate how squeezing the ball makes the involved muscles release the tension. In so doing, the consumers would understand its functionality and thus, reduce the potential resistance.
- Designing the squeeze balls in a way that appeals to the consumer would also act as a key consideration to ensure the generation of new opportunities for the product. In this respect, the team of engineers would design the product to be of the right size to ensure that the kids squeeze it easily. Further, the surface of the squeeze balls would be designed in a way that prevents it from slipping during the squeezing and release process. Additionally, designing the squeeze balls in a way that makes it change color and appear in a squishy interior would also be considered besides giving it the perfect size.
- Additionally, in a bid to incorporate play in the educational, physical, and social development process using the squeeze balls would require consideration. In this concern, the developers of the product would consider inscribing images on the balls that foster the playfulness aspect of the product. For instance, engraving faces that smile upon release of the squeeze balls would make the experience enjoyable. In doing so, children and their parents or caregivers could use the squeeze balls as playing toys as well as childhood development inducers.
- Moreover, the product would observe the standards requisite to guarantee the safety aspect of its application. In this regard, the designing team would ensure that the surface of the ball is not corrosive by using the authentic rubber. Further, the team would put precautionary measures to prevent choking or suffocation of the kids using the squeeze balls. For instance, indicating that the products should not be made accessible to children under the age of 3 years would enforce the safety measures on the use of the squeeze balls.
Dawson-McClure, Spring, Esther Calzada, Keng-Yen Huang, Dimitra Kamboukos, Dana Rhule, Bukky Kolawole, Eva Petkova, and Miller Brotman. “A Population-Level Approach to Promoting Healthy Child Development and School Success in Low-Income, Urban Neighborhoods: Impact On Parenting and Child Conduct Problems.” Prevention Science 16.2 (2015): 279-290. Print.
Kim, JongHan. “Physical Activity Benefits Creativity: Squeezing a Ball for Enhancing Creativity.” Creativity Research Journal 27.4 (2015): 328-333. Print.
Seaward, Brian. Health and Wellness Journal Workbook, Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2011. Print.
—. Managing Stress: A Creative Journal: A Creative Journal, Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2011. Print.
Stalvey, Sheryl, and Heather Brasell. “Using Stress Balls to Focus the Attention of Sixth-Grade Learners.” Journal of At-Risk Issues 12.2 (2006): 7-16. Print.
Streisand, Randi, Erika Swift, Tara Wickmark, and Clarissa Holmes. “Pediatric Parenting Stress among Parents of Children with Type 1 Diabetes: The Role of Self-Efficacy, Responsibility, and Fear.” Journal of Pediatric Psychology 30.6 (2005): 513-521. Print.