Three Focus Points for NPD
Successful marketing of a new product relies on many factors. For example, a purchaser’s prior experience with customer service at the retail outlet can flavor the consumer’s impression of the product either favorably or not. With over 100,000 distinct items cluttering the shelves at a typical retail outlet store (1), customer service differentiates where the products themselves fail to offer consumers an advantage.
Consider REI (http://www.rei.com/), a retail outdoor supply co-operative. While members earn discounts and cash back on purchases, the customer service staff goes above and beyond ordinary expectations. A pair of hiking shoes has broken stitches after only 50 miles – REI offers a new pair of shoes. The bicycle pump fails to build pressure due to a bad gasket – REI replaces it with a like item.
The purpose of any business is to attract, create, and keep customers (2). However, the average family purchases 80% of their needs from just 150 SKUs, when over 40,000 SKUs are available at an average supermarket in the United States (3). So, aside from emphasizing outstanding customer service and high quality products, how do you engage your customers in a delightful new product experience? In this paper, we will discuss three focal points for a customer-centric New Product Development (NPD) program, spanning from the fuzzy front end (FFE) to product lifecycle management (PLM).
Failed Market Research is an oft-quoted reason for NPD failure. Merle Crawford presents data demonstrating that between one-third and one-half of all new products fail (4). In fact, conducting certain phases of Market Research, like the concept test, during the early stages within the NPD Process is a trademark of successful New Product commercialization.
1. Identify Opportunities
2. Interact Frequently
3. Inspire and Delight
Customer-centric innovation focuses on the total customer experience, designs in emotional aspects of the product and yields a flexible customer interaction (5).
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Image of hiking shoes courtesy of Steam & Moorland.
Image of documents courtesy of Document Management Guide.
1. Harford, Tim. Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure. New York, NY : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011.
2. Day, George S. and Moorman, Christine. Strategy from the Outside In. New York : McGraw Hill, 2010.
3. Toops, Diane. How Did the Food Industry Get (From There) to Here? [ed.] Jacqueline H. Beckley, et al. Accelerating New Food Product Design and Development. Ames, Iowa : Institue of Food Technology, 2007, pp. 7-26.
4. Crawford, C Merle. New Products Management. 4th ed. Burr Ridge, IL : Irwin, 1994.
5. Eager, Rick. The Future of Innovation Management: Five Key Steps for Future Success. InnovationManagement.se. [Online] N/A. [Cited: October 25, 2011.] http://www.innovationmanagement.se/2011/10/25/the-future-of-innovation-management-five-key-steps-for-future-success/.