Start Product Development in Consumer Homes, Not Conference Rooms

How does your team kick off a new year of product development?  With a review of existing products looking for small gaps to fill?  With color changes or new packaging?  A new size?

Or do you really start from scratch by identifying unmet consumer needs to fill with unique new products?

The classic approach to new product development starts with identifying unmet needs and then designing products to meet those needs.  Do you think your category is fully meeting consumer needs?  THINK AGAIN.

Use Consumer Research to Sell Your Products In

A significant portion of the research we do today is dual purpose:   1) It identifies the products consumers want most, the products that will sell in the marketplace  2) it drives the sales pitch with key retailers.

Traditionally, market research has focused on identifying compelling consumer products; the right products at the right prices with the right packaging and the right promotions.  We do this every day using proprietary, statistically proven mechanisms that identify top sellers while weeding out weaklings that should never see a shelf.

Color Trends from The American Living Survey™ by Design Research

We recently presented research from The American Living Survey™ (TALS), an ongoing study of American homes, interior design, décor, styles and lifestyles, at the International Home + Housewares Show.

Kent Panther, Vice President, Director of Business Development for Wray Ward, attended our presentation and posted the highlights of the presentation on his blog:

Break-through Products driven by LACK of Expertise

“…outsiders often present the most-interesting answers to complex problems, not despite their lack of expertise, but because of it.”
(“Finding the Next Edison”, The Atlantic  Magazine, Jan-Feb, 2014, p24.)

Why Do Research? - You Are Not Your Consumer #2

In our last blog we stated that it is important when doing research to do quantitative work to get a cross –section of consumers demographically.  Put another way, you are not your consumer.  Most of the management teams we work with are better educated (often MBA’s or MFA’s) who are older and more affluent than their target consumers.  As stated previously they have a higher level of awareness and understanding of the category than their target consumers.  However, they very likely also have greater purchasing power and probably a higher level of taste than those consumers as well.

Why Do Research? - You Are Not Your Consumer #1

Most of our clients are really into their products.  They are proud of them and take them home and use them and are happy to extol their virtues to anyone who will listen.  That’s great, it should be that way.  We should all take pride in what we do, especially if our jobs provide consumers with great products that delight with their performance. 

Why Do Research? – The Three Biggest Hesitations

When we talk with prospective clients we sometimes hear hesitations to research like “we aren’t sure of the value/return of research” or “we can’t afford to do research” or “our development time tables are too tight to permit us to do research”.  Our general comment to all of these remarks is that YOU CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO CONDUCT RESEARCH.  Let’s explore each of these objections.