In our discussion of the New Product Development process, we emphasize the overwhelming importance of conducting marketing research prior to product launch. As we explain, research plays a key role in each of the steps in this process. This includes research to help identify potential new products (Step 1: Idea Generation); research to test customers’ response to “mockup products” (Step 3: Concept Development and Testing); and testing customers’ response to actual products in real market settings (Step 6: Market Testing). However, we also note that conducting market research for new products can be quite difficult, especially for products that may be viewed as highly innovative.
A good example of problems marketers face when trying to use market research for breakthrough products can be seen in this story from Knowledge@Wharton. In it, the authors discuss how market research, or lack of it, may in some ways be blamed for what some claim is a significant product category failure – the 3-D television. What comes out of this story is how some tech companies appear to only give lip service for the need to undertake quality research, especially prior to product launch. These tech marketers seem more concerned with getting the product to market and then testing, which we indicate in the What is Marketing? tutorial is often a mistake.
The story includes a look at how leading television manufacturer, Vizio, bypassed pre-product launch research for its 3-D television, which was eventually discontinued due to low demand. It suggests studies may have been able to uncover some of the issues that would eventually lead to the product’s failure, such as lack of 3-D movies, consumer dislike of wearing 3-D glasses and the perception of the television leading to certain health issues, such as headaches and eyestrain.
The story also touches on the philosophy Steve Jobs had with the development of technology products, which were not necessarily supportive of using market research. As noted in the story, in many ways Jobs was anti-research and also not inclined to follow the ideas found within the well-known Marketing Concept.
Overall, this is an excellent story on how not undertaking market research may come back to bite companies. It also offers insights on why companies choose to forego research when developing new products.
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