According to a recently released white paper by B2B International, about 90% of product research focuses on improvements to a product, such as ‘additions’ and ‘modifications’ rather than on an entirely new concept. And product improvements are more readily accepted over a brand new product, which can be more risky. The paper suggests using market research to minimize against the risk associated with any type of product development - sort of like a form of insurance.
The paper, Using Market Research For Product Development examines the role of market research at all four stages (below) in the product life cycle:
1. Pre-Birth – “Establishing Needs” Can help determine the need for a new product, provide insight into a market’s unmet need, and provide a temperature check for the current landscape.
2. Youth – “Stimulating Product Take-Up”Can guide all elements of the marketing mix, to better understand your current position, where you want your product to be, and how to get to that point.
3. Maturity – “Improving Product Performance” Can aid in determining optimal price points, market share and size, and interest towards the consumption of the product.
4. Old Age – “Determining The Future” Can be used to revitalize a product through modifications and additions which help stimulate the life cycle.
The paper’s author also emphasizes that product development research should always be incorporated into the entire customer value proposition – that understanding that improvements to packaging, delivery, and/or any aspect of service support, could have just as big an impact as changes to the product itself.