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New Product Development sample essay

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Developing a new product marketers strive to decrease failures of this new product, and to increase its popularity among consumers. Marketing research makes an important contribution to this process, since it gives reliable data for marketing analysis and decision-making for the future success of the new product.

Consumer market is diverse and each consumer has its own needs and preferences. It is impossible to create a universal product, which would satisfy needs of any consumer, thus marketers collect and analyze data that enables them to segment consumer market, and develop a product that best coincides with a needs of a particular group of consumers.

Target group/market: is a group or groups of consumers with similar characteristics, wants and needs, which is/are selected by a firm as its group customer. Each product has its own target group of consumers (Bearden et al 14).

Marketers use marketing research to provide guidance in decision making regarding product development and its positioning. Marketing research is the unity of different activities that are aimed to identify and define marketing opportunities, generate, refine and evaluate marketing actions, monitor marketing performance and improve understanding of marketing as a process. It also defines the methods for collecting information, manages and implements the data collecting process. After analyzing the results it communicates the findings and implications (Bearden et al. 157).

Marketing research is helpful in evaluating new-product concepts and in making the most effective advertisement. It is also used to monitor market performance and competitive reaction.

Today it is becoming nearly impossible to compete only with the quality of a product, thus marketers are looking for opportunities to apply to certain consumer emotional dimensions that can give them market advantage. “This up-close approach can also help marketers figure out how different ethnic and demographic groups react to their products, especially important in a fragmenting marketplace.” (Khermouch, 92)

Marketing research information is divided into primary and secondary data. Primary data are collected specifically for a particular research problem, and are most often associated with survey of customers about their satisfaction with services, interviews, focus groups and observations. Secondary data are those already collected for some other reasons and available from different sources (Bearden et al. 162).

Qualitative market research is a popular and powerful marketing research method in the process of new product development. The aim of this research is not to forecast quantity, but to improve quality – to examine the depth and range of consumer attitudes and beliefs. Qualitative research is based on a feedback from relatively few people from the target group (“Qualitative Market Research”).

Qualitative market research uses such methods as: focus groups, interviews, observational techniques in combination with interviews (ethnography and photo-ethnography, such as described by Gerry Khermouch (92), store-exit interviews, etc.)

Focus groups of consumers are particularly good for examining new product concept and advertising campaigns, for clarifying buying motivation and best delivery schemes. Usually a focus group consists of 8 to 12 persons, who answer moderator’s questions on a specific product, such as “what would you really like to have if you could,”(Brown) thus giving feedback that will be further analyzed by marketing researchers (Bearden et al. 164).

A personal interview, another popular method of gathering first hand data, also gathers feedback, but now in a one-to-one interaction between a customer and the researcher. Some researchers believe interviews are more flexible and respondents feel more comfortable to answer questions (Bearden et al. 167).

Surveys: most popular are telephone and mail surveys. Random digit dialing or plus-one dialing methods are reliable and increasingly popular, because it is done fast and is cheaper than personal interviewing. Mail surveys are conducted through mailed out questionnaires and being relatively inexpensive, struggle from high level of non-response.

Ethnographic/observational research in its turn provides data on how consumers actually use products and services on every day basis. It is a marketing research method borrowed from sociology and anthropology. Khermouch tells how this research is conducted. Participants get paid for allowing to observe and tape their every day life for further usage of the records in analysis of their consumption behavior. For example, when Best Western International Inc. wanted to find out whether a new 10% senior clients discount would be beneficial, it “paid 25 over-55 couples to tape themselves on cross-country journeys,” (92) and thus found out that “instead of attracting new customers, bigger discounts would simply allow the old customers to trade up to a fancier dinner down the street somewhere; doing absolutely nothing for Best Western” (92). Most likely this would not be possible to find out from surveys or interviews, thus ethnography has opened new opportunities for marketers to understand consumers better.

Each marketing research method has its disadvantages. For example, focus groups and interviews along with its advantages give only self-reports, thus hiding aspects that respondents feel uncomfortable revealing both to themselves and to others. This information can be received from observational/ethnographic method, which in its turn also has minuses, for example it gives reliable trends only for frequently occurring behaviors and it does not assess attitudes that cause these behaviors not mentioning its time-consuming disadvantage (Bearden et al. 165).

Thus in conclusion I must say that the most effective marketing research should combine wide range of appropriate to the subject methods, including usage of both primary and secondary data, including self-reports methods and observational ones, because they supplement one another and thus give full information for analysis. At the same time marketers have to remember about cost-efficiency, thus avoiding methods that do not add enough value.



Bibliography



1. Bearden, William O., Thomas N. Ingram, and Raymond W. LaForge. Marketing: Principles & Perspectives. Chicago: IRWIN, 1995.

2. Khermouch, Gerry. "Consumers in the Mist: Mad Ave.'s anthropologists are unearthing our secrets." McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 26 February 2001, Iss. 3721: 92.

3. “Qualitative Market Research.” Power Discussions Group, Inc. December 2004. (16 December 2004).

4. Brown, Tom. “When Focus Groups Make Sense… and When They Don’t.” Power Discussions Group, Inc. December 2004 (16 December 2004).
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