A leading process control manufacturer was concerned that it was losing market share, and its products were becoming outdated. Executives met internally to discuss potential product development ideas. They put together a wish list of potential product enhancements based on ad hoc research and intuition. The list, however, needed to be pared down and prioritized, based on customer needs and market demand. As such, the company turned to RSR Marketing Solutions to assess customer preferences relating to specific features and the value they place on these proposed product enhancements.
- Understand and prioritize product development needs across a range of product lines and market segments.
- Gather customer input regarding desired features and benefits for next generation products, and integrate this input systematically into product roadmaps.
- Quantify market demand for various product enhancements to assess the expected return on investment for each new product development initiative.
- Provide specific recommendations regarding which development ideas to pursue immediately, which to pursue in the future, and which not to pursue at all.
RSR Approach and Methodology
- Discovery process – RSR met with the Client to review business performance trends, current product attributes and hypothesized product needs/development opportunities. This meeting involved a combination of field sales, marketing and other executives.
- Determined the proper number and mix of customers to interview. This determination was based on the specific characteristics of each relevant vertical and geographic segment.
- Designed a survey instrument/interview template to elicit clear customer input regarding purchase decision criteria, perceptions of key suppliers, and future business opportunities with that customer. Using a combination of unaided, open-ended questions and aided questions about specific feature/benefit choices, RSR gathered robust data regarding each customer’s expected acceptance level for a variety of potential new product enhancements.
- Conducted primary source customer interviews, using RSR’s proprietary executive interviewing techniques. RSR interviewers are highly skilled industry insiders who have experience gathering the “inside story” from interviewees. We do not conduct typical surveys, where standard questions are read to a contact and their responses recorded.
- Tabulated and analyzed interview results to discern patterns across various market segments (vertical and geographic) as well as customer demographics (e.g. larger versus small, entrenched versus prospect, etc.)
- Used a two-step importance / performance assessment process to prioritize new product development ideas based on a combination of the importance of key product attributes, and their satisfaction level with current supplier performance, which is a measure of how well the desired features and functions are being met with current equipment.
- Presented concise conclusions, based on study findings, regarding product options to develop.
- RSR determined that large sophisticated customers were seeking a more intelligent product and recommended specific features that the client should adopt.
- We identified several features that customers considered “nice to have,” but which were not valuable enough for customers to justify a higher price, or which were not valued by enough customers to justify the cost of development.
- RSR also uncovered several non-product issues that were hurting the Client’s image in the market and contributing to market share erosion. RSR pointed out problems relating to pre-sales and aftermarket
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