Customer Insight in Sight

Monday, 24 March 2014 06:33
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Uncovering potent customer insights can provide the spark for new product development. The art of translating these insights into motivating and viable product concepts can involve a variety of skills and methods.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends.

Customer Insight In Sight

"In order to develop strong product concepts, one should think like a consumer, not like a marketer."

I've found one of the most satisfying aspects of new product development work to be uncovering a customer insight that reveals an intensely felt consumer need. These can point to an obvious product opportunity, where the solution can seem straightforward (even if technical aspects required to deliver it may or may not be). For example, Ford SUV designers observed that customers frequently approach their vehicles with their hands full, which can make manual rear lift gate opening awkward to accomplish. This insight suggested an opportunity for a foot-activated lift gate opening mechanism.

Sometimes, different methods can lead to opportunity identification. Personally, I like to start with a defined target customer and a motivating consumer insight. It allows me to think like a consumer, rather than as a marketer. I then consider a range of additional stimuli, such as market data, social media communications, and online message boards. I use these "voice of the consumer" informed inputs to spark creation of numerous hypotheses, the most compelling of which I convert into new product concepts.

As part of concept development, I also routinely conduct preliminary technology scouting to identify viable technology options that could enable feasible product executions. This technology scan is an important step even at this early stage because many folks will wait and "leave it to the scientists" to solve after concept development is completed. An opportunity that lacks the promise of a feasible execution (i.e.technical solution) is not a sturdily built one, in my opinion.

Here's one sample output generated by my approach:

Target customer: Middle-aged adults.

Consumer insight: "I'm very concerned about experiencing cognitive decline as I age, as I fear the emotional distress this causes". (

Related Research data: Scientific studies show that hearing loss often precedes cognitive decline.

Hypothesis: Nutritional regimen may help prevent/restore hearing loss. This could also possibly help to prevent/delay subsequent cognitive decline.

Enabling technology: Anti-oxidants/anti-inflammatory nutrients have been proven to provide preventative and or restorative hearing health benefits. One study:

(These types of nutrients are also consistent with promoting overall longevity).

Product Concept: A hearing health nutritional supplement product featuring anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients as part of an overall healthy aging nutritional supplement regimen.

I apply this powerful and collaborative approach across multiple product categories and achieve very good outcomes. I can help you and your team to leverage its power to benefit your company's new product work. Contact me today to discuss your needs.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, creative problem solving and new business development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.


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