R&D Can Help Marketing Create Value Propostions That Pop!
Marketing frequently leads corporate new product concept creation efforts, with R&D playing a supporting role. I assert that R&D can play a more pivotal role at the front end of new product creation...by introducing technical inputs that create exciting yet practical possibilities.
Marketing often leads corporate new product concept development efforts with R&D assigned to develop the most appealing products of those conceived. This approach can work well, but it can have two inherent weaknesses: (1) R&D's ability to solve challenges integral to a new product concept's appeal may not be known until after the concept is developed, and (2) it overlooks the exciting opportunity to leverage R&D technical inputs as creative fodder during the concept development phase to inspire additional possibilities. Let me offer a hypothetical example to describe this.
Sally works for a mid-sized health care company. Her business team is working to expand their existing product line with a range of homeopathic remedies based upon market data indicating consumer interest in such alternatives. The business team has been tasked to devise new product concepts in the cough/cold and allergy space. Sally analyzes allergy care data and wonders why more eye allergy sufferers don't seem to seek out eye-specific product solutions. She speculates that this could present an opportunity for her company.
In conducting consumer interviews among allergy sufferers with eye symptoms, the team learns that consumer resistance to eye-symptom specific treatments is primarily due to: (1) concern about over-medicating (when used in conjunction with other allergy symptom relieving products) and (2) a widespread perception that eye drops are inconvenient to dose.
Sally envisions a market opportunity for a highly effective eye-allergy symptom-specific product with a more convenient and efficient dosing method. However, while she is confident that consumers will think the idea makes sense, she is concerned that the concept won't be especially motivating without details that describe the particulars. Clearly, the product delivery system and its role in the overall consumer experience will be integral to the overall product concept's viability. Without greater clarity in this area, it is likely that this product concept will be shelved relative to other more fully formed concepts under consideration.
Terry from R&D suggests the introduction of "practical possibilities" (i.e. close-in or available technical options that can enable the product concept) that can be shared with consumers as creative prompts during the concept development phase. Working with his technology scout, they quickly identify some very interesting options: (1) a veterinary pet eye wash, (2) a mist applicator from the contact lens market, and (3) a cosmetic mist applicator. They demonstrate and discuss these inputs with consumers and learn that the cosmetic mist applicator is especially appealing to many of them as it is far more convenient than eye drops and unlike eye drops, it will also enable them to soothe puffy eye lids and reduce irritated undereye swelling as it relieves their itchy eyes.
The team is convinced that without these inputs they would not have been able to elevate the concept's appeal sufficiently for it to remain viable, and they also would have missed out on the vital consumer insights that were evoked by the props. Encouraged by their learning, the project team includes the eye allergy product concept among the most appealing ones under development.
Do you or your team have interest in learning how to build stronger and more salable value propositions, including applying "practical possibilites"?
Contact me today if you wish to discuss your individual challenges and needs.