Under typical circumstances the sales of your product over time will most likely look something like this:
The chart above is of course the Product Life Cycle Curve aka ‘The Curve’. As it’s now almost ubiquitous, I won’t spend any time discussing it here, except to say there’s some great resources elsewhere online. Where this well known curve becomes relevant to a discussion about research is in the slope or steepness of the sales line, prior to your product reaching maturity (left of number 2 on the horizontal axis above).
Studies have shown that research can reduce product development cycle times by as much as 33 to 50 per cent. For the sake of the model, if we believe that the only thing research does is accelerate development — expressing no influence on the product roadmap, and no impact on the total market opportunity — we can expect the slope of the sales curve to increase proportionately; represented in the chart below as the new red line. …
As early-stage companies begin to get traction and move beyond a sympathetic and well-known customer base, the early methods for understanding and prioritizing what to build next begin to break down. At this juncture, research can play a pivotal role in helping businesses prioritize, design, and build products and features that they know will address unmet customer needs.
The ability to conceptualize a product that will add value to your customer base before it is even designed, results in a pattern of predictable innovation and the creation of a sustainable competitive advantage.
1. What do we need to drive predictable innovation?
2. How do we use these things to drive ‘predictable innovation’? …
I grew up on a sheep farm in Australia, but pretty soon after graduating found myself on Madison Avenue in New York working as a Brand and Strategy consultant.
During this time, I was lucky enough to work with some of the world’s largest companies like Johnson & Johnson, Diageo, Delta Airlines and American Express, helping them optimise communications, brand strategy and new product launches through qualitative research.
Central to this work is recruiting really high quality research participants, but the solutions we were forced to rely on were expensive, slow, and often couldn’t connect us with the research participants we needed. …