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New Product Development: Do You Feel Lucky?

Sean Parnell - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Market Research & New Product Development: Do You Feel Lucky?

It happened again. We’ve observed another software vendor that released a new product that has generated almost no sales
in the first year and which faces an increasingly grim outlook.

How
does a vendor with an otherwise successful track
record in their bread-and-butter market fail so miserably?

The answer is a lack of insight into both
channel and end-user requirements—insight that could be
obtained through primary market research.

We’ve seen this scenario play out time and time again, with millions wasted and many people fired. Two
instances come to mind where products were launched with no evidence of market or channel demand, only to see them fail.

Does This Sound Familiar?

The first example comes from a software vendor
whose engineers came up with an interesting
concept that was a spin-off of a successful,

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Book Recommendations for Entrepreneurs

Sean Parnell - Monday, March 25, 2013

Blue Ocean StategyI was recently asked what book recommendations I would make for fellow entrepreneurs. I started Innovaxis Marketing Consulting business six years ago and the most influential book I’ve read since then is Blue Ocean Strategy. In it, co-authors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne identify how and why some businesses transform their industry, such as how Yellow Tail transformed the wine industry. They also identify a formula for how these strategies are repeatable—the single largest piece missing from other business books, from my experience.

Here at Innovaxis, our clients utilize our market research, competitive intelligence and product management services in order to apply Blue Ocean Strategy into product roadmap, marketing feasibility and product development efforts.

Additionally, I really like the following books:

Let us know what your favorite books for entrepreneurs

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Is The Customer Always Right?

Sean Parnell - Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Marketing 101, we are all taught to believe that customers and clients are always right. But what if they cannot articulate what they want, especially when it comes to new products and services?

Faster Horses

This often happens when they have a problem and there is no current technology or solution that addresses their need. To illustrate this point, Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, ‘faster horses’.”

Pro Audio Example

For example, we worked with a professional audio equipment manufacturer whose customers said they needed a cover for their sound system equipment to prevent mischievous audience members from meddling with the well thought-out parameters set up by an audio professional.

Rather than making a cover, which people could still get around with paper clips and the like (which happened on competitive products),

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No Market is Homogeneous

Sean Parnell - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Document ScannersTime and time again, we’ve found that any given market has at least 3-4 main segments. Many of their requirements overlap, but there are always key differences. Are you marketing to these market segments and, if so, do you know which are the most profitable?

For example, in the commercial document scanner market, we found three main types of resellers through market research: System Integrators (SI), Hardware Resellers and Services Firms. The SIs offered hardware installation as just one of their services, so they sold many scanners at a fat margin because they are a smaller part of the sale and can be marked up nicely. Hardware Resellers sell only hardware, sell in high volume and at the lowest price (and margin), so they always complained to manufacturers about price because, to them, scanners are commodities.

Services Firms mainly provide maintenance but sell only a few scanners when they give out.

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Why Market Research?

Sean Parnell - Thursday, November 1, 2012

Market ResearchIf the market is large and growing, we can become millionaires if we just show up and only get 5% market share, right? Wrong.

One of our clients (who shall remain nameless) exhibited this “Show Up and Win” mentality and launched a series of new products without once asking their customers what they wanted or their distribution channel partners if they would sell these new products over the existing products they had sold for years. The result: even in an exponentially growing market, they could only win <1% of the overall market. Why?

Even if the product were in tune with the customer requirements that would generate the most sales (it wasn’t because they didn’t talk to any customers or channel partners before launch), even great products don’t always “win” even if they are the “best” (see Betamax vs. VHS).

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B2B Mystery Shopping

Sean Parnell - Saturday, November 19, 2011

B2B Mystery ShopperNeed to find out how much a competitor and/or their channel is charging for their products and services? Want to gauge another company’s responsiveness and customer service? Need to do all of the above without them knowing it’s you? Then B2B mystery shopping may be what you seek.

The Innovaxis marketing consulting team averages 20 years of market research experience. Specifically, we have acquired B2B mystery shopping pricing in the following markets:

 

  • Document imaging software
  • Office technology service contracts
  • Video conferencing services
  • Hazardous-duty lighting
  • Residential construction
  • Security systems
  • Engineered valves
  • Powder actuated tools
  • Construction fasteners
  • Circuit breakers
  • Conduit and wire
  • Printer cartridges
  • Specialty paper
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Custom Market Research vs. Analyst Reports

Sean Parnell - Friday, April 29, 2011

Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Frost & Sullivan–all these analyst firms do good work, giving us a good handle on macro trends in the market.

However, what happens when you need to size the market, your brand share and growth for, say, wireless microphones sold through music instrument (MI) resellers? How about production document scanners sold through document imaging resellers? Or how many miles of trenchless sewer technology have been used in the last 10 years? No analyst report on the planet contains this information.

We’ve also found that analyst firms rarely size the market by interviewing resellers, distributors and other channel partners. If you rely only on manufacturing data, you will have little understanding of how these products go to market. And how do we know the data is accurate, especially for privately held firms if we don’t have the channel data to model up and compare with what the manufacturers report?

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