Free Essay

Understanding Customer Needs

In: Business and Management

Submitted By gotdayum76
Words 11667
Pages 47

Barry L. Bayus
Kenan-Flagler Business School
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

January 2005
Revised November 2007

prepared for Shane, S. (ed.), Blackwell Handbook of Technology and Innovation Management, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers

The comments of the following people on an earlier draft are greatly appreciated: Sridhar Balasubramanian, Dick Blackburn, Paul Bloom, Ed Cornet, Ely Dahan, Abbie Griffin, Steve Hoeffler, Erin MacDonald, Jackki Mohr, Bill Moore, Vithala Rao, Allan Shocker, and Gal Zauberman.

Touted as the “most significant category innovation since toilet paper first appeared in roll form in 1890,” dispersible (flushable) moist toilet tissue on a roll was introduced in the United States by Kimberly Clark in 2001. According to a corporate press release, Cottonelle Fresh Rollwipes was a breakthrough product that “delivers the cleaning and freshening of pre-moistened wipes with the convenience and disposability of toilet paper.” Internal market research seemed to indicate that there was a clear customer need for a new product to supplement dry toilet paper. Surveys and focus groups revealed that over 60% of adult consumers had experimented with a moist cleaning method (e.g., using baby wipes, wetting a washcloth, sprinkling water on dry toilet paper) and one out of four used a moist cleaning method daily. Kimberly Clark made the obvious connection that a majority of US consumers found dry toilet paper to be limited for their real needs. Convinced that there was a huge market opportunity for a more convenient product that addressed this consumer need for a cleaner and more refreshing bathroom tissue, Kimberly Clark obtained more than 30 patents on a new product and dispenser and invested over $100 million in R&D and manufacturing to bring their Cottonelle Fresh Rollwipes to market. Backed by over $40 million in marketing programs, sales were expected to reach $150 million in the first year and $500 million by six years. Perhaps more important, a significant increase in the $4.8 billion US toilet paper market was anticipated since this innovation was a supplement, not substitute, for existing products. Procter & Gamble also believed that there was a market opportunity for moist bathroom wipes; they quickly followed suit by introducing a similar product, Charmin Fresh Mates, later that year. But, consumers were unimpressed with these new products. Sales were well below forecasts: Procter & Gamble abandoned its product after only two years and Kimberly Clark’s product is confined to a regional market where executives say that sales are so small that they are financially insignificant. Despite their market research, did Kimberley Clark (and Procter & Gamble) really understand their customers’ needs in this situation? The Fresh Rollwipes product was designed to be conveniently dispensed via a refillable plastic container that cliped to the standard toilet paper holder. Careful attention was paid to developing a dispenser that blended in with the consumer’s bathroom. Both companies, however, underestimated the role of consumer embarrassment associated with toileting (e.g., Associated Press 2003). While many consumers already used some sort of makeshift wet cleaning method in the bathroom, they didn’t like others knowing about it. The extra dispenser attached to the holder is right out in the open, possibly causing guests to wonder if there is something wrong with household members since they were using these “alternative” wipes. Although numerous mistakes were made in this case (e.g., Nelson 2002), it seems clear that Kimberly Clark and Procter & Gamble did not completely understand their customers’ needs. Unfortunately, this example is not unique. New product failure rates of up to 90 percent commonly cited in the popular and academic press suggest that successful innovation is the exception rather than the rule (e.g., Power 1992; 1993; Stevens and Burley 1997; Brand Strategy 2003). The road to riches is littered with many stories of new product failure (e.g., Schnaars 1989; Gershman 1990; Kirchner 1995; McMath and Forbes 1998; Franklin 2003). Not surprisingly, many pundits take these failures to mean that it is impossible to truly understand customer needs. Headlines like “Ignore Your Customer” (Martin 1995), “Shoot First, Do Market Research Later” (Elliot 1998) and statements like “The public does not know what is possible, we do” (Morita 1986) fuel this viewpoint. At the same time however, a consistent finding from benchmarking studies on the factors related to successful innovation is that understanding customer needs is a fundamental, although challenging, activity (e.g., Montoya-Weiss and Calantone 1994; Cooper 1999; Henard and Szymanski 2001). There are just as many, if not more, examples in which firms used various traditional (e.g., customer surveys, focus groups) and nontraditional (e.g., ethnography, contextual inquiry, empathic design) research approaches to gain insight into their customers’ needs, and to develop highly successful new products (e.g., Urban and Hauser 1993; Leonard-Barton 1995; Burchill, et al. 1997; Otto and Wood 2001; Shillito 2001; Sanders 2002; Squires and Byrne (2002); Crawford and Di Benedetto 2003; Ulrich and Eppinger 2004). Thus, there is persuasive evidence that it is indeed possible to understand customer needs and that this insight can be used in the innovation process. Rather than ignoring customers, it is more prudent to only ignore customers’ specific ideas on how to fulfill their needs—it is the company’s job to develop new products!
[insert Exhibit 1 about here] Conceptually, understanding customer needs leads to products that are desirable, feasible, and salable (to the mass market). Note that “product categories” are often defined by firms and not by customers (e.g., the SLR camera category, the digital camera category, the disposable camera category); thus product categories typically relate to feasible combinations of attributes that are salable (and hopefully desirable). As suggested by Exhibit 1, ideas, concepts and new products can be classified based on their location in the desirable-feasible-salable space. Thus, highly successful innovations are desirable, feasible and salable. Casual observations indicate that many existing products fall primarily in the feasible and salable region (e.g., Fresh Rollwipes), and that fresh looks at already established categories can lead to more desirable new products (e.g., consider the efforts of Oxo in the kitchen tools market and its greatly acclaimed Good Grips peeler, salad spinner and angled measuring cup). Gizmos and gadgets like the Segway Human Transporter are mainly in the feasible and desirable overlap (e.g., Waters and Field 2003), but are not really salable to the mass market. Many innovations that are mainly technology-driven reside only in the feasible region for a number of years (e.g., directional sound systems for use in automobiles, advertising, and special office-based applications; Schwartz 2004; brain-computer interfaces that allow the direct bi-directional interfaces between the brain, nervous system and computer; Cyberkinetics 2004; Michelin’s Tweel, a single piece airless tire with “spokes” that never go flat; Mayersohn 2005). Astute business analysts note that most firms are still product-driven rather than customer-driven (i.e., firms first determine what is feasible for them to develop; they then fashion marketing strategies to sell the products and services that can deliver; only later finding out that their offerings may not really be desirable). The primary purpose of this chapter is to review the theory and practice related to understanding customer needs. By necessity, this review will be relatively brief as this topic covers a wide spectrum of literature across the marketing, design, and engineering disciplines. This review will provide insights into the challenges associated with identifying and interpreting customer needs, which will lead to a discussion of promising directions for future research.

The Languages of Customer Needs

With respect to innovation and new product development, the language associated with “customer needs” differs across the marketing, engineering, and industrial design literatures. Different terminology is often used interchangeably: needs, wants, attributes, features, requirements, specs, etc. For example, in their review of the product development literature, Krishnan and Ulrich (2001) indicate that a useful representation of a product is a vector of attributes, which they consider to also include customer needs, customer requirements, product specifications, engineering characteristics, and technical performance metrics. Even customers themselves often use these terms interchangeably (e.g., Captain 2004). Customer needs are also context dependent (e.g., Green, et al. 2006), particularly with respect to usage (where and how the product is used), consumer (who will use the product), and market (what competing products are available). Any discussion of “needs” should probably start with Maslow’s (1954) widely known hierarchy of needs theory[1]. According to Maslow, there are five levels of needs ranging from basic needs that are present at birth to more complex psychological needs that only become important once the lower level needs have been satisfied[2]. At the lowest, basic level are biological and physiological needs (e.g., air, food, drink, shelter, sleep, sex, etc.). The next level includes safety needs (e.g., security, order, law, etc.); this is followed by belongingness and love needs (e.g., family, relationships, work group, to be accepted, etc.), followed by esteem needs (e.g., achievement, independence, recognition, prestige, etc.), and self-actualization needs (e.g., self-fulfillment, realizing one’s potential, personal growth, etc.). An important insight from Maslow’s theory is that there are different levels of needs and needs form a hierarchy (that may allow for lexicographic decision processes; e.g., see Olshavsky and Spreng 1996). For example, customers expect products to be safe and useful. Products and services may be bought to perform certain tasks, as well as to be accepted and recognized by others. Products may also satisfy aesthetic, as well as self-actualization, needs. However, as noted by Sanders (1992) customers are not usually very good at expressing their needs, especially higher level needs. Customer needs are a description of the benefits desired by “customers”[3] (e.g., Urban and Hauser 1993; Griffin and Hauser 1993)[4]. Needs are essentially what the customer wants; needs are long-term in nature and can not always be recognized or verbally described by a customer (Burchill and Brodie 1997; Burchill, et al. 1997; Shillito 2001; Mello 2003). Importantly, needs include utilitarian as well as hedonic benefits. For example, customer needs associated with a digital camera might include “reliving fond memories, feeling confident in taking pictures, taking great pictures.” Wants, on the other hand, are things that a customer believes will fulfill a known need, are short-term and temporary in nature, and can be easily influenced by psychosocial cues such as advertising, personal recommendations, and norms (e.g., Hauser 1984; Shillito 2001). For example, consumers may say they want an easy to use digital camera with at least 5.0 mega pixels, 32M internal memory, and video capability. (Problems are simply wants or needs expressed in negative terms; Shillito 2001.) Needs are concerned with “what” is desired by customers, whereas attributes, features, requirements, and specifications deal with “how” a need is satisfied by a specific product or service. In the economics literature, product characteristics are defined to be the properties of a product that are relevant to consumer choice; characteristics are quantitative in nature, can be measured objectively, and are universal (e.g., Lancaster 1971; Rosen 1974; Ratchford 1975; Geisfeld, et al. 1977). Product attributes are more abstract and generally fewer in number than product characteristics, and are based on the perceptual dimensions that consumers use to make purchase decisions (e.g., Kaul and Rao 1995)[5]. From the engineering and design literatures, requirements are the engineering and technical solutions to meet a customer need and specifications (specs) are the specific metrics associated with requirements (e.g., Shillito 2001; Otto and Wood 2001; Ulrich and Eppinger 2004)[6]. As implied by this discussion, product characteristics, attributes, requirements and specs are closely related and overlapping terms. For example, product characteristics for a digital camera might include the number of mega pixels, the available megabits of image storage, battery life, and the number of automatic modes; product attributes could include the ease of use, image quality, well-known brand, and battery life; customer requirements may include usability, reliability, image quality and battery life; and product specs can include a 4x optical zoom lens with 0.2x digital zoom, Li-Ion rechargeable battery, 5.0 mega pixels, 12 scene modes, etc. [insert Exhibit 2 about here] To better grasp the challenges involved in understanding customer needs, consider the example in Exhibit 2 (see also Woodruff and Gardial 1996; Ratneshwar, et al. 1999). As discussed in Shillito (2001), there are at least three levels of customer needs that are increasingly more abstract in scope: features, consequences, and desired end-states. Features are often the words a consumer uses to describe a product or service (e.g., a digital camera has an optical and digital zoom lens, auto flash and scene modes, a long lasting battery, an easy interface to share photos, etc.). Features are concrete, short-term in nature, and easy to influence. Incremental changes only result from focusing on new products with improved features. Consequences come from possession and/or use of the product or service. For example, “a digital camera is simple and easy to use, gives me confidence, I feel like an expert.” These expressions typically describe what the customer wants to have happen and are frequently more emotional in nature. Designing new products to satisfy consequences often leads to more creative and novel changes in existing products. Desired end-states are the customer’s underlying purposes and goals (e.g., Pieters, et al. 1995; Austin and Vancouver 1996; Huffman, et al. 2000). As such, they are long-term and more abstract in nature (e.g., “a digital camera allows me to relive fond memories”). Developing innovations with these end-states in mind can result in creative and radical changes since customer-oriented product-market structures may be very different than traditional industry defined competitive boundaries (e.g., Day, et al. 1979; Ratneshwar and Shocker 1991; Shocker, et al. 2004). As implied by Exhibit 2, customers typically map many discrete and continuous features onto fewer higher-level benefits (consequences and desired end-states) through a process of cognitive abstraction (e.g., Johnson and Fornell 1987; Reynolds and Gutman 1988).
[insert Exhibit 3 about here] Exhibit 3 summarizes the discussion so far. The digital camera example illustrates some of the ambiguity inherent in the language of new product development. In some cases, needs, wants, attributes, features, requirements, and specs refer to the same thing. In other instances, these terms capture very different information about what the customer really desires. Highly successful innovations come from a deep understanding of the utilitarian and hedonic benefits that customers desire, i.e., what is widely referred to as customer needs. Importantly, customers cannot always recognize or describe their needs in terms of consequences or end-states. Remember that customer needs are not a particular “solution” (product or service), or a specific set of attributes, specs, etc. As a result, a customer needs hierarchy almost always has to be interpreted from the “raw” data of a customer research study. Several general approaches for identifying customer needs will be discussed later in this chapter.

Customer Needs in the Innovation Process

Exhibit 4 outlines the major steps involved in the “fuzzy front-end” of the innovation process (e.g., Otto and Wood 2001; Ulrich and Eppinger 2004). Understanding customer needs is a key input into what has become known as the voice of the customer (VOC). Originating in the total quality management movement, the voice of the customer and quality function deployment (QFD) enable marketing, design, engineering, R&D, and manufacturing to effectively communicate across functional boundaries (e.g., Hauser and Clausing 1988; Griffin and Hauser 1992; 1993; Shillito 2001; Dahan and Hauser 2002a; Akao and Mazur 2003). This cross-functional communication is crucial to ensure that development efforts focus on innovations that are feasible, salable and desirable (see Exhibit 1). The voice of the customer includes identifying a set of detailed customer needs, as well as summarizing these needs into a hierarchy where each need is prioritized[7] with respect to its customer importance (e.g., Griffin and Hauser 1993; Iansiti and Stein 1995). Prioritizing customer needs is important since it allows the cross-functional development team to make necessary tradeoff decisions when balancing the costs of meeting a customer need with the desirability of that need relative to the entire set of customer needs. The voice of the customer is then translated into requirements and product specs, which in turn are translated into specific product attributes that can be bundled into concepts and prototypes for further testing with customers (e.g., Dahan and Hauser 2002a; Pullman, et al. 2002; Ulrich and Eppinger 2004). Design researchers identify three research platforms (Squires 2002): (1) discovery research (an open-ended exploratory effort to learn about customer culture so as to develop the foundation for “really” new products and services), (2) definition research (which assumes there is already a product concept, and thus define the products by identifying the customer implications associated with specific designs, products, and marketing strategies), and (3) evaluation research (which assumes there is already a working prototype, and thus helps refine and validate prototypes, design usability, market segments, consumer preferences).
[insert Exhibit 4 about here] Practicing designers, as well as the sociology and anthropology literatures, tend to emphasize methods for understanding the complete range of customer needs. For example, many articles discuss ways to uncover embedded customer needs, including empathic design methods (e.g., Leonard-Barton 1995; Leonard and Rayport 1997), user-centered design (e.g., Norman and Draper 1986; Norman 1988; Abras, et al. 2004) and contextual inquiry (e.g., Holtzblat and Beyer 1993) as well as ethnography and nontraditional market research approaches (e.g., Beebe 1995; Patnaik and Becker 1999; Wasson 2000; Kelley 2001; Squires and Byrne 2002; Kumar and Whitney 2003; Masten and Plowman 2003). Used to develop the highly successful Mazda Miata Roadster[8], Kansei engineering has also been proposed as a way to expand customer needs information to include customer feelings and other hedonic benefits (e.g., Nagamachi 1995; 2002). And, researchers have suggested ways to incorporate aesthetics, emotions and experiential aspects into the identification of customer needs (e.g., Patton 1999; Schmitt 1999; Desmet, et al. 2001; Desmet 2003). Some research also addresses the topic of determining priorities, including the use of direct rating scales (Wilkie and Pessemier 1973; Griffin and Hauser 1993), the analytic hierarchy process (Saaty 1988), conjoint analysis (e.g., Green and Srinivasan 1990; Green, et al. 2001), Borda counts (Dym, et al. 2002) and fuzzy/entropy methods (Chan, et al. 1999). The engineering, quality, and operations literatures consider a new product to be a complex assembly of interacting components for which various parametric models are built to optimize performance objectives (e.g., Otto and Wood 1998; McAdams, et al. 1998; Krishnan and Ulrich 2001; Aungst, et al. 2003). According to Michalek, et al. (2005, p43), “engineers generally use intuition when dealing with customer needs, emphasizing the creativeness and functionality of the product concept and working toward technical objectives such are reliability, durability, environmental impact, energy use, heat generation, manufacturability, and cost reduction, among others.” Given a set of customer requirements and product specs, as well as related information on priorities, optimal values for key design variables can be determined using various standard techniques (Papalambros and Wilde 2000). Michalek, et al. (2005) describe how the analytical target cascading method can be used to resolve technical tradeoffs by explicitly recognizing designs that are costly and/or impossible to achieve. By and large, the marketing literature does not directly deal with understanding customer needs (e.g., Tauber 1974; Sanders 1992; Eliashberg, et al. 1995); instead, it either implicitly or explicitly focuses on the concept generation and testing stage in the innovation process (see Exhibit 4). To facilitate communication between marketing and engineering, the marketing literature generally considers a new product or service to be a bundle of “actionable” attributes and characteristics (e.g., see the reviews in Kaul and Rao 1995; Krishnan and Ulrich 2001). However, as noted by Shocker and Srinivasan (1974; 1979) this approach is only “useful for locating ‘new’ product opportunities which may not be substantially different from current alternatives” (Shocker and Srinivasan 1979, p164). Most of the extensive marketing research dealing with product positioning and conjoint analysis assumes that determinant attributes have already been identified (e.g., see the reviews in Green 1975; Shocker and Srinivasan 1979; Green and Srinivasan 1990; Urban and Hauser 1993; Kaul and Rao 1995; Srinivasan, et al. 1997; Green, et al. 2001), although novel applications are still possible (e.g., see the work of Moskowitz-Jacobs in developing new foods and beverages). Moreover, marketing generally does not completely appreciate the complex interactions and constraints among product specs in developing a fully working product; marketing also usually underestimates the fact that some designs are totally infeasible (e.g., Aungst, et al. 2003; Michalek, et al. 2005). The discussion to this point highlights that different research streams separately emphasize each of the critical steps in the innovation process in Exhibit 4. Moreover, the engineering and marketing (and related economics) literatures typically deal with product characteristics and attributes rather than a broader set of customer needs as defined in this chapter (see Exhibits 2 and 3). Since it is very challenging to systematically develop new products that are feasible, salable and desirable without completely understanding customer needs, the relatively large number of failures reported in the press should not be that surprising (see Exhibit 1).
Identifying Customer Needs One widely cited approach for determining the types of customer needs is the Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction (Kano, et al. 1984)[9]. Kano developed his model by adapting the ideas of Fredrick Herzberg on the asymmetry of the factors related to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction (i.e., job satisfaction is related to “motivators” like achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, whereas job dissatisfaction is related to “hygiene” factors like company policy, relationship with supervisor, work conditions, salary; Herzberg, et al. 1959; Herzberg 1968). In the 1970’s, Kano was working with the Konica camera company to develop some highly differentiated new products (e.g., Scholtes 1997). Konica’s sales and research groups found that customers only asked for minor improvements to the existing camera models. Kano, however, believed that really new innovations did not come from simply listening to what customers were verbally saying, but the development team had to develop a deep understanding of customer’s real (latent) needs. Consequently, Konica staffers went to commercial photo processing labs to investigate the actual prints taken by customers. They found many mistakes and failures: blurry images, under and over exposure, blank film rolls. Addressing these latent needs led to features such as auto focus, built-in-flash, and automatic film rewinding that are widely available in cameras today.
[insert Exhibit 5 about here] The key concepts in Kano’s model are summarized in Exhibit 5. The horizontal axis in this diagram indicates the degree to which a particular customer need is addressed in a (new, existing) product or service, ranging from completely absent to completely addressed. The vertical axis in this diagram indicates how satisfied the customer is for a specific implementation of a customer need, ranging from delighted to disgusted. Within this two-dimensional space, three different types of customer needs can be defined[10]. The bottom curve, labeled basic needs, represents needs that are taken for granted and typically assumed by the customer to be met (i.e., these are needs that “must be” satisfied). “The camera works out of the box, the camera is safe, the battery can be recharged by plugging into any outlet” are examples of basic needs for a digital camera. These needs are the “order qualifiers” and thus must be of high quality; these needs are needed to simply be in the game. Completely meeting basic needs cannot greatly increase customer satisfaction, but if they are absent or below par customers will not react favorably. The middle curve, labeled performance needs, represent needs for which customer satisfaction is roughly proportional to the performance exhibited by the product or service (i.e., these needs are “linear” in that “more is better’). For example, longer battery life in a digital camera and more internal memory for image storage are preferred. These needs are frequently requested by customers during the course of traditional market research studies, and are typically associated with predictable product improvements (i.e., the “features” in Exhibit 2). The upper curve, labeled exciting needs, represent needs that the customer does not expect to be satisfied. Thus, if this need is completely addressed the customer is delighted but if not, the customer does not really care. These needs are the “order winners” for customers. For example, side airbags, global positioning systems, air-less tires that never get flat for automobiles might be exciting needs today (e.g., Mayersohn 2005). The underlying message of the Kano model is simple, yet powerful. Customer needs are dynamic in that an exciting need today will eventually migrate to being a performance need and will become a basic need tomorrow (e.g., automobile air conditioning was a delighter in the 1950’s but is a basic need today; more recently anti-lock braking systems and cup holders that were once exciting needs have become standard equipment in most automobiles). Thus, customer expectations increase over time and, consequently, firms must continually strive to better understand evolving customer needs in order to stay competitive.
[insert Exhibit 6 about here] Exhibit 6 summarizes the current theory and practice for understanding customer needs. Interpreted needs (i.e., the voice of the customer must be “translated” into a needs hierarchy) consist of articulated and unarticulated needs. Articulated needs are those needs that a customer can readily verbalize, if asked appropriately. Unarticulated needs are needs that customers cannot easily verbalize. It is important to keep in mind that there are many reasons why customers say things (e.g., they believe it is what the researchers want to hear; see Tourangeau, et al. 2000) and many reasons why they don’t say other things (including they didn’t remember, they didn’t want to tell, they didn’t know how to tell, etc.). Articulated needs generally involve information dealing with “what customers say.” Traditional market research methods such as focus groups, personal depth interviews, surveys, email questionnaires, and product clinics can be used to collect data on articulated needs (e.g., Urban and Hauser 1993; McDonagh-Philp and Bruseberg 2000). Well-known market research methods include conjoint analysis, perceptual mapping, segmentation, preference modeling, and simulated test markets (e.g., see the reviews in Urban, et al. 1983; Green and Krieger 1989; Urban and Hauser 1993; Kaul and Rao 1995; Urban 1996; Urban, et al. 1997; Green, et al. 2001). Information on articulated needs can be obtained using category problem analysis (e.g., Tauber 1975; Swaddling and Zobel 1996); see Exhibit 7 for an example. Other techniques include repertory grids (Kelly 1955), Echo procedures (Barthol 1976), verbal protocols (Ericsson and Simon 1984), laddering and means-ends analysis (Reynolds and Gutman 1988), as well as projective techniques like product personality profiling, having customers draw their ideal product, hypnosis, and archetype analysis (e.g., Shalit 1999).
[insert Exhibit 7 about here] Unarticulated needs generally involve information dealing with “what customers do” and “what customers make” (see Sanders 1992). As suggested by Sanders and Dandanate (1999), to deeply understand customer needs we need to learn about their memories as well as their current and ideal experiences. To accomplish this, we can listen to what customers say, we can interpret what customers express and make inferences about what they think, we can watch what customers do, we can observe what customers use, we can uncover what customers know, we can reach toward understanding what customers feel, and we can appreciate what customers dream. Participant observation, applied (rapid) ethnography, and contextual inquiry are the primary methods to find out what customers do. Common characteristics of these methods are that they take place in the customer’s natural surroundings and that they are open-ended in nature. For example, “listening” to what customers say can be accomplished by taking notes of conversations and audio taping interviews; “observing” what customers do is done by watching behaviors, making notes and mapping patterns of behavior, sketching relationships between stakeholders, photographing or video taping the general customer environment, using web cameras to watch activities; “observing” what customers use can be performed by watching for unobtrusive behavior traces (e.g., wear and tear on artifacts and objects), watching or photographing or video taping products and services being used, using web cameras (Sanders 2000). As example of observing what customers do and use, see the series of photos in Exhibit 8. These photos depict customers using barbeques at tailgating events before the big game. Key unarticulated needs discovered by the development team included a need for the capacity of a full-size grill, portability, comfort while cooking, safety, as well as quick cool down and clean up. This ethnographic fieldwork, along with other market research, led to the introduction of Char-Broil’s highly successful Grill2Go portable propane grill (see Grill2Go 2004).
[insert Exhibit 8 about here] In addition to traditional ethnographic methods, it is possible to have customers engage in self-reporting (e.g., studies involving diaries, beepers, daily logs, disposable cameras, self-videotaping, web cameras; see Sanders 2002), have the development team “be the customer” (e.g., collect currently available advertising and point-of-purchase displays, analyze service and pricing options, visit retailers, talk to a salesperson, visit company web sites, call customer support, etc.; see Griffin 1996; Otto and Wood 2001), and/or conduct an artifact analysis of existing products and services. Human factors and ergonomics research are other approaches to better understand what customers do (e.g., Salvendy 1997). Participatory and collaborative design between the development team and customer is the primary method for discovering what customers know, feel and dream through what they make. Techniques include lead user analysis (e.g., von Hippel 1986; von Hippel, et al. 1999), the use of customer toolkits (e.g., Thomke 2003; von Hippel 2001; Franke and Piller 2004; Urban and Hauser 2004), metaphor elicitation (Zaltman 1997; Christensen and Olson 2002), “serious play” using LEGOs (Roos, et al. 2004), as well as making collages, cognitive image mapping, and Velcro modeling (Sanders 2000; SonicRim 2004). The discussion in this section indicates that a variety of traditional and nontraditional market research approaches can be used to gain a rich understanding of customer needs. Indeed, as recommended by Sanders (1992) multiple methods should be used to have a complete coverage of the underlying needs. The information that can be captured from these approaches differs quite a bit. In particular, the degree to which customer needs must be interpreted from the original “raw” data increases as interest moves from learning what customers say, to what customers do, to what customers make. However, in all cases the customer “voice” must be translated into a hierarchy of needs. A detailed discussion of techniques for translating data from these approaches into interpreted needs is beyond the scope of this chapter. Excellent coverage of approaches that have been successful in practice, including the use of the KJ analysis and affinity diagrams to sort the huge amount of data generally collected into a needs hierarchy, are in Burchill, et al. (1997), Burchill and Brodie (1997), Scupin 1997; Otto and Wood (2001), Shillito (2001), Mello (2003), and Ulrich and Eppinger (2004), among others.
Future Research Directions It is clear that innovation and new product development are challenging activities. Innovations, especially those involving new technologies, are increasingly more complex with many hundreds (if not thousands) of parts, involving dispersed development teams of hundreds of people, and costing several million dollars in development before market launch (e.g., Ulrich and Eppinger 2004). In addition, firms are under increasing pressure to shorten their development times (e.g., Bayus 1997; Bayus, et al. 1997; Reinertsen 1997; Smith and Reinertsen 1998). And, the costs of studies to understand customer needs are high[11].
[insert Exhibit 9 about here] Under these conditions, it is not surprising that a lot of effort has been, and should continue to be, on developing new methods for understanding customer needs. Naturally, practicing design firms will continue to develop novel methods for understanding customer needs (e.g., see Exhibit 9 for a selected summary of IDEO’s Method Cards). Academic research is also engaged in this activity. For example, Uran and Hauser (2004) describe a relatively cost effective method for “listening in” as customers search the Internet for information and advice about automobile purchases. Using a custom designed web-based (virtual) advisor, customers can generate a large number of preferred combinations of features, and, importantly, they can also reveal their needs for “new” combinations not currently available. Dahan and Hauser (2002b) report several other “virtual customer” methods: interactive web-based conjoint analysis, concept testing of virtual prototypes, fast polyhedral adaptive conjoint estimation in which large numbers of product features can be quickly screened and importance weights estimated, interactive web-based environments where customers can design their ideal virtual prototypes, the “information pump” that allows customers to interact in a web-based game with incentives for customer to think hard and to verbalize the product features that are important to them, stock-market-like securities trading where customers interact to identify novel and winning concepts. Finch (1999) discusses how information from customer product and service postings to Internet newsgroups gleaned from Usenet can be used to understand customer needs. Fuller, et al. (2004) describe a method to harness the innovative ideas within online communities, along with a virtual product development lab, to generate information on customer needs. And, Nambisan (2002) proposes a framework of how virtual customer communities can facilitate new product development. Since information on needs must ultimately be obtained from customers, an important direction for future research is to incorporate findings from the consumer decision making literature dealing with “constructed preferences.” As reviewed by Bettman, et al. (1998), a large body of research dealing with consumer decision making argues that: (1) preferences among options critically depends on the customer’s goals, (2) preferences depend on the complexity of the decision task, (3) preferences are highly context dependent, (4) preferences depend on what is specifically asked of customers, and (5) preferences depend on how the choice set is framed (e.g., losses loom larger than gains; see Kahneman and Tversky 1979; Laibson and Zeckhauser 1998). The idea that preferences are often constructed “on the fly” implies that the information available from customers is highly sensitive to how the concept is communicated as well as context—customers find it difficult to develop well-defined preferences and customers often bring multiple goals to any decision problem (Bettman, et al. 1998). This line of research provides a possible explanation for the inadequacy of traditional market research methods in uncovering customer needs, as well as the success attributed to empathic, ethnographic and the context specific approaches advocated by designers, sociologists, and anthropologists. Other relevant research includes work on choice bracketing (Read, et al. 1999), construal processes (Fischoff, et al. 1999), choice deferral (Dhar 1997), contingent valuation (e.g., Kahneman, et al. 1999), economic modeling and rationality (McFadden 1999), and measurement methods (Payne, et al. 1999). Relating work on the difficulty customers have in making trade-offs seems particularly promising to enhance understanding of customer needs. For example, research finds that consumers are resistant to trading off some quality to get a better price and prefer paying a higher price to get higher quality (e.g., Dhar and Simonson 1999; Nowlis and Simonson 1997; Luce, et al. 1999). Other researchers argue that some product attributes are more difficult to trade off than others (e.g., Tetlock 1992 calls these “sacred” values; Baron and Spranca 1997 discuss “protected” attributes). As also suggested by Bettman, et al. (1998), continued research on the properties of customer needs (attributes) and the effects of these properties on trade-offs is in order. Finally, an especially interesting direction for future research is to develop a comprehensive theory around what I call customer roadmapping. As discussed by Sandia National Laboratories (2004), technology roadmapping is “a needs-driven technology planning process to help identify, select, and develop technology alternatives to satisfy a set of product needs.” Similarly, customer roadmapping is a customer planning process to help identify and select key customer needs to be used as input into the innovation and product development process. An important component of customer roadmapping is a theory of “universal” customer needs dimensions that can be used as a reference point for methods that collect needs information, as well as a starting point for the construction of a hierarchy of specific needs for a particular context and segment of customers. A set of universal needs dimensions would be an important input for planning purposes since it would allow comparisons and benchmarking over time across products, categories, and markets. If systematic patterns of evolution within these universal needs dimensions can be established, customer roadmapping can be a useful forecasting tool[12]. As an example, consider the following four “universal” customer needs dimensions that might be associated with a product or service: (1) functionality (e.g., performance, reliability, compatibility, flexibility), (2) form (e.g., aesthetics, durability, portability, maintainability, uniqueness), (3) usability (e.g., ease of use, complexity), and (4) cost (e.g., acquisition, use, disposal). Future research might establish the validity of these four dimensions, and then develop a set of customer needs for the next level down. For example, detailed “maps” of product functionality (McAdams, et al. 1999) and usability (Jordan 1998; Han, et al. 2001; Babbar, et al. 2002) have been proposed, as have universal “utility levers” for services (Kim and Mauborgne 2000) and scales for uniqueness (Tian, et al. 2001). Reverse engineering of products can also be used to construct the evolutionary path of product attributes (Otto and Wood 1998; McAdams, et al. 1999).


Understanding customer needs is a crucial input into the innovation and new product development process, and at the same time, it is a very challenging endeavor. This chapter has attempted to review the literature relating to customer needs that spans several disciplines. As the discussion in this chapter implies, much of the published research related to customer needs has been concerned with the cross-fertilization of ideas and concepts across disciplines (see Exhibit 10). Consequently, progress in fully integrating a deep understanding of customer needs into the innovation process has been slow. But, this review also indicates that the boundaries between the various functions are coming down. There will always be a tradeoff between the expediency and cost efficiency of practical methods for understanding customer needs versus methods of obtaining a deeper understanding of needs that involve more effort and resources. There also seems to be several directions that academic research can explore in the future. In all cases though, the challenge will be to integrate across multiple disciplines. But, this is what makes this topic interesting!
[insert Exhibit 10 about here]

Abras, C., D. Maloney-Krichmar, and J. Preece (2004), “User-Centered Design,” in W. Bainbridge (ed.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing Group.

Akao, Y. and G. Mazur (2003), “The Leading Edge in QFD: Past, Present and Future,” International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 20 (1), 20-35.

Associated Press (2003), “Plans for Moist Toilet-Paper Rolls Unravel,” Miami Herald, September 2, (accessed 12/12/03).

Aungst, S., R. Barton, and D. Wilson (2003), “The Virtual Integrated Design Method,” Quality Engineering, 15 (4), 565-579.

Austin, J. and J. Vancouver (1996), “Goal Constructs in Psychology: Structure, Process, and Content,” Psychological Bulletin, 120 (3), 338-375.

Babbar, S., R. Behara, and E. White (2002), “Mapping Product Usability,” International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 22 (9/10), 1071-1089.

Baron, J. and M. Spranca (1997), “Protected Values,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 70 (April), 1-16.

Barthol, R. (1976), “ECHO: Estimating Values in Familiar and Unfamiliar Cultures,” in H. Sinaiko and L. Broedling (eds.), Perspectives on Attitude Assessment: Surveys and Their Alternatives, Champaign, IL: Pendelton Press.

Bayus, B. (1997), “Speed-to-Market and New Product Performance Tradeoffs,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 14 (Nov.), 485-497.

Bayus, B., S. Jain, and A. Rao (1997), “Too Little and Too Early: Introduction Timing and New Product Performance in the Personal Digital Assistant Industry,” Journal of Marketing Research, 34 (Feb.), 50-63.

Beebe, J. (1995), “Basic Concepts and Techniques of Rapid Assessment,” Human Organization, 54 (1), 42-51.

Bettman, J., M. Luce, and J. Payne (1998), “Constructive Consumer Choice Processes,” Journal of Consumer Research, 25 (3), 187-217.

Brand Strategy (2003), “Innovation: Where Have All the Ideas Gone?” Brand Strategy, (Nov.), 20.

Burchill, G., et al. (1997), Concept Engineering, Center for Quality of Management, Cambridge, MA, Document No. ML0080.

Burchill, G. and C. Brodie (1997), Voices into Choices: Acing on the Voice of the Customer, Madison, WI: Joiner/Oriel Inc.

Captain, S. (2004), “Making Sense of Specs,” New York Times, Dec. 23, (accessed 12/23/04).

Center for Quality of Management (1993), “Special Issue: Kano’s Method for Understanding Customer-Defined Quality,” Center for Quality of Management Journal, 2 (4), 3-36.

Chan, L., H. Kao, A. Ng, and M. Wu (1999), “Rating the Importance of Customer Needs in Quality Function Deployment by Fuzzy and Entropy Methods,” International Journal of Production Research, 37 (11), 2499-2518.

Christensen, C. (1997), The Innovator’s Dilemma, Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Christensen, C. and M. Raynor (2003), The Innovator’s Solution, Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Christensen, G. and J. Olson (2002), “Mapping Consumers’ Mental Models with ZMET,” Psychology & Marketing, 19 (6), 477-502.

Cooper, R. (1999), “From Experience: The Invisible Success Factors in Product Innovation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 16 (April), 115-133.

Crawford, M. and A. Di Benedetto (2003), New Products Management, New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Cyberkinetics, Inc. (2004), (accessed 12/31/04).

Dahan, E. and J. Hauser (2002a), “Product Development: Managing a Dispersed Process,” in B. Weitz and R. Wensley (eds.), Handbook of Marketing, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 179-222.

Dahan, E. and J. Hauser (2002b), “The Virtual Customer,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 19, 332-353.

Day, G., A. Shocker, and R. Srivastava (1979), “Customer-Oriented Approaches to Identifying Product-Markets,” Journal of Marketing, 43 (Fall), 8-19.

Desmet, P., C. Overbeeke, and S. Tax (2001), “Designing Products with Added Emotional Value: Development and Application of an Approach for Research Through Design,” The Design Journal, 4 (1), 32-47.

Desmte, P. (2003), “A Multilayered Model of Product Emotions,” The Design Journal, 6 (2).

Dhar, R. (1997), “Context and Task Effects on Choice Deferral,” Marketing Letters, 8 (1), 119-130.

Dhar, R. and I. Simonson (1999), “Making Complementary Choices in Consumption Episodes: Highlighting Versus Balancing,” Journal of Marketing Research, 36 (Feb.), 49-44.

Dym, C., W. Wood, and M. Scott (2002), “Rank Ordering Engineering Designs: Pairwise Comparison Charts and Borda Counts,” Research in Engineering Design, 13, 236-242.

Eliashberg, J., G. Lilien, and V. Rao (1995), “Minimizing Technological Oversights: A Marketing Research Perspective,” in R. Garud, P. Nayyar, and Z. Shapira (eds.), Technological Innovation: Oversights and Foresights, New York: Cambridge University Press, 214-232.

Elliot, H. (1998), “Shoot First, Do Market Research Later,” Electronic Business, (Jan.), 49-50, 82.

Ericsson, K., & Simon, H. (1984), Protocol Analysis: Verbal Reports as Data, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Farrell, C. (1993), “A Theory of Technological Progress,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 44, 161-178.

Finch, B. (1999), “Internet Discussions as a Source for Consumer Product Customer Involvement and Quality Information: An Exploratory Study,” Journal of Operations Management, 17, 535-556.

Fischoff, B. N. Welsh, and S. Frederick (1999), “Construal Processes in Preference Assessment,” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 19 (1-3), 139-164.

Franke, N. and F. Piller (2004), “Value Creation by Toolkits for User Innovation and Design: The Case of the Watch Market,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 21 (6), 401-415.

Franklin, C. (2003), Why Innovation Fails, Rollinsford, NH: Spiro Press.

Fuller, J., M. Bartl, H. Ernst, and H. Muhlbacher (2004), “Community Based Innovation: A Method to Utilize the Innovative Potential of Online Communities,” Proceedings of the 37th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, (Jan.), 1-10.

Geistfeld, L., G. Sproles, and S. Badenhop (1977), “The Concept and Measurement of a Hierarchy of Product Characteristics,” in W. Perreault (ed.), Advances in Consumer Research, 4, Atlanta: Association for Consumer Research, 302-307.

Gershenson, J. and L. Stauffer (1999), “A Taxonomy for Design Requirements from Corporate Customers,” Research in Engineering Design, 11, 103-115.

Gershman, M. (1990), Getting It Right the Second Time, New York: Addison-Wesley.

Green, M., J. Linsey, C. Seepersad, K. Wood, and D. Jensen (2006), “Frontier Design: A Product Usage Context Method,” Proceedings of DETC/CIE, Philadelphia, PA.

Green, P. (1974), “A Multidimensional Model of Product-Features Association,” Journal of Business Research, 2 (2), 107-118.

Green, P. (1975), “Marketing Applications of MDS: Assessment and Outlook,” Journal of Marketing, 39 (Jan.), 24-31.

Green, P. and A. Krieger (1989), “Recent Contributions to Optimal Product Positioning and Buyer Segmentation,” European Journal of Operational Research, 41 (2), 127-141.

Green, P. and V. Srinivasan (1990), “Conjoint Analysis in Marketing: New Developments with Implications for Research and Practice,” Journal of Marketing, 54 (Oct.), 3-19.

Green, P., A. Krieger, and Y. Wind (2001), “Thirty Years of Conjoint Analysis: Reflections and Prospects,” Interfaces, 31 (3), S56-S73.

Griffin, A. and J. Hauser (1992), “Patterns of Communication Between Marketing, Engineering, and Manufacturing – A Comparison Between Two New Product Teams,” Management Science, 38 (3), 360-373.

Griffin, A. and J. Hauser (1993), “The Voice of the Customer,” Marketing Science, 12 (1), 1-27.

Griffin, A. (1996), “Obtaining Customer Needs for Product Development,” in M. Rosenau, et al. (eds.), The PDMA Handbook of New Product Development, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 153-166.

Grill2Go (2004), (accessed 12/30/04).

Han, S., M. Yun, J. Kwahk, and S. Hong (2001), “Usability of Consumer Electronic Products,” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 28, 143-151.

Hauser, J. (1984), “Customer Research to Focus R&D Projects,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 2, 70-84.

Hauser, J. and D. Clausing (1988), “The House of Quality,” Harvard Business Review, 66 (May-June), 63-73.

Hauser, J. (1993), “How Puritan-Bennett Used the House of Quality,” Sloan Management Review, 34 (3), 61-70.

Henard, D. and D. Szymanski (2001), “Why Some New Products are More Successful than Others,” Journal of Marketing Research, 38 (3), 362-375.

Herzberg, F., B. Mausner, and B. Snyderman (1959), The Motivation to Work, New York: John Wiley.

Herzberg, F. (1968), “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?” Harvard Business Review, 46 (1), 53-62.

Holtzblat, K. and H. Beyer (1993), “Making Customer-Centered Design Work for Teams,” Communications of the ACM, (Oct.), 93-103.

Huffman, C., S. Ratneshwar, and D. Mick (2000), “An Integrative Framework of Consumer Goals,” in S. Ratneshwar, et al. (eds.), The Why of Consumption, London: Routledge.

Iansiti, M. and E. Stein (1995), “Understanding User Needs,” Harvard Business School Note 9-695-051.

Johnson, M. and C. Fornell (1987), “The Nature and Methodological Implications of the Cognitive Representations of Products,” Journal of Consumer Research, 14, 214-228.

Jordan, P. (1998), An Introduction to Usability, Bristol, PA: Taylor & Francis.

Kahneman, D. and A. Tversky (1979), “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Making Under Risk,” Econometrica, 47 (March) 18-36.

Kahneman, D>, I. Ritov, and D. Schkade (1999), “Economic Preferences or Attitude Expressions? An Analysis of Dollar Responses to Public Issues,” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 19 (1-3), 203-235.

Kano, N., S. Tsuji, N. Seraku, and F. Takahashi (1984), “Attractive Quality and Must-Be Quality,” Hinshitsu: The Journal of Japanese Society for Quality Control, 14 (2), 39-48.

Karkkainen, H., K. Elfvengren, and M. Tuominen (2003), “A Tool for Systematic Assessment of Customer Needs in Industrial Markets,” International Journal of Technology Management, 25 (6/7), 588-604.

Kaul, A. and V. Rao (1995), “Research for Product Positioning and Design Decisions: An Integrative Review,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 12, 293-320.

Kelley, T. (2001), The Art of Innovation, New York: Currency Books.

Kelly, G. (1955), The Psychology of Personal Constructs, New York: W.W. Norton.

Kim, W. and R. Mauborgne (2000), “Knowing a Winning Business Idea When You See One,” Harvard Business Review, 77 (Sept.-Oct.), 129-138.

Kirchner, P. (1995), Forgotten Fads and Fabulous Flops, Los Angeles: General Publishing Group.

Krishnan, V. and K. Ulrich (2001), “Product Development Decisions: A Review of the Literature,” Management Science, 47 (1), 1-21.

Kumar, V. and P. Whitney (2003), “Faster, Cheaper, Deeper User Research,” Design Management Journal, 14 (2), 50-57.

Laibson, D. and R. Zeckhauser (1998), “Amos Tversky and the Ascent of Behavioral Economics,” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 16, 7-47.

Lancaster, K. (1971), Consumer Demand: A New Approach, New York: Columbia University Press.

Leonard-Barton, D. (1995), Wellsprings of Knowledge, Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Leonard, D. and J. Rayport (1997), “Spark Innovation Through Empathic Design,” Harvard Business Review, (Nov.-Dec.), 102-113.

Luce, M., J. Payne and J. Bettman (1999), “Emotional Trade-Off Difficulty and Choice,” Journal of Marketing Research, 36 (May), 43-159.

Martin, J. (1995), “Ignore Your Customer,” Fortune, 131 (8), 121-124.

Martin, M. (1999), Design for Variety: A Methodology for Developing Product Platform Architectures, Ph.D. dissertation in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, (accessed 12/31/04).

Maslow, A. (1954), Motivation and Personality, New York: Harper and Row.

Masten, D. and T. Plowman (2003), “Digital Ethnography: The Next Wave in Understanding the Consumer Experience,” Design Management Journal, 14 (2), 75-83.

Matzler, K. and H. Hintehuber (1998), “How to Make Product Development Projects More Successful by Integrating Kano’s Model of Customer Satisfaction into Quality Function Deployment,” Technovation, 18 (1), 25-37.

Mayersohn, N. (2005), “Reinventing the Wheel (and the Tire, Too),” New York Times, Jan. 3, (accessed 1/3/05).

McAdams, D., R. Stone, and K. Wood (1999), “Functional Interdependence and Product Similarity Based on Customer Needs,” Research in Engineering Design, 11, 1-19.

McDonagh-Philp, D. and A. Bruseberg (2000), “Using Focus Groups to Support New Product Development,” Engineering Designer, 26 (5), 4-9.

McFadden, D. (1999), “Rationality for Economists?” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 19 (1-3), 73-105.

McMath, R. and T. Forbes (1998), What Were They Thinking? New York: Times Books.

Mello, S. (2003), Customer-Centric Product Definition, Boston: PDC Professional Pub.

Michalek, J., F. Feinberg, and P. Papalambros (2005), “Linking Marketing and Engineering Product Design Decisions via Analytical Target Cascading,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 22 (1), 42-62.

Molotch, H. (2003), Where Stuff Comes From, New York: Taylor & Francis Books.

Montoya-Weiss, M. and R. Calantone (1994), “Determinants of New Product Performance: A Review and Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 11 (5), 397-417.

Morita, A. (1986), Made in Japan, New York: Penguin Books.

Nagamachi, M. (1995), “Kansei Engineering: A New Ergonomic Consumer-Oriented Technology for Product Development,” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 15, 3-11.

Nagamachi, M. (2002), “Kansei Engineering as a Powerful Consumer-Oriented Technology for Product Development,” Applied Ergonomics, 33, 289-294.

Nambisan, S. (2002), “Designing Virtual Customer Environments for New Product Development: Toward a Theory,” Academy of Management Review, 27 (3), 392-413.

Nelson, E. (2002), “The Tissue that Tanked,” Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition, September, (accessed 12/12/03).

Norman, D. and S. Draper (eds.) (1986), User-Centered System Design: New Perspectives on Human-Computer Interaction, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.

Norman, D. (1988), The Psychology of Everyday Things, New York: Doubleday.

Nowlis, S. and I. Simonson (1997), “Attribute-Task Compatibility as a Determinant of Consumer Preference Reversals, Journal of Marketing Research, 34 (May), 205-218.

Olshavsky, R. and R. Spreng (1996), “An Exploratory Study of the Innovation Evaluation Process,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 13, 512-529.

Otto, K. and S. Wood (1998), “Product Evolution: A Reverse Engineering and Redesign Methodolgy,” Research in Engineering Design, 10, 226-243.

Otto, K. and K. Wood (2001), Product Design, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Papalambros, P. and D. Wilde (2000), Principles of Optimal Design: Modeling and Computation, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Patnaik, D. and R. Becker (1999), “Needfinding: The Why and How of Uncovering People’s Needs,” Design Management Journal, 10 (2), 37-43.

Patton, A. (1999), “Deconstructing Design for Marketing: Tools for Accessing the Design Process,” Journal of Market Focused Management, 4, 309-319.

Payne, J., J. Bettman, D. Schkade (1999), “Measuring Constructed Preferences: Towards a Building Code,” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 19 (1-3), 243-270.

Pieters, R., H. Baumgartner, and D. Allen (1995), “A Means-End Chain Approach to Consumer-Goal Structures,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 12, 227-244.

Power, C. (1992), “Will It Sell in Podunk? Hard to Say” Business Week, Aug. 10, 46-47.

Power, C. (1993), “Flops: Too Many Products Fail. Here’s Why – and How to Do Better,” Business Week, Aug. 16, 76-81.

Pullman, M., W. Moore, and D. Wardell (2002), “A Comparison of Quality Function Deployment and Conjoint Analysis in New Product Design,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 19, 354-364.

QFD Institute (2004), “Kansei Engineering Project: Mazda Miata,” (accessed 10/21/04).

Ratchford, B. (1975),”The New Economic Theory of Consumer Behavior: An Interpretive Essay,” Journal of Consumer Research, 2 (2), 65-75.

Ratneshwar, R. and A. Shocker (1991), “Substitution in Use and the Role of Usage Context in Product Category Structures,” Journal of Marketing Research, 28, 281-295.

Ratneshwar, S., A. Shocker, J. Cotte, and R. Srinivastava (1999), “Product, Person, and Purpose: Putting the Consumer Back into Theories of Dynamic Market Behavior,” Journal of Strategic Marketing, 7, 191-208.

Read, D., G. Loewenstein, M. Rabin (1999), “Choice Bracketing,” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 19 (1-3), 171-197.

Reinertsen, D. (1997), Managing the Design Factory, New York: Free Press.

Reynolds, T. and J. Gutman (1988), “Laddering Theory, Method, Analysis, and Interpretation,” Journal of Advertising Research, 28, 11-31.

Roos, J., B. Victor, and M. Statler (2004), “Playing Seriously With Strategy,” Long Range Planning, 37 (6), 549-568.

Rosen, S. (1974), “Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition,” Journal of Political Economy, 82 (Jan./Feb.), 34-55.

Saaty, T. (1988), The Analytic Hierarchy Process: Planning, Priority Setting, Resource Allocation, Pittsburgh: RWS Publications.

Salvendy, G. (1997), Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics, New York: Wiley-Interscience.

Sanders, E. (1992), “Converging Perspectives: Product Development Research for the 1990’s,” Design Management Journal, 3 (4).

Sanders, E. and U. Dandavate (1999), “Design for Experiencing: New Tools,” in C. Overbeeke and P. Hekkert (eds.), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Design and Emotion, Delft.

Sanders, E. (2000), “Generative Tools for CoDesigning,” in S. Scrivener, L. Ball, and A. Woodcock (eds.), Collaborative Design, London: Springer-Verlag, 3-12.

Sanders, E. (2002), “Ethnography in NPD Research: How ‘Applied Ethnography’ Can Improve Your NPD Research Process,” Visions, (April), (accessed 1/3/05).

Sandia National Laboratories (2004), “Fundamentals of Technology Roadmapping,” (accessed 12/31/04).

Saranow, J. (2004), “The Puncture Wound I Got for Christmas,” Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, D1,D3.

Schmitt, B. (1999), Experiential Marketing, New York: The Free Press.

Schnaars, S. 1989), Megamistakes: Forecasting and the Myth of Rapid Technological Change, New York: Free Press.

Scholtes, P. (1997), The Leader’s Handbook, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Schwartz, E. (2004), “The Sound War,” Technology Review, (May), 50-54.

Scupin, R. (1997), “The KJ Method: A Technique for Analyzing Data Derived from Japanese Ethnology,” Human Organization, 56 (2), 233-237.

Shalit, R. (1999), “The Return of the Hidden Persuaders,” Salon Media, (accessed 1/03/05).

Shillito, M.L. (2001), Acquiring, Processing, and Deploying Voice of the Customer, New York: St. Lucie Press.

Shocker, A. and S. Srinivasan (1974), “A Consumer Based Methodology for the Introduction of New Product Ideas,” Management Science, 20 (6), 921-937.

Shocker, A. and S. Srinivasan (1979), “Multiattribute Approaches for Product Concept Evaluation and Generation: A Critical Review,” Journal of Marketing Research, 16 (May), 159-180.

Shocker, A., B. Bayus, and N. Kim (2004), “Product Complements and Substitutes in the Real World: The Relevance of ‘Other’ Products,” Journal of Marketing, 68 (Jan.), 28-40.

Smith, P. and D. Reinertsen (1998), Developing Products in Half the Time, New York: John Wiley & Sons.

SonicRim (2004), (accessed 12/31/04).

Squires, S. (2002), “Doing the Work: Customer Research in the Product Development and Design Industry,” in Squires, S. and B. Byrne (eds.), Creating Breakthrough Ideas: The Collaboration of Anthropologists and Designers in the Product Development Industry, Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey, 103-124.

Squires, S. and B. Byrne (eds.) (2002), Creating Breakthrough Ideas: The Collaboration of Anthropologists and Designers in the Product Development Industry, Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey.

Srinivasan, V. W. Lovejoy, and D. Beach (2001), “Integrated Product Design for Marketability and Manufacturing,” Journal of Marketing Research, 34 (Feb.) 154-163.

Stevens, G. and J. Burley (1997), “3,000 Raw Ideas = 1 Commercial Success!” Research-Technology Management, (May-June), 16-27.

Swaddling, J. and M. Zobel (1996), “Beating the Odds,” Marketing Management, 4 (4), 20-33.

Tauber, E. (1974), “How Market Research Discourages Major Innovation,” Business Horizons, 17 (June), 25.

Tauber, E. (1975), “Discovering New Product Opportunities with Problem Inventory Analysis,” Journal of Marketing, 39 (Jan.), 67-70.

Tetlock, P. (1992), “The Impact of Accountability on Judgement and Choice: Towards a Social Contingency Model,” in M. Zanna (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 25, SanDiego: Academic Press, 331-376.

Thomke, S. (2003), Experimentation Matters: Unlocking the Potential of New Technologies for Innovation, Boston: Harvard University Press.

Tian, K., W. Bearden, and Hunter (2001), “Consumers’ Need for Uniqueness: Scale Development and Validation,” Journal of Consumer Research, 28 (June), 50-66.

Tourangeau, R., L. Rips, and K. Rasinski (2000), The Psychology of Survey Response, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ulrich, K. and D. Ellison (1999), “Holistic Customer Requirements and the Design-Select Decision,” Management Science, 45 (5), 641-658.

Ulrich, K. and S. Eppinger (2004), Product Design and Development, New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Ulwick, A. (2005), What Customers Want, New York: McGraw Hill.

Urban, G., G. Katz, T. Hatch and A. Silk (1983), “The ASSESSOR Pre-Test Market Evaluation System.” Interfaces, 13 (6), 38-59.

Urban, G. (1996), “New Product Modeling: A 30 Year Retrospective and Future Challenges,” MIT Sloan Working Paper 3908-96, (accessed 1/03/05).

Urban, G. and J. Hauser (1993), Design and Marketing of New Products, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Urban, G. and J. Hauser (2004), “Listening In to Find and Explore New Combinations of Customer Needs,” Journal of Marketing, 68 (April), 72-87.

Urban, G., J. Hauser, W. Qualls, B. Weinberg, J. Bohlmann, and R. Chicos (1997), "Information Acceleration: Validation And Lessons From The Field," Journal of Marketing Research, 61 (1), 143-153.

von Hippel, E. (1986) "Lead Users: A Source of Novel Product Concepts," Management Science 32 (7), 791-805.

von Hippel, E. (2001), “Perspective: User Toolkits for Innovation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 18 (4), 247-257.

von Hippel, E., S. Thomke, and M. Sonnack (1999), "Creating Breakthroughs at 3M," Harvard Business Review, (Sept.-Oct.), 47-57.

Wasson, C. (2000), “Ethnography in the Field of Design,” Human Organization, 59 (4), 377-388.

Waters, S. and D. Field (2003), “The Segway Human Transporter: Developed with Passion and Principle,” Design Management Journal, 14 (2), 25-28.

Wilkie, W. and E. Pessemier (1973), “Issues in Marketing’s Use of Multi-Attribute Attitude Models,” Journal of Marketing Research, 10 (Nov.), 428-441.

Woodruff, R. and S. Gardial (1996), Know Your Customer: New Approaches to Understanding Customer Value and Satisfaction, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers.

Zaltman, G. (1997), “Rethinking Market Research: Putting People Back In,” Journal of Marketing Research, 23 (Nov.), 424-437.

Exhibit 1

The Innovation Space

Exhibit 2

An Example of Customer Needs for a Digital Camera

Desired End-States Consequences Features

Exhibit 3

The Languages of New Product Development

Exhibit 4

The Fuzzy Front-End of New Product Development

Exhibit 5

The Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction

Exhibit 6

Approaches for Understanding Customer Needs

Exhibit 7

Example of Category Problem Analysis for Sandwich Bags

Exhibit 8

Example of Ethnographic Fieldwork at Tailgating Events
(source: Char-Broil)

Exhibit 9

Selected Method Cards from IDEO

1. Extreme User Interviews Identify individuals who are extremely familiar or completely unfamiliar with the product and ask them to evaluate their experience using it.

2. Rapid Ethnography Spend as much time as you can with people relevant to the design topic. Establish their trust in order to visit and/or participate in their natural habitat and witness specific activities.

3. Behavioral Archaeology Look for the evidence of people’s activities inherent in the placement, wear patterns, and organization of places and things.

4. Social Network Mapping Notice different kinds of social relationships within a user group and map the network of their interactions.

5. Error Analysis List all the things that can go wrong when using a product and determine the various possible causes.

6. Predict Next Year’s Headlines Invite clients to project their company into the future, identifying how they want to develop and sustain customer relationships.

7. Camera Journal Ask potential users to keep a written and visual diary of their impressions, circumstances, and activities related to the product.

8. Cognitive Maps Ask Participants to map an existing or virtual space and show how they navigate it.

9. Empathy Tools Use tools like clouded glasses and weighted gloves to experience processes as though you yourself have the abilities of different users.

10. Activity Analysis List or represent in detail all tasks, actions, objects, performers, and interactions involved in a process.

11. Cognitive Task Analysis List and summarize all of a user’s sensory inputs, decision points, and actions. 12. Unfocus Group Assemble a diverse group of individuals in a workshop to use a stimulating range of materials and create things that are relevant to your project.

13. Draw the Experience Ask participants to visualize an experience through drawings and diagrams.

14. A Day in the Life Catalog the activities and contexts that users experience throughout an entire day.

15. Cultural Probes Assemble a camera journal kit (camera, film, notebook, instructions) and distribute it to participants within one or across many cultures.

16. Scenarios Illustrate a character-rich story line describing the context of use for a product or service.

17. Experience Prototype Quickly prototype a concept using available materials and use it in order to learn from a simulation of the experience using the product.

18. Bodystorming Set up a scenario and act out roles, with or without props, focusing on the intuitive responses prompted by the physical enactment.

19. Try it yourself Use the product or prototype you are designing.

20. Behavioral Mapping Track the positions and movements of people within a space over time.

21. Role-Playing Identify the stakeholders involved in the design problem and assign those roles to members of the team.

22. Behavior Sampling Give people a pager or phone and ask them to record and evaluate the situation they are in when it rings.

23. Card Sort On separate cards, name possible features, functions, or design attributes. Ask people to organize the cards spatially, in ways that make sense to them.

24. Shadowing Tag along with people to observe and understand their day-to-day routines, interactions, and contexts.

25. Historical Analysis Compare features of an industry, organization, group, market segment, or practice through various stages of development.

26. Still-Photo Survey Follow a planned shooting script and capture pictures of specific objects, activities, etc.

27. Narration As they perform a process or execute a specific task, ask participants to describe aloud what they are thinking.

28. Personal Inventory Document the things that people identify as important to them as a way of cataloging evidence of their lifestyles

29. Character Profiles Based on observations of real people, develop character profiles to represent archetypes and the details of their behavior or lifestyles.

30. Be Your Customer Ask the client to describe, outline, or enact their typical customer’s experience.

Exhibit 10

The Cross-Fertilization of Research on Customer Needs


[1]Another interesting technology “hierarchy” proposed by Farrell (1993) consists of shelter, health, communication, tools, packaging, raw materials, and transport.

[2]Maslow’s original theory has been modified by other researchers to include cognitive needs (e.g., knowing, understanding, etc.), aesthetic needs (e.g., beauty, symmetry, etc.), and transcendence needs (e.g., helping others to achieve self-actualization).
[3]“Customer” is a general label that refers to the entire set of important stakeholders including the buyer, user, seller, and any others that are influenced by the innovation (e.g., Hauser 1993; Gershenson and Stauffer 1999; Karkkainen, et al. 2003; Molotch 2003). In other words, needs for the complete “customer chain” should be considered. For example, although buyers generally hate the “impervious” blister plastic wrap for small consumer electronic products, this clamshell packaging was actually designed to satisfy retailers’ need for theft reduction (Saranow 2004).

[4]Some consultants and strategy researchers prefer to think of needs as being the “jobs” customers are trying to get done when using a product or service (e.g., Christensen and Raynor 2003; Ulwick 2005). This is related to Griffin’s (1996) statement that needs are the problems that a product or service solves.
[5]Shocker and Srinivasan (1974) call product attributes that are meaningful to consumers and actionable by firms “actionable attributes.” Product features are generally concerned with specific attribute levels (Green 1974) or characteristics that can be specified in physical, chemical or financial terms (Johnson and Fornell 1987).

[6]Ulrich and Ellison (1999) further propose that requirements vary in the degree to which they are “holistic” (i.e., more holistic requirements are increasing in component complexity and the fraction of components on which performance depends). In related work, Martin (1999) develops a Generational Variety Index (a measure for the amount of redesign effort required for future product designs) and a Coupling Index (a measure of coupling among product components).
[7]There are several methods available for determining priorities, including subjective scoring by the development team as well as customer rating approaches and conjoint analysis (e.g., see Pullman, et al. 2002).
[8]In the early 1990’s, Mazda wanted to develop a brand new sports car for the young adult market. As part of the Kansei process of videotaping and photographing young drivers maneuvering, steering, and controlling cars, the project team concluded that “unification of driver-machine” was the key desired end-state. As part of the design specifications, a particular sound of engine thrust was highly desired by the target customers. After extensive simulations and study of low frequency sounds with odd cycle combustion noise, a special exhaust pipe was developed that closely matched the desired sound. See Nagamachi (2002) and QFD Institute (2004).
[9]Other categories of needs have also been proposed. For example, Sanders (1992) identifies “observable needs” (that are displayed in action and can be determined through observation by experts), “explicit needs” (that can be expressed in words by customers), “tacit needs” (conscious needs that customers are unable to express in words), and “latent needs” (subconscious, possibly dormant, needs that customers are unable to express in words). Otto and Wood (2001) define “constant needs” (needs that are intrinsic to the task of the product; e.g., the number of exposures for a camera, whether implemented on film or the number if digital images that can be recorded), “variable needs” (needs that might disappear; e.g., digital photography eliminates the need for long film storage life), “general needs” (needs that apply to every customer in the population; e.g., the need for a camera to have a portable power source), and “niche needs” (needs that only apply to a relatively small segment of the population; e.g., underwater photography).
[10]Other types of needs can also be defined based on the reverse of the curves in Exhibit 5, as well as needs for which the customer is indifferent (along the horizontal axis). See Center for Quality of Management (1993) and Matzler and Hinterhuber (1998) for a detailed discussion of methods to collect customer information that can be used to classify needs into these types.
[11]Urban and Hauser (2004) report the typical costs associated with different customer needs studies in the automobile industry. For example, qualitative/ethnographic interviews (5-10 groups of 5-10 customers each) covering 50-100 features or needs cost $40-50,000; tailored interviews for segmentation studies (800 personal interviews) including 73 scales cost $80,000; activities, interests, opinions studies (100,000 mailed questionnaires) covering 114 features or needs costs $500,000; conjoint analyses (300 on-line or in-person interviews) covering 10-20 features or needs costs $50-100,000; product clinics (300 central-facility personal interviews) covering 40-50 features or needs costs $500,000.
[12]For example, consider the work of Christensen (1997) and Christensen and Raynor (2003) on “disruptive innovations.” Although it does not seem to be based on rigorous research, they suggest a buying hierarchy in which customers want (in order): functionality, reliability, convenience, cost.













“I like my pig well done!” (Customers use full-sized grills, transporting them to and from the game.)

Portable grilling can be very uncomfortable!

Current grilling methods can be unsafe (people drinking before the game, vehicles, fire hazard).

“I gotta get to the game! I hope nobody steals my grill.”

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Understanding Customer Needs

...Understanding customer needs As an HR practitioner it is important to indentify the needs of customers and prioritise the needs of each. Three examples of different customer and a need for each: 1. An employee enquiring about their holiday entitlement for the next holiday year 2. Payroll department require new employee details the day before the cut off period 3. Manager who requires the sickness absence report for an employee who has triggered a disciplinary hearing scheduled for the following week In order to be able to prioritise the needs of each customer it is suggested that urgency and importance be considered for each one. Reviewing the customer needs the order of priority would be task two, three and one. This order of priority has been selected because task two is required urgently and can be dealt with swiftly. Gathering the information for task three is important and can be time consuming so it is essential that this task is completed. Task three is not a high priority as it is for the next holiday year and can be answered at a later stage. Effective communication “To be effective, communication needs to be clear, easily understood and concise. Information should be presented systematically on a regular basis and be as relevant, local and timely as possible.” Armstrong 2012 There are various channels of communication and the method needs to be considered to ensure it is appropriate for the recipient. Communication methods: Emails There are advantages......

Words: 329 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Mkt Chapter 1

...Principles of Marketing Marketing: Managing Profitable Customer Relationships Learning Objectives After studying this chapter, you should be able to: 1. Define marketing and outline the steps in the marketing process 2. Explain the importance of understanding customers and the marketplace, and identify the five core marketplace concepts 3. Identify the key elements of a customer-driven marketing strategy and discuss the marketing management orientations that guide marketing strategy 4. Discuss customer relationship management, and identify strategies for creating value for customers and capturing value from customers in return 5. Describe the major trends and forces that are changing the marketing landscape in this age of relationships 1-2 Chapter Concepts 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. What Is Marketing? Understanding the Marketplace and Customer Needs Designing a Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy Preparing an Integrated Marketing Plan and Program Building Customer Relationships Capturing Value from Customers The New Marketing Landscape So, What Is Marketing? Pulling It All Together 1-3 What Is Marketing? Marketing Defined Marketing is the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships to capture value from customers in return 1-4 What Is Marketing? The Marketing Process 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Understand the marketplace and customer wants and needs Design a customer-driven marketing strategy Construct a......

Words: 1583 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay


...perhaps more appropriate than ever, as more retail organizations struggle to achieve one-to-one marketing-communications with customers and prospects. Targeting allows a retail enterprise to channel its marketing budget where there is the greatest (and fastest) possibility of Return On Investment (ROI). In terms of overall business strategy, your ability to identify and understand consumers helps you make accurate estimates about the potential for your products and services in a given market, as well as support and direct merchandise development strategies to both new and existing customers. Whether your target is current customers or new prospects, in markets known or unknown, an effective targeting model reduces the risk of any new venture. Blending Demographic, Behavioral, Expenditure and Media Preference data with retailer-specific data and applying data mining technologies produces Zip+4 and postal code level data assets that consistently outperform all other direct marketing techniques. In addition, methodology that should be used must be dynamic to allow the sights to be reset frequently to keep targets in focus consistently. Today's retail marketing managers must: Understand the connections between the lifestyle and expenditure characteristics of customers, their propensity to purchase one product or brand over another, and leverage this understanding for competitive advantage. Improve direct marketing response by ensuring they are targeting the right......

Words: 633 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hr Profession Map

...Introduction 1.2 HR Profession Map Summary 1.3 Key area One; Strategy Insights and Solutions 1.4 Key area Two; Leading and managing HR 1.5 Summary of the Eight behaviours 1.6 Resourcing and Talent planning 1) 2) 2.1 Understanding customer’s needs 2.2 Communicating effectively 2.3 Building and maintain effective service 3. References 1.1Introduction I work as a HR administrator at Sphere Group, which operates in the recruitment sector. This report will outline the HR profession map, its two core areas and eight behaviours, before discussing the Professional area of Resourcing and talent planning. Part Two will discuss how an HR practitioner should ensure that the services they provide are timely and effective, commenting on understating the customers’ needs, effective communication methods and how to build and maintain effective service. Part One 1.2 My HR Profession Map summary The HR profession Map (HRPM) is key to helping HR practitioners understand what they are good at, what they can improve on and what they need to do to develop. The map is made up of ten professional areas that HR practitioners are involved in and need to know about, eight behaviours to demonstrate in these professional areas and four bands of professional competence. The ten professional areas are: Strategy, insights and solutions, leading and managing HR, organisation development, resourcing......

Words: 1868 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay


...Marketing: Creating and Capturing  Customer Value Chapter 1- slide 1 Creating and Capturing Customer Value Topic Outline • • • • • • • What Is Marketing? Understand the Marketplace and Customer Needs Designing a Customer‐Driven Marketing Strategy Preparing an Integrated Marketing Plan and Program Building Customer Relationships Capturing Value from Customers The Changing Marketing Landscape Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 2 What Is Marketing? Marketing is a process by which  companies create value for customers and  build strong customer relationships to  capture value  from customers in return  Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 3 What Is Marketing? The Marketing Process Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 4 Understanding the Marketplace and Customer Needs Core Concepts • • • • • Customer needs, wants, and demands Market offerings Value and satisfaction Exchanges and relationships Markets Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 5 Understanding the Marketplace and Customer Needs Customer Needs, Wants, and Demands Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 6 Understanding the Marketplace and Customer Needs •......

Words: 1402 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay


... Assessment 1 Assessment 1 is intended to test the students understanding of the materials covered between week 1 and week 3. The task requires analysing Mobile Phones as a product in terms of the topics covered in the supply chain management course. The task also requires showing the understanding of the different supplies needed for delivering the product and how these supplies could be made sustainable. This analysis will enhance the student’s understanding of the issues often experienced when managing the internal and external supply chain which often fails to deliver the customers supply needs. As part of the assessment, students will need to draw a detailed computerised process map/model which takes into perspective the various interactions between the organisation, the customers and the suppliers. The headings that need to be covered in the report are: 1. Describe the product and its key characteristics with relation to the objective and perceived sources of quality explained in the textbook. How to answer the question: Students will need to research and find information about the product in addition to reflecting on the quality explanation from chapter 2 of the textbook. 2. Explain why it is important for organisations to continue innovating this product, how this innovation impacts the supply chain and the type(s) of product innovation categories this product went through during its lifecycle. This will need to be explained in relation to the chapters covered in the......

Words: 1413 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay


...product line needs to bring in new customers. As Toro is known for industrial equipment for turfs around the world there was a need to expand to residential market. Toro partners with Lawnboy and this can be more difficult than first thought because the market source will be close to the same. So Toro needs to look for the right market to connect with to get the best return for the company. Understanding the details of the product, the life cycle the product, and how the movement will affect the product are needed steps to ensure a successful line for the company. One also needs to identify the price strategy, positioning, and differentiation of the product to enable the company to bring in the best profit for the life of the product (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarthy, 2011). Toro’s new Easylawn is an evolutional machine that will allow potential customers who are disabled older or have restrictive movement be able to tend the yards again. The Easylawn is a tri-pod with wheels that is able to be push across the yards with easy, add to it the light weight mower, weed-eater, and edger’s that clips on to tripod with little effort. The Easylawn comes with an eFlex Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery that lasts up to 6 hours per charge to ensure time for any size residential yard (Toro, 2012). The easy push start and adjustable wheel base makes it easy to use for everyone. The interchangeable adapters of the weed-eater, edger, and mower allow for less storage needed customers......

Words: 1813 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Principle of Marketing

...11/06/2014 Chapter One Marketing: Creating and Capturing Customer Value Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 1 Creating and Capturing Customer Value Topic Outline • • • • • • • What Is Marketing? Understand the Marketplace and Customer Needs Designing a Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy Preparing an Integrated Marketing Plan and Program Building Customer Relationships Capturing Value from Customers The Changing Marketing Landscape Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 2 1 11/06/2014 What Is Marketing? Marketing is a process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships to capture value from customers in return Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 3 What Is Marketing? The Marketing Process Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 4 2 11/06/2014 Understanding the Marketplace and Customer Needs Core Concepts • • • • • Customer needs, wants, and demands Market offerings Value and satisfaction Exchanges and relationships Markets Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter 1- slide 5 Understanding the Marketplace and Customer Needs Customer Needs, Wants, and Demands Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education,......

Words: 1339 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Strategic Plan, Part I: Conceptualizing a Business

...competitive with other organizations within the same industry. In my community, a small business that needs to be introduced is a day care center. I will be the owner of the center and operator of the center; the décor will be kid friendly with bright clean colors. This will be a place when a family walks into the center it feels welcoming. Setting my day care center apart from the other centers in the area will be a challenge. Below is the mission and vision statement for my establishment along with the outline of how I plan to set my business on top of the other establishments. Mission Statement The child care center will provide a safe, developmental program (age appropriate) environment for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, pre-kindergarten, and school age children. The focus of the center is to provide early education, which will increase social/emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Teachers will provide a good environment to help promote good behavior and manners. Our goal is to support the willingness to learn in which is in the best interest of the children. Vision Statement The child care center will be known for superior quality education. Our center will provide a place where parents and children can interact in a safe environment and still have fun. The employees are trained and educated by the center for their appropriate age group. Teachers have an understanding of the mission and values of the center and are committed to follow these. Our center......

Words: 1069 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Dhm Final Paper

...Oklahoma State University Understanding Consumer Behavior Alex Urso DHM 1433 Final Paper Dr. Jane Swinney December 9th, 2013 Understanding consumer behavior is anything related to how people buy or select products and how the companies are meeting consumer needs. This is important to the field of merchandising and the design field because the consumers are what make a company successful. If a designer or a merchandiser does not understand their consumer their company will not flourish. Understanding consumer behavior can be described through material learned in this class, the textbook used and information from recent NRF Smartbriefs. In the first chapter of the textbook, In Fashion, the first principle of fashion is “consumers establish fashions by accepting or rejecting the styles offered”(Stone 24). It is false to say that designers design clothes with little regard for the acceptance of the designs. “The consumer is the ultimate user: the person who uses the finished fashion garment”(Stone 25). The designs that are made are specifically to please the consumer. With consumers having the power to reject styles and accept many styles, overall the consumer is who makes the style a fashion. “No designer can be successful without the support and acceptance of the customer”(Stone 24). Professionally, the designer has to know their target market in order to know what kind of consumers their design or company is going to attract. “Target markets are specific......

Words: 1627 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay


...UNDERSTANDING THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR - I The purpose of this exercise is to broaden your understanding of consumer behaviour by bringing you face-to-face with a customer. The first step is to find a person who is not a member of this course, and who has recently bought a product or service of the kind defined in the box below. This customer could be an institutional / industrial buyer if you prefer. Your assignment is to conduct a depth interview of about 30-60 minutes in length with this customer. The goal of the interview is to understand the decision process that governed the purchase of this product or service in terms that can be useful to a marketing manager. The list of questions ahead in this sheet is intended as a broad guideline around which you can structure your depth interview. It is not to be followed dogmatically. Nor is it complete and exhaustive of the types of questions you need to ask, or the level of detail for which you need to probe. Rather you should try to stimulate a lively and open discussion around these key question areas from which you can: (a) develop a deep understanding of the purchase decision process; and (b) surface the factors, in the environment and in the customer’s psyche, that really determined why the customer acted the way he or she did. Be prepared to report briefly and concisely to the class on your key insights. You will probably find it useful to summarize your thoughts in writing (1-2) pages. I. A mundane product...

Words: 1289 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Developing Yourself as an Effective Hr Practitioner (4dep)

...the profession map, this would assure that any organisation would be sustainable and successful. The Core Professional Areas: There are two 2 Core Professional Areas • Insight, Strategies and Solutions – By having an insight into organisations, you are able to spot opportunities and are able to turn them into strategies and solutions. By doing this you are able to meet organisational needs now and in the future. • Leading HR – Having leadership skills allows you to work collaboratively with colleagues. You are able to guide and advise, enabling everyone, as a whole, to deliver valued skills and outstanding performance. These two areas are seen to be a requirement of any HR professional, regardless of their role, location or stage of their career. The Specialist Professional Areas: There are also 8 specialist professional areas that coincide with the HRPM. • Organisation Design - Ensuring that every aspect of the organisation is designed correctly and efficiently to deliver the maximum impact. • Organisation Development – is imperative. It sets requirements and strategies that need to be met to achieve goals. By training and developing individuals, you set out to have a team of people who have the appropriate skills, behaviours, culture and performance needed in an organisation. • Resourcing and Talent Planning – Ensures that an organisation has the appropriate strategies in place to attract suitable candidates. • Learning and Development – Providing members of......

Words: 1631 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Jnuhuhlbjkhgjh, Njbkhjl create or satisfy needs? Take a position, marketing shapes or merely reflects needs and wants of conso answer these questions, we must know what market is. Market is the set of all actual and potential buyers of a product or service and marketing is a social and managerial process where by individuals and groups obtains what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others. The traditional view of marketing is that the firm makes something and then sells it. In my words, marketing is how the producers create value to the customer and receive it by needs and wants. We must know that marketing concept is the philosophy that firms should analyze the needs of their customers and then make decisions to satisfy those needs, better than the competition. Ever since man started to trading goods, marketing was created. Suppose that marketing was never exist, we cannot buying foods, houses, car, etc. Without marketing, this world is nothing. Marketing involves the satisfying customers’ needs and wants. Marketing has a value creation and delivery sequence that consists of three parts. That is choosing the value, providing the value, and communicating the value. From my understanding, marketing does both. It creates and satisfies needs of customers. Marketers must use the marketing development’s term to create needs. They must learn how to change in knowledge, behavior, attitudes, or creativity. Then, it helps customers to be motivated to......

Words: 878 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Buyer Behavior

...Customers make purchases in order to satisfy needs. Some of these needs are basic and must be filled by everyone on the planet, example: food and shelter, while others are not required for basic survival and vary depending on the person. Sometimes in the consumer market people are involved in a purchase decision, example: in planning for a family vacation the father may make the hotel reservations but others in the family may have input on the hotel choice. Therefore, understanding consumer purchase behavior involves not only understanding how decisions are made but also understanding the dynamics that influence purchases. Consumer buyer behavior refers to the buying behavior of final consumers (individuals and households who buy goods and services for personal consumption). All of there final consumers combine to make up the consumer market. Customers go through a five-stage decision-making process in any purchase: 1. Need Recognition & Problem Awareness 2. Information Search Customers make purchases in order to satisfy needs. Some of these needs are basic and must be filled by everyone on the planet, example: food and shelter, while others are not required for basic survival and vary depending on the person. Sometimes in the consumer market people are involved in a purchase decision, example: in planning for a family vacation the father may make the hotel reservations but others in the family may have input on the hotel choice. Therefore, understanding......

Words: 308 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay


...BOA Marketing Unit 1 Chapter 1 An Study Guide By Dinah What does marketing do: Marketing entails processes that focus on delivering value and benefits to customers, not just selling goods, services, and/or ideas. It uses communication, distribution, and pricing strategies to provide customers and other stakeholders with the goods, services, ideas, values, and benefits they desire when and where they want them. It involves building long-term, mutually rewarding relationships when these benefit all parties concerned. Marketing also entails an understanding that organizations have many connected stakeholder "partners," including employees, suppliers, stockholders, distributors, and society at large. 1. Research shows that companies that reward employees with incentives and recognition on a consistent basis are those that perform best. * The motto of Wegmans Food Markets, the Rochester-based grocery chain that has been ranked by Fortunemagazine as the best company to work for in America, states, "Employees first, customers second." The rationale is that if employees are happy, customers will be too. What other marketing type: One desired outcome of marketing is an exchange ; people giving up something to receive something they would rather have. Normally, we think of money as the medium of exchange. We "give up" money to "get" the goods and services we want. Exchange does not require money, however. Two persons may......

Words: 1206 - Pages: 5