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Research to Discover New Product Ideas
There are many methods that can be deployed to discover ideas for developing new products. The following description explores some common methods in new product development process.

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Attribute Analysis refers to techniques designed to develop lists of characteristics, uses, or benefits pertaining to a particular product category. Two common attribute-analysis procedures are dimensional analysis and checklists.

Dimensional Analysis lists all of the physical characteristics of a product type. Having obtained such a list, creativity can be triggered by asking questions such as: "Why is the product this way?" "How could the product be changed?" or "'What would happen if one or more of the characteristics were removed?"

Problem Analysis is a need-assessment technique designed to develop an inventory of consumer problems in a particular product or service category and to serve as a basis for new product or service ideas. Consumer input using focus groups, user panels, panels of experts, or complaint records might be used to develop such an inventory.

Some problem-analysis techniques ask users to verbalize the problems they encounter with current products. For instance, asking consumers about problems with adhesive bandages, managers at the Johnson & Johnson Company learned that consumers did not like the fact that the bandages were so apparent when worn. This finding led to the development of Band-Aid Sheer Strips, a product made of a sheer plastic film that blended more readily with various skin tones.

Other problem-analysis techniques, sometimes referred to as problem inventory analysis, approach the question of consumer needs at a general level. Rather than asking consumers to identify problems associated with a particular product, problem inventory analysis provides consumers with a list of problems that may be present in many product categories and asks consumers to specify particular products that they associate with the problem. Problem inventory analysis is based on the assumption that consumers find it easier to relate known products to suggested problems than to generate problems for a given product.

Benefit Structure Analysis (BSA) determines what specific benefits and characteristics are desired by consumers within a particular product or service category and identifies perceived deficiencies in what is currently provided. Focus groups, depth interviews, or other forms of qualitative research are used to develop a complete list of characteristics and benefits of the product or service category being investigated. Large-scale research is then conducted to uncover the desirability of each characteristic and benefit as well as perceived deficiencies of current offerings in the category. This quantitative phase also provides relatively complete information as to the conditions surrounding the use of the product or service, such as the time of day when usage occurs, other persons present during usage, and the task for which the product or service was applied.

BSA was specifically designed to determine new product opportunities in broad product or service categories. For a broad category of goods, BSA provides information pertaining to:

the number of general types of products that could be on the market, based on benefits delivered;
potential additional uses for existing brands;
insight into new products that could deliver a specific combination of benefits for a particular use or group of uses; and
how to reposition an existing brand by stressing additional benefits provided.

Gap Analysis focuses on determining how various brands are perceived relative to each other. An opportunity for a new brand exists when gap analysis indicates that no brand occupies a particular niche for which there is a consumer demand.

Scenario Analysis. The goal of scenario analysis is to identify opportunities by capitalizing on projected future environments and associated consumer needs. Scenarios are constructed by forecasting the environment at some future date and potential product or service opportunities are identified by visualizing how consumers will perform tasks that current products are designed to help them do. Changes required in a particular product category to adapt to the future environment are identified, and products are redesigned or new ones created. Obviously, careful monitoring of consumer trends with respect to demographics, psychographics, lifestyle, and technology' are very important in this context. Projections based on such trends play a vital role in the construction of future scenarios.

Source of Reference:
Melvin Crask, Richard J. Fox, Roy G. Stout, and R. Gene Stout, Marketing Research, Prentice Hall. You can obtain this fine book here

You can download excellent powerpoint slides on Marketing Strategy and Marketing Management HERE.