Product Development + Customers = Success

When customers are left out of the equation, the product usually fails, regardless of how innovative or cutting-edge. Google Glass is an example of a failed product due to the lack of customer involvement during development. During it’s launch, Google used celebrities to market Google Glass to the public. However,the product launch did not inform customers when they could purchase the product. Furthermore, many key points like product price, design, and core features assessed. In fact, Google Glass focused on the wrong target market, consumers, when they might’ve found more success in the business-to-business market.

Involving customers to help price products leads to a successful launch. Porsche surveyed customers about their ideal price. When they launched their new product, they designed the price around the insight gained from customers. The customer input during product development and Porsche’s implementation of their views led the new product, the Cayenne, to become one of their bestselling models.

Studies have shown there are many factors that affect customer participation.  One factor is the difference between business customers versus consumers. Evidence supports the idea that business customers have more relevant knowledge and more motivation to share it than consumers. The result was that business customers impacted speed to market and new financial performance better than consumers. This concept was further seen in Quirky, an app that utilizing crowd sourcing in all areas of new product development. The app fell short with packaging, marketing, and pricing and in general, decision making. Quirky involved customers too much during product development and failed to thrive due to too many consumers and too little knowledge.

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