Researching Consumers Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Business, Products, Customers, Consumer, Development, Company, Information, Media
The consumer of modern day is highly knowledgeable and has a good clarity on his needs. The penetration of internet and its applications like social media has had insightful impact on the buying behavior of the modern day consumer. He is equipped with the ways and means of gathering information about new products, concepts and comparing similar products before choosing the best fit option. Compared to the generation a decade back, the modern day consumer knows what exactly he wants. Product development companies are well aware of this and the consumer has become an integral part of the overall process. But we will also analyze the opinion of the other part, who believes that consumers cannot possibly provide useful feedback on what they do not know and cannot provide insights that will lead to breakthrough products.
The consumer or the customer was not anywhere in the picture during the olden times. In the pre-World War II era, products were designed and developed to cater to the fancies of the engineers and consumers had minimal involvement there. Things began to improve after the WW-II, but it was the globalization wave during the mid-1980s that really opened up the global markets which paved the way for intense competition among global corporations. Companies realized the importance of staying innovative and opening up to their consumers which eventually led to the healthy trend of consumer feedback being an integral part of the product development process. Newer methodologies like agile product development are evolving, where consumers are getting actively involved in various stages of product development. The positive effects of this trend include quicker product launch, minimal iterations, greater customer satisfaction, higher product quality, better differentiation and increased product usability .
It will be interesting to note the change in the consumer mindset that has happened in the recent past. The consumer is no longer in the dark and deprived of information. With the advancements in Information and Communication Technology, the ability of today’s consumer to dream has further enhanced, backed up by the information that is available on his fingertips. The product development engineers or specialists will have great ideas, but the consumer definitely has greater ideas. And the good thing is that there are numerous platforms including the social media for him to express his desires, dreams and discuss and formulate opinions on his areas of interest. This article would like to express the point of view that not involving consumers during the product development phase with the argument that they do not know and cannot provide insights and will hinder the development of breakthrough products does not hold good in modern times. This argument would have been valid during the time when the consumer was not empowered and had to rely solely on the information from a library to evolve his thought process and form opinions. There are numerous examples of products being a total failure in spite of them being form reputed corporate houses. One of the prime examples is the gaming machine Pippin- from Apple, Inc. which according to Allan Yogasingam was a completely misdirected product from the marketing perspective. It was launched as an innovative and path breaking product, but the users took it as just another overpriced accessory .
Consumer opinions hold great value to the product development companies. Many of the modern day companies are active in the social media and possess a Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn pages. It is highly recommended that these companies should actively start monitoring their social media pages, which will help them to a great extent in understanding the pulse of their consumer and their requirements. The consumer’s feedback and opinions should be given due weightage while developing new products, which will aid the company in launching the most desirable and tailor made products for the target market. Innovation and consumer insights should be the two key mantras for the new age global corporations.
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Mayo, C. M. (2015). New Product Development. Retrieved from Reference for Business: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Mar-No/New-Product-Development.html