Planning a new product? [Archives:2002/51/Business & Economy]

December 16 2002

By Raidan A. Al-Saqqaf
[email protected]
Success in the increasing competitive market of today depends on understanding and analyzing the decision-making process made by customers, especially if you are planning a new product.
A customer is an individual who is a part of a network of many more individuals called society. When this customer is about to make a purchase he consults other members of his network, and in turn his purchase decision will be affected by the word-of-mouth referrals by them; most properly they would advice to buy something familiar or similar to what they already have. This is called conformity, and in most cases that product would be the market leader.
It is critical for a new product to succeed that it be and noticeable and eye-catching. Especially lifestyle products; the more noticeable a product, the easier it is to advertise. More importantly, noticeable products create publicity. Have you ever happened to see a golden colored car and asked which make it is? Or went shopping and saw a unique pack of chocolates and asked to learn more about it?
A good example can be the Personal Computers market. The market leader includes those computers which operate with Windows. Alternatively, players such as Apple computers, in order to sell, encourage customers to break the norm by “thinking different” and buying some other type which is conspicuous, i.e. an Apple Computer.
As humans, we have a sense of curiosity about anything new and striking that we come across. We then form either positive or negative perceptions or attitudes towards it. This attitude is influenced by many characteristics such as packaging and price. But more than that, it is influenced by the society and their feedback / referrals about it.
For example if you are to purchase a new TV set, you go to the shop and see that most of the TVs look alike and share common features. Here comes the role of noticeable products; they standout in the group and catch your attention more than others do. In turn when you reflect on what you saw, it is the product that is different that you remember most. As a matter of fact this might create a trend. For example, who wore jeans to work some 20 years ago?
On the other hand, conspicuous products that are poorly planned can be dangerous. To avoid customer misconceptions, research at every stage is critical. How different should this new product be? What do consumers feel about the new product? This research may give you insights and some sort of direction you need to market the new product.
Remember: Planning a new product? Make it noticeable and eye-catching and do it properly because conspicuous products are easy to advertise and create publicity.