Product Development | Qualitative Research

Qual is of primary importance in the development of new products. It is widely deployed to assist marketers in spotting gaps and trends in the market, in the ideation process, in the conceptualization and filtering of new product concepts, and in the processes leading to the development and launch of products.

You can use qual to attain an in-depth understanding of consumers’ attitudes, usage and behaviours, and their aspirations and motivations. This will provide an understanding of the factors that drive brand choice, help you spot opportunities, and trigger ideas for new products.

Workshops engaging target consumers in group discussions are widely used for concept development purposes. These concept development workshops serve to explore, develop and improve concepts via an iterative process where consumers assess a number of concepts in detail, and prioritize those deserving further development. They provide for an improved understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the concepts and serve to guide further development.

Associates from marketing, market research, R&D, and sales are encouraged to participate in the process. Marketers interact with consumers, introduce them to the product ideas and engage with them to flesh out the new product concepts.

Once the product concept is finalized, quant research methods such as simulated test markets (STMs) provide for a volumetric estimate of the potential of a new concept or product. STM methods such as BASES are discussed in some detail in Chapter Product Validation.

A key step in the new product’s development is to optimize the elements of marketing mix, often by means of a marketing mix workshop. Depending on the nature of the product, the scope of a marketing mix workshop will include some of the following elements — product naming, product usage, advertising and brand positioning, and packaging. It is possible also to broadly gauge how receptive respondents are to the product’s price, though as far as price setting is concerned quantitative methods are more appropriate.

Research methods relating to new product development including ideation, concept development, and development of marketing mix are discussed in more detail in Chapter New Product Development.

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