Relevance, The #1 Rule When Developing New Products

Relevance, The #1 Rule When Developing New ProductsWhen launching a new product, many factors impact the success of the product: timing, marketing, ease of use, availability, price… I could go on. But, across the board, one factor makes or breaks the success of a new product: Relevance.

Now more than ever, a product not designed to fit into the lifestyle of the customer will fail. The only question in those cases is how long it will take! While this is true for any industry, this is particularly the case for the financial services industry. Additionally, as FinTech changes the landscape for financial services companies, the need for new and innovative products is significantly increasing. Continue reading

Will your video product delight customers?

Will your video product delight customers?

This past week, Hulu officially released the beta version of its live TV streaming product. It’s real, and it’s competitive. It enters the fray of many live TV streaming products that have either launched or have been announced, including Sony Playstation Vue, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Dish’s Sling TV, Xfinity Instant TV, and YouTube TV. Each of these products offers compelling features at price points lower than traditional Pay TV (satellite, telcos such as Verizon, and cable companies such as Charter Spectrum)—with some like AT&T, Comcast and Dish even cannibalizing their own Pay TV revenues with live TV streaming products.

For these new forms of video offerings to successfully gain customer buy-in and subsequent profitability, they can’t offer everything at rock-bottom prices, at least not forever. Programming costs remain high, even when leveraged with long-standing agreements, and finding the right niche varies not only by platform, but by provider as well.

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What will the “winning” video streaming model look like?

Last month, YouTube TV rolled out its “streaming TV” service in five major US cities. Just before that, Comcast and Hulu announced their “streaming TV” services to join an increasingly crowded marketplace with industry heavyweights like AT&T (DirecTV Now), Dish (Sling TV) and Sony (PlayStation Vue). Despite the hype and the big brand names, success isn’t guaranteed for any of these services.

All of these new product offerings are essentially taking the traditional pay TV model that has been around for decades and making it available via the internet at a lower cost than their traditional TV counterparts. For the most part, reactions to these services have been mixed at best, which begs the question: Why aren’t these services knocking it out of the park?

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Dear Energy Santa: A Wish List from Your Millennial Customers

Dear Energy Santa

‘Tis the season when your loved ones ask what you need (or, in my case, your kids proclaim what they want)! In the spirit of gift-giving, we penned a letter to Energy Santa with our “wish list” of energy-related products and services. The ideas are based on results from our 2016 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™ study, and although they apply to energy consumers in general, we’re focusing on the group nearly every company hopes Santa will deliver—Millennials.

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All iWant: Putting iPhone 7 Rumors to the Test

Putting iPhone 7 Rumors to the Test

This summer has seen no shortage of analyst reports of what the soon-to-be-released iPhone 7 will look like and what features it will (and will not) possess. Continuing what has become an annual frenzy of leaks and predictions, rumors are flying about its multiple screen sizes, memory capacity, camera quality, headphone jack and water resistance. Most notably, some speculate that there may not be any dramatic changes at all as Apple waits for 2017 to release a world-changing 10th anniversary iPhone 8.

Market Strategies International decided to put all these rumors to the test to find out which ones really resonate with consumers and which do not. We asked more than 1,100 consumers about their current phones and preferences among the most frequently rumored iPhone 7 features, including:

Screen features
  • Larger screen
  • Smaller screen
  • Curved screen
  • Wraparound screen
  • Better screen quality/resolution
Memory/Storage features
  • More memory (the latest iPhones have 2GB RAM)
  • More storage space (the latest iPhones have a maximum of 128GB)
  • Expandable storage capacity
Internal features
  • Faster processors
  • Electronic SIM chip
  • Longer-lasting battery
  • Wireless charging
External features
  • Thinner
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof
  • Two speakers (the latest iPhones only have one)
  • Different color options
  • Higher quality camera
Other features
  • USB connector (Micro USB or USB Type-C)
  • Available stylus/pen
  • No headphone jack (the latest iPhones have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack)
  • Virtual reality headset

 Who Wants to Buy the iPhone 7?

Several of the findings are quite intriguing and have significant implications for telecom leaders. One thing is for sure: The difference in iPhone 7 needs and wants varies greatly based on customers’ current make and model, wireless carrier and brand loyalty. Understanding who these customers are and what differentiates their interests in upgrading to the iPhone 7 is of paramount importance when developing messaging campaigns, forecasts and product roadmaps. In our report, iPhone 7 Market Landscaper, we explore these differences and provide the data telecom leaders need to optimize their marketing plans. Download iPhone 7 Market Landscaper now or contact Greg Mishkin, vice president of Market Strategies’ Telecommunications division for more information.

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Kickstarting Innovation

Kickstarting InnovationHighs, Lows and Potato Salad

I am addicted to the thrill of the hunt on Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. I love exploring projects from around the globe that are seeking funding from people like me. With my background in tech research, I am drawn to the technology and product design campaigns, but I enjoy exploring coffee, tabletop games and several other categories as well. I could spend hours reading the entrepreneurs’ backstories and why they believe their widget is the most valuable, special thing out there. For people like me, Kickstarter is the perfect mix of online shopping, online community and heroism. Why heroism? Because via Kickstarter, the Davids of the world can rise up against the Goliaths—corporations and well-funded venture capital firms—and have a real, substantial say about which innovations go to market.

I’m certainly not alone in my Kickstarter fervor. Over 6.5 million people have funded projects that range from the absurd (a “hot” project is for making potato salad with an initial funding goal of $10 and a final pledge level surpassing $54,000 as well as a national debate about what “the potato salad guy” should do with the funds) to the futuristic (a Dick Tracy smartwatch called Pebble, with an initial funding goal of $100,000 and a record-setting final pledge level of more than $10 million).

Setting aside the less-than-serious projects like potato salad, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are changing the innovation game, and product development teams should pay close attention.

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Leading the Way with Lead Users

2014-07-lead-userBlackBerry. Kodak. Borders Books. At one time, these brands were the undisputed front-runner in their respective category, but now they either are struggling or have disappeared entirely. In hindsight, the reason seems clear—they failed to take advantage of changes in the market while competitors capitalized on emerging opportunities. Why did it happen? Was it corporate bureaucracy? Risk avoidance? Complacency? Or failing to recognize unspoken needs or how to meet them?

Missing market opportunities is common. Typically, companies look for new product and service direction by conducting traditional customer focus groups and surveys with the general population, which can yield average if not disappointing results. The approaches aren’t necessarily the problem—it’s who participates. Most consumers can talk about what they know and react to what they see, but only a few can provide insight into how things should and could be instead of how things are. These select individuals are called lead users.

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Potato Chips and the Role of the Consumer in Marketing and Product Development

chipsIt’s safe to say that the goal of Lay’s recent “Do Us a Flavor” campaign was not to find the next great potato chip flavor inventor. In case you missed it, the contest challenged customers to think of new potato chip flavors. Customers submitted their suggestions, and Lay’s developed and released three of them: Cheesy Garlic Bread, Sriracha and Chicken & Waffles. Customers voted for their favorite, and the participant who suggested the winning flavor—Cheesy Garlic Bread—won $1,000,000. So why go to the trouble of staging this contest instead of concentrating on traditional marketing strategies? The answer is simple: consumers don’t trust traditional marketing strategies anymore, and businesses are getting creative, using consumer-generated marketing—directly involving the customer in the marketing and development of products—to succeed.

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