Paul Cornwell ( a senior technologist at PZ Cussons based in Manchester) said something about new product development that made me smile. “It doesn’t all come from marketing.” Of course, he’s right. It takes a team to make a new product.
Marketers truly believe in being market led, not technology driven.
This is an important philosophy but not a hard and fast rule. We can all think of new products that were technology driven.
Technology and technical expertise play a vitally important part in new product development. Without that expertise, we would not have the lifestyle we have today.
Paul described PZ Cussons’ approach to new product development. It makes such excellent sense I thought I would share it with you.
PZ Cussons specialises in fast moving consumer goods, such as the well known Imperial Leather brand. FMCG is not my area of marketing. I am strictly business-to-business but the same principles apply.
For me, Paul highlighted several important areas.
In-depth market research provides customer insight. Understanding our customers is a continuous process. Our customers don’t stand still. Customer insight helps identify gaps in the market and reveals that “unmet need”.
Understanding what drives customer preference therefore defines the product brief, product design and product prototypes.
Paul was keen to stress that technical expertise should be included in all stages of developing a new product. Understanding customers, their needs and drivers, all feed into the technical skills that enable the inventive steps leading to the final product.
Paul talked about customer experience. Marketers are always talking about customer experience and I know for some it sounds sooo new age!
However, getting into the customer’s shoes will mean a much better chance of a successful new product.
Paul suggested we tried Foamburst, one of his new product developments. I did and he was right, it was great fun. It lasted five minutes, although I did have some help from my children.