Blog Category: Customer Insights (VOC)

Are you working on a system with diminishing returns or increasing returns?

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Keep working harder and smarter, but recognize you’ll move the needle less and less in a system of diminishing returns… like wringing out the last bit of productivity or quality. But when you focus on understanding customer needs better than competitors, your insights and new product innovations—and resulting revenue—will keep coming. Increasing returns. A wonderful system to work hard and smart at.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave.

How much time should you spend in the front end of innovation?

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Years ago, a study by APQC found the most successful teams invest 20+% of their total new-product work in the front-end… while most teams spend 10% or less here. Roughly speaking, a Market Case requires about 3 person-months of effort, while a full Business Case needs about 6 person-months. So if you “do the math” for 20% in the front-end, you should require a Market Case for projects needing 1 person-year of development, and a Business Case for those needing 2+ years.

More in article, Business Case Excellence: The 12 Key Components

What separates the winners and losers in the front-end of B2B innovation?

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Our research shows “strong value propositions” are the #1 driver of B2B organic growth: The ability to develop such value propositions separates the “winners” and “losers.” Here are the 3 growth drivers (out of 24) that show the greatest competency differences between these winners and losers:  #1 Front-end Work (creating a compelling business case), #2 Market Concentration (disproportionately focusing resources on attractive market segments), and #3 Customer Interviews: (gaining the insights needed to establish your value proposition).

More in research report, What Drives B2B Organic Growth?

B2B vs B2C: Why B2B companies have advantages

B2B vs B2C

When you consider B2B vs B2C, which market profession has greater advantages? Business schools offer more B2C courses, consumer research tools abound, and sophisticated marketers at B2C companies like Apple and P&G are held in high esteem. B2B marketers are often engineers or sales reps that were tapped on the shoulder and told to “do ... Read More

Don’t Confuse Concept Testing With VoC

Concept testing vs VoC

If we bring a prototype to a customer, this is “concept testing.” Something different from  voice of the customer research.  But when definitions are  not understood, these become conflated and  we fool ourselves into believing that we’re more customer-centric than we really are. This confusion results from how innovation and new product processes have evolved. ... Read More

What drives B2B organic growth more than anything else?

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In our research, B2B professionals rated a strong value proposition as the #1 most important driver of profitable, sustainable organic growth. But what makes it strong? Certainly not the supplier’s opinion. A value proposition is only strong if it addresses outcome(s) important and unsatisfied to the customer. This is the part that most B2B new-product teams bungle. They guess, hope, or hypothesize which outcomes customers want. Big mistake. Without unbiased, unfiltered data, most teams are led astray by their confirmation bias.

More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #19

Should NPD teams draft a Market Case or a Business Case?

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For years we’ve advised new product development teams to write a Business Case… to request moving their project into the development stage. But now we often suggest they use a simpler Market Case for their smaller projects. The Business Case has 12 sections while the Market Case has but 6. But the Market Case has the most important section… “Value Proposition”… in which solid evidence of customer needs is presented (usually in the form of Market Satisfaction Gaps).

Download Sample Market Case (after Step 3)

The Magic of Market Segmentation

Market Segmentation with Examples

It’s always a good idea to reinforce the basics. The best of the best, in every craft, maintain a focus on fundamentals. Consider that the great Tiger Woods continues to perfect his golf swing, even as he approaches the end of his career. For innovation, few concepts are as fundamental as market segmentation. In this ... Read More

Be a “chess master” business leader: Think 5 moves ahead.

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Do you want to think only about your next move, or think five moves ahead? Here’s a 5th order plan to maximize shareholder wealth: 1st Order: Develop superior customer insight capabilities. 2nd Order: Understand market needs better than competitors. 3rd Order: Develop high-value products focused only on these needs. 4th Order: Sustain superior growth from these products. 5th Order: Impress shareholders with your proven growth track.

More in article, Stop Stifling B2B Organic Growth with 2nd Order Effects

Great B2B innovation requires 2 forms of evidence.

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Exhibit A is an attractive market and Exhibit B is a documented need within this market. Most companies do OK with Exhibit A… identifying a market segment that is winnable and worth winning. But most are terrible at Exhibit B. This is being sure of which customer outcomes (desired end-results) companies will be rewarded for satisfying with a new product. Increasingly, companies are using Market Satisfaction Gaps to do this. (See 12 case stories)

More in white paper, Market Satisfaction Gaps