Lesson 1: Introduction to Market Research in Product Development

Welcome to Lesson 1. Before we start, please have a look at what your virtual assistant have to tell you. He is going to explain the basic structure of this course:

Market Research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets or customers. The term is commonly misleaded with marketing research. Market Research is a more narrow concept because it is research focused on a specific market, place or location. Marketing Research, however, scales on a much broader level. It encompasses areas such as:

  • Research into new products
  • Modes of distribution
  • Product development

It can also include promotion research, pricing, advertising and public relations. Both concepts are integral parts of marketing, which is essentially everything that happens before the sale of a product or service.

Market Research is one of the main factors used in maintaining competitiveness over competitors. It provides important information to identify and analyze:

Voice of the Customer and Market Research

Voice of the Customer (VoC) has become a popular term applied to the range of techniques used to capture requirements from the customer.

According to Kubiak et al. (01) for most projects, the customer can be grouped into categories or segments, with segments being a further breakdown with categories, for example:

  • Internal and external to the organization

    Examples of internal to the organization are business departments, employees, managers;

  • Customer demographics

    Age groups, especially for consumer goods, and geographical location, including climate, language and ethnic issues, and shipping considerations;

  • Industry types

    For example, the project might impact customers in construction, agricolture and stationary equipment industries.

In general, it is beneficial for the team and the project to construct a list of customers within a segment or category.

It easy to underestimate the value of understanding and providing for customer’ needs. For without customers, we have nothing!

The Kano Model (1)

The Kano Model is a useful tools that helps to categorize, evaluate an prioritize customer’s requirements in terms of customer satisfaction. The Kano Model was developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano, a professor emeritus of the Tokyo University of Science and consultant in the field of quality management.

In his model, Kano categorizes customer’s requirement based on the level of customer satisfaction an therefore helps the product development team to prioritize and focus on the right customer needs

Kano Model
Figure 1: The Kano Model (2)

Requirements fall into 3 main categories:

These are requirements that customer assumes will be there, and when they aren’t, the customer will be very dissatisfied. Consider, for example, a car with some even small defects on the paint. When this occurs, customers are very dissatisfied. Must-be requirements are also known as basic requirements, expected requirements or must-have requirements;

These are the requirements in which the customer expects a certain level of fulfillment, and anything exceeding that level increases satisfaction. An example is an internet provider that may be advertised as having a certain data transfer rate. If the rate is not as advertised, the customer is dissatisfied. One-dimensional requirements are also known as performance requirements, normal requirements or linear requirements;

These re the requirements that get to the heart of the customer. When present, they increase satisfaction, but their absence, doesn not cause dissatisfaction, because the customer doesn not expect them. Consider for example a new shirt with additional spare buttons sewed in the label. Attractive requirements are also known as excitement requirements, exciting needs or delighters.

What information are we looking for in product development decision-making?

According to Anderson (3), these are the main questions that Market Research, if done properly, will answer:

6 key steps for Market Research

According to Naresh (4), the following steps underpin all market research:

Example: What is the project sales potential for a newly developed tracking device for hikers?

Example: required for final launch decision. Statistical accuracy;

Example: statistically selected sample to represent the target market needs or delighters;

Example: calculate the mean and the variance of the data related to the likelihood of purchase;

Example: is the projected sales potential sufficient to justify launch?

Example: Go or No-Go for launch.


1) T.M. Kubiak, Donald W. Benbow, The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook, 3rd Edition, 2018

2) http://taggedwiki.zubiaga.org/new_content/376ea81ba1232e8bf9c3ebdf98b8c255 (10/04/2019)

3) Anderson, M. Allan, Product Development and Management Body of Knowledge, PDMA, 2017

4) Naresh, K M, 2009 Marketing Research: an applied orientation. Prentice Hall

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