June 15, 2011

Using Customer Data to speed up Product Development

2 minute read

We need to invest in developing marketing talent and not just leave it to chance. Product development cycles are speeding up and the pressures on marketing, technical and development teams to get products to market at lightning speed are increasing. Some consumers are still watching cathode ray TV’s while flat panel is old hat and new 3D and LED technologies are available everywhere and the price is dropping rapidly. A feel for data, insight into consumer attitudes and understanding markets is stock in trade for brand managers but emerging new sources of online data combined with the power of social networks to drive trends is making it more difficult to read the market and inform the investment decisions necessary to drive product innovation. The key to success is to know your customer and have a feel for the market; this demands marketing talent with high intellect, drive and organisational skills but primarily boots on the ground experience of working with customers

There is a general agreement now that UK PLC needs to get back to making things and selling them to increasingly affluent consumers and business in BRIC and other almost developed countries. Marketing people have a huge opportunity to lead this mission through their role of understanding customer needs and wants and then guiding factory and production people to enable them to design and deliver world-beating products. As the digital environment expands it offers consumers more touch points with the brands they like and marketers more data to help shape their understanding of customer behaviour and needs. Collecting and organising the increasing flow of data is a strategic business imperative but one where there is insufficient investment or focus. There is a real danger that as the pace of digitisation accelerates that marketing will miss the boat and be seen as the people who do marketing communications and not the owners of business intelligence that can make a substantial impact on business growth.

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Using Customer Data to speed up Product Development