Mind the Gap

This week my online class is learning about finding and solving customers’ problems. In Chapter 5 of New Products Management the authors, C. Merle Crawford and C anthony Di Benedetto, share the steps in identifying issues and finding a solution associated with a company’s products and services, which are the following:

  1. Problem based concept generation – used to identify & determine needs vs. wants.
  2. Gather the problems – via internal records, direct inputs form technical and marketing departments.
  3. Problem Analysis Procedure – use reverse brainstorming by talking to experts, users, stakeholders via interviews, focused groups, observations, role playling, and scenario analysis.
  4. Solve the problem – via group creativity, brainstorming, electronic brainstorming or group support systems, online communities, and a displenes panel.

(Crawford, C. M. & Benedetto, C. A. D., 2015, pgs. 130 -150).

We are also studying the different types of new analytical attribute approaches to perceptual mapping.  This week’s marketing questions are:

  1. What value does a Determinant Gap Map provide?
  2. What are the major differences between AR & OS methods?

Customers buy a product based up groups of attributes, which are: features, functions, and benefits (Crawford, C. M. & Benedetto, C. A. D., 2015, p. 155). Upon evaluating results a marketer will learn what the perception of a product actually is based on its current market. Upon further gap analysis, the marketer will find an open space such as a new product line to create (Crawford, C. M. & Benedetto, C. A. D., 2015, p. 156).

A Determinant Gap Map is made via, “Managerial expertise and judgment which is used to plot products on a map based upon determinant attributes that are differentiate and are important, as to why customers purchase a product (Crawford, C. M. & Benedetto, C. A. D., 2015, p. 157 & 158).” This type of map is, “speedy and cost-efficient, but are driven by manager’s judgment only (Crawford, C. M. & Benedetto, C. A. D., 2015,  p. 158).”

There are two other types of gap maps, which are: 1.) Attribute Ratings (AR) – where a manager uses customer attributes ratings to get data from users and 2.) Overall Similarities (OS) – where a manager uses overall similarities to get data from users (Crawford, C. M. & Benedetto, C. A. D., 2015, p. 157).

I am skipping the technical part of differences. However, here is my first hand example of the importance of using GAP MAPs.

One example that comes to mind that I experienced while on vacation at Universal Studios in Florida, as we were asked to be taste testers and fill out a questionnaire as to the similarities of orange juice. The actual OS testing was based on color, flavor, and taste, but we were not told which brands where being tested.

After reading this week’s text, I see the analysis of the data gathered may not have been to just find out what customers like to drink at the park, but the possibility to discover a new drink based upon perceptions of tourists.

In summary, it is vital for a marketer to know the different analysis techniques used in order to create a new product line and by listening to the voice of the customer. The perception gap maps help discover gaps, but not demand. A marketer would still need to see if the new product is what the customers actually want (Crawford, C. M. & Benedetto, C. A. D., 2015, p. 167).

References:

Crawford, C. M. & Benedetto, C. A. D., (2015). New Products Management. (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGaw-Hill Education


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