Choice of consumer research methods in the front end of new product development

Mariëlle Creusen and Erik Jan Hultink

Delft University of Technology

Katrin Eling

Eindhoven University of Technology

Introduction

An important success factor for new products is the understanding of user needs and wants, and their implementation into the new product development (NPD) process (Cooper & Kleinschmidt 1987; Cooper 1996; Ottum & Moore 1997; Gruner & Homburg 2000; Callahan & Lasry 2004). Consumer information is especially important in the fuzzy front end (FFE) of an NPD project (Cooper 1996; Gruner & Homburg 2000; Kärkkäinen et al. 2001; Callahan & Lasry 2004). This FFE consists of activities such as product strategy formulation, opportunity identification and analysis, idea generation and enrichment, idea selection, concept development, and informal or prescreening (Khurana & Rosenthal 1998; Koen et al. 2002; Reid & de Brentani 2004). Reid and de Brentani (2004) make a further distinction between the early FFE, roughly consisting of the opportunity identification phase, and the late FFE, consisting of the idea generation and concept development phases. The FFE ends with the go/no-go decision for product development (Khurana & Rosenthal 1998).