Power to the People - Product Development & Launch Excellence in a Digital World

Social media and the growing role of the ‘internet of things’ is increasingly blurring the separation between physical products, services and digital offerings. Take pedometers for example, these have been transformed from simple step counters into sophisticated wearables with a digital offering. They now come packaged with an online web profile, mobile app, online feedback forum, comparison site and the opportunity for remote performance monitoring. This all-encompassing application experience is redefining customer expectations for new products.

In Moorhouse’s Achieving Product Development and Launch Excellence[1] publication, we explore how this digital disruption is shaking up the status quo, which is challenging organisations throughout the existing product development and launch process. Traditional product development processes have been inflexible, rigid and linear, with inefficient use of cross-functional resources, and insufficient customer feedback. Customers are now playing a greater role earlier in the process. Whilst product experts are having to react to digital disruption, products are expanding beyond the purely physical offering.

The role of the product expert is being redefined. Organisations need to be more consumer-centric.

 “Technology has disrupted traditional consumer goods communications models; consumers no longer expect to be told what to do, they want to be part of the conversation and be treated as individuals. Harnessing technology to gather these inputs can help to unlock new insights and drive innovation”- Nicola Butler, Innovation Manager at KP Snacks UK (part of the Intersnack Group)

 The consumer needs to be an integrated player whose feedback is sought, understood and reacted to. Dissatisfaction is simple and free to broadcast globally across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Organisations need to focus on the digital platforms in which their existing and target consumers engage. In our publication, Stephen Stanton-Downes, Digital & Technology Transformation Lead, expands on the following key themes:

  • Customer Centricity: thanks to the digital revolution, the consumer is now a key player in the product launch cycle. Consumers are taking control of their own destiny, and demanding the products and experience they want from providers.
  • Internet of Things: the growing use of social media, wearables and web analytics mean that businesses are being flooded with more data than they can handle. They need to find the most effective ways to sift through this information and glean value – and they need to partner with those who have the capabilities to get this done.
  •  Blurring of Physical and Digital: consumers are demanding products which are more than purely physical - cutting across the full user or patient experience. In healthcare, this means encompassing the full array of prevention, diagnosis and treatment phases.

Current industry capability is struggling to handle the digital-driven consumer shift. If companies wish to retain competitiveness, they will be forced to examine their approach throughout the product development and launch cycle.

Consultancies are adapting to support the new customer-focused approach. At Moorhouse we are working with industry experts and our clients to gain a deep understanding of these challenges, act on the lessons learned and support the delivery of transformational change.

[1] http://www.moorhouseconsulting.com/insights-publications/publications/publication-request-form/

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Rebecca Farmer Manager