When a company starts new product development, there are various tools available to help product marketers with the process of managing customer data obtained from consumer research studies. The challenge is translating consumer research data into successful products.

It is truly a daunting task to manage all the surveys, video information, interviews and everything else generated during the new product development process. Often times it ends up as a pile of paper files or email trails that someone has to organize and make sense of. Award winning industrial design consultants Stuart Karten Design (SKD) has developed their own tool for this process called ModeMapping. In a recent seminar in Irvine, California, SKD showed how they go about using ModeMapping to help them analyze interviews with their research subjects to help design new innovate products. They typically spend several days with each research subject to find out what is important to them when using a product.

ModeMapping is a visual diagram that presents important customer attributes in the form of acolor-coded chart to representdifferent areas of product and customer interaction. Looking at the chart for each research subject , SKD can quickly determine areas of common interest and customer behavior.

The key idea here is that it is vital that product marketers use scientific methods to find out what their prospective customers want in a new product. What are the product attributes that matter to them, what are the things that can make someone feel better about a product, etc. Companies that invest in this process have a much higher chance of success with their new products.

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Nick Rakhshani