For product development success … discover unrecognized, unknown needs

In my experience, valuable unknown needs can be elicited from a product’s endusers.

  • Unknown need … a product attribute endusers desire, but have not yet learned to articulate.

My clients are specialty goods/services firms. They can develop desirable product attributes quickly, and without much capital expense.

  • As a result, they continue to enjoy the unique competitive advantage of their firm, in  their customers’ eyes.

Clients hire me to discover and analyze valuable unknown needs because …

  • I find and talk with a lot of their best customers’ endusers.
         Cost is lower than doing this work themselves.

With knowledge of the attributes desired by endusers, the client can develop modified products that:

  1. Have a sustainable, competitive advantage.
  2. Provide quick, positive cash flow.

Case example

The Case of the Grease Monkey’s Curiosity

Jeff, his firm’s product development strategist, was frustrated.

Jeff’s problem

He needed to grow his firm’s share in the grease additives market. Buying agents at grease companies said they needed improved grease service life without a price increase. Jeff’s R&D people could meet this need.

Jeff’s solution

Jeff hired me to uncover what the endusers at grease companies’ customers said they needed in improvements. These supreme decision makers on purchases are often deep in endusers’ decision networks.

New knowledge Jeff gathered from my project

Operators, grease monkeys of expensive excavating machines, expressed a previously unknown need.

George, I don’t care about increased service life. Each day I inspect each joint of my machine for failure and I re-grease each joint. This is a messy, dirty job.  Can your client make it a less messy?
                                         Machine operator at major copper mine in Chile.

Results

Kirk’s R&D added another proprietary additive to their grease additive package. It made the package easier to apply. In the bargain, they could eliminate a more expensive additive from the package.

Within 4 years of launch, Kirk’s firm’s …

  1. Market share of grease additives for expensive excavating machines jumped 4 places to #3.
  2. New additive package had a sustainable profit margin of 96%.