Are Companies Becoming More Risk Averse in New Product Development (NPD) Decisions?

This is an important question to consider for any company engaged in new product development. Every project is unique. Product extensions tend to be lower risk while radical, new-to-the-market products are usually higher risk. While lower risk projects are easier to manage, higher risk projects might provide a much more significant payoff if successful. In today’s economy with fierce global competition, a focus on only lower-risk projects might not be the best decision for long-term company success. Continue reading

The Product Manager and New Product Development (NPD) Success

Product ManagerA key organizational role in the new product development (NPD) process is commonly referred to as a product manager. There are many definitions of this role, depending on the size of the company and the type of technology. Here we will focus on the position in the context of small to mid-sized firms who manufacture highly engineered products. In some organizations, a product manager may have P&L responsibility, but for the purposes of this discussion, it is assumed they do not. Continue reading

What’s the “Right” Definition of Marketing?

This is a question that when asked, you get a variety of answers. In many cases, the definition is too narrow, and only focuses on advertising and outward communication to customers. Sometimes it is confused with sales. One of the classic, timeless descriptions of the difference between sales and marketing comes from Theodore Levitt’s famous 1960 Harvard Business Review article, “Marketing Myopia”.  In Levitt’s definition, selling focuses on the needs of the seller. It’s all about turning a product into a revenue stream. Marketing on the other hand is focused on the needs of the buyer and meeting their needs. That definition of the difference has stood the test of time, but is often forgotten. Continue reading

What’s the Right Level of R&D and Marketing Integration for NPD Success?

A recent article in the September issue of the Journal of Product Innovation Management provides some perspectives on the integration of R&D and Marketing and the relationship to NPD success. The author defines integration as “the magnitude of interaction and communication, the level of information sharing, the degree of coordination, and the extent to which marketing and R&D have a common vision and collective goals during a NPD project.” Continue reading