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Listen First!: Turning Social Media Conversations into Business Advantage by Stephen D. Rappaport

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Chapter 6

Drive New Product Development and Innovation

Most companies rely on new product development and innovation to generate revenue growth. Yet it's a constant challenge to develop successful offerings. Failure is an all too likely option for companies of all sizes; in fact, over half of new products that are brought to market fail or underperform. The number-one reason? Marketers neglect to understand the customer (Janowski 2008).

Companies that have turned to social media listening for innovation and new product work find that it has opened their eyes in important ways. It allows them to gauge market interest; hear suggestions for potential product features; and fine-tune concepts, products, marketing, and advertising.

Winning Plays for Innovation and New Product Development

The cases we review in this chapter span efforts in industries ranging from automobile design to foods to Web site editorial content. From these, we've distilled six winning plays:

  • Gauge potential market interest in new product concepts by searching publicly available social media profiles. These can be exceptionally rich sources for basic market reconnaissance. They take little time and can provide valuable early guidance. Successful new product Bacon Salt got its start when two entrepreneurs tested a hunch by searching for, and contacting, people who wrote “I love bacon” in their social media site profiles (see “Search Social Media Profiles,” later in the chapter). Profile analysis is suitable for ...

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