Recent meta-analysis of the impact of market-orientation on business performance yielded a significant positive correlation between market-orientation and new product performance (.35) and innovativeness (.45) (Kirca, Jayachandran & O'Bearden, 2005) Behavioral perspective of market-orientation: a set of organizational activities that are related to the generation and dissemination of and responsiveness to market intelligence (Kohli, Jaworski & Kumar, 1993) Market-orientation comprises three behavioral components - customer-orientation, competitor-orientation and inter-functional coordination -, and two decision criteria - long-term focus and profitability. Customer-orientation is defined as a sufficient understanding of one's target buyers and their needs to be able to continuously generate added value in their eyes. It encompasses customer commitment, creation of customer value, understanding of customer needs, customer satisfaction objectives, customer satisfaction measures and after-sales service (Narver & Slater, 1990) But (1a) what are the concrete organizational activities pertaining to the generation/dissemination of responsiveness of market intelligence that are relevant to the customer-orientation component? (2a) And how does the existence/performance of these organizational activities impact (eventually in an interaction with other components of market-orientation) on new product performance and innovativeness? (3) How can the level of employment/performance of organizational activities pertaining to customer-orientation be measured (scored?) at different stages of product innovation processes? Can such levels (scores?) be aggregated as to form a measure of the customer-orientation of innovation processes? (4) Can this aggregated measured be taken as a (good) predictor of new product performance and innovativeness across different types of FMCG manufacturers? One way of approaching these questions in the context of innovation in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry is to apply the concept of consumer-led new product development. Consumer-led product development was introduced in the early 90's as a market-oriented innovation concept concerning the use of consumers' current and future needs and its determinants in the development of new products with true added value (Urban & Hauser, 1993). Why use consumer-led NPD to approach these questions? Because it has been developed to the extent that it is possible to specify (1) the different stages of a product development process (Urban & Hauser, 1993); (2) the organizational activities pertaining to market-intelligence that can be employed at each stage (Urban & Hauser, 1993; Costa, 2003); (3) stage-activity combinations for different levels of consumer-orientation and degrees of innovativeness (Costa, 2003; van Kleef, van Trijp & Luning, 2005). The idea is that you can survey industries for their NPD stages and consumer-orientation activities, score stage-activity combinations (and the whole development process) on level of consumer-orientation and degree of innovativeness of the developed products and check whether or not this correlated positively with product performance and company's innovativeness. These scores can also be used to discriminate industrial sectors, countries or regions, different company sizes, different innovation strategies, corporate cultures, etc.
Main Research Area:
Food Innovation and New Product Development: 4th International MAPP Workshop on Consumer Behaviour and Food Marketing, 2006