The Internet and new product development - Marketing Management

Internet technology allows a more flexible approach to the process of innovation as the marketer can involve customers in the process. This means that the Internet provides a basis for the introduction of the quality function deployment process referred to earlier. The interactive nature of the Internet enables the marketer to solicit customer participation in the product development process and at the same time reduce development times.

New IT systems have enabled Toyota to make constant and rapid improvements to its design processes, meeting the racing team’s requirements to redesign up to 15 per cent of the car in only two weeks between Grand Prix races to continually improve speeds and road-holding abilities. Intelbased servers have enabled faster, more accurate simulations and design calculations to optimize racing car aerodynamics, processing virtual tests significantly faster than on the old legacy RISCbased platform, and have delivered a marked reduction in car development time. The following represent some of the ways in which increased flexibility and customer involvement are achieved in new product development using the Internet:

  • A database can be used to identify key innovators in the market. The company can then communicate with the selected customers to gain information about their particular needs and the implications of these for the concept of the product.
  • Product concepts and customer response to these can then be fed into the design process and outcomes in the form of design options can be evaluated directly and immediately with customers.
  • Ultimately, as product development progresses, customer needs can be integrated with technical solutions using both the Intranet and the Extranet to integrate the process and to encapsulate customer response as the project evolves.
  • Implications for marketing in relation to the Internet and developments in IT are important and discussion here is introductory.

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