Phase Five of Innovation: Manage an Innovative Product or Service in an Ever-Changing Market to Remain Relevant

June 28, 2021
Escalent | Manage an Innovative Product or Service in an Ever-Changing Market to Remain Relevant

The Final Phase of our Five-Part Guide to Successful Innovation

This is the final installment of our five-part blog series about how businesses can innovate and adjust to market change using a five-phase framework for innovation. We break down one phase per blog, laying out the business challenges that typically align with each phase and the various ways to address them. We began by exploring how to identify areas of opportunities in the Search phase and then delved into how to generate ideas for relevant solutions in the Develop phase. After, we moved onto the Validate phase, where concept testing and refinement take place before preparing to bring a new product or service to market in the Launch phase. We now enter the final phase: Manage.

After you have successfully brought a new product or service to market, you may be asking yourself: Now what? What is the best way to stay on top of market changes and the twists and turns of business cycles? This brings us to Manage, the largest of all the phases because it covers an expansive number of activities.

Escalent | Innovation Five-Phase Framework

Phase Five of Innovation: Manage—Sustaining and Growing

At its heart, the Manage phase is about nurturing the product or service after it’s in the field, just like when it was a concept in the Develop phase. Here, the goal is to enable the concept to achieve its objectives and optimize its contributions to the brand. Gathering post-launch feedback—such as sales metrics, reviews and market share—can help identify what adjustments are needed to extend viability and profitability for as long as possible.

This is where we answer questions such as:

  • How do we make sure our products or services stay relevant in the marketplace?
  • How do we adjust or refine our strategy to remain competitive?

Here are some Manage phase issues our clients faced and how we helped them.

Example #1: Creating an Ongoing Customer Dialogue to Secure Brand and Product Feedback

A major automotive manufacturer conducted research on an ad hoc basis to understand what types of products, experiences and innovations its customers and prospects wanted. However, the company wanted a way to gather more timely and cost-effective feedback on product-related questions, so it turned to Escalent for a solution.

We engaged 5,000 automobile owners in an online Insight Community that we designed to quickly gather member input on a variety of topics by participating in visually engaging activities. Gaining a deep understanding of the actual experiences customers had with the manufacturer’s own products as well as competitive products, our client was able to compare this with the expectations of new vehicle owners to identify how to refine its offerings for greater customer satisfaction. In return for their participation, we regularly updated members about the impact their feedback was having on the client’s products and services.

This two-way engagement revealed iterative insights for the brand while giving it an effective way to nurture a trusting relationship with the members. Our client continues to use this community as an efficient tool to collaborate with customers and as an iterative, two-way engagement platform that delivers valuable strategic insight.

Example #2: Optimizing the Promotion of a Late-Stage Pharmaceutical Brand

A pharmaceutical company was budget-constrained and had a product that was the only branded offering in its class. Given these constraints, the company turned to Escalent to identify which physicians it could target to optimize its market share against generic brands before losing its patent exclusivity.

Conducting a study with US-based physicians, we combined the survey data with the client’s prescription data and insurance/access data. Using various algorithms to link these datasets, we identified three strategic segments in the client’s database of 40,000 physicians with extremely high accuracy. The company developed its go-forward strategy based on this solution and prioritized its marketing resources to promote this late-stage product to the right physicians. Two years later, we are pleased to report our client successfully optimized the promotion and market share of its branded product.

We hope this blog series on successful innovation was helpful and provided the tools you need to understand what phase your products and services are in and how you can move forward with confidence in delighting customers.

To learn more about how Escalent can help you innovate, send us a note.

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Gwen Ishmael
Senior Vice President, Qualitative

Gwen is passionate about infusing the voice and creativity of consumers into the research process for Escalent clients. During her career, she has led qualitative and new product development research initiatives for companies including Philips, Reckitt Benckiser, PepsiCo, T-Mobile and Honda. Prior to joining Escalent, Gwen was head of Insights & Innovation at Decision Analyst; vice president, marketing at Webb Interactive; and director of new products and ventures at US WEST, where she co-founded one of the internet’s first and most successful yellow pages and local ecommerce directories. Gwen co-authored the Amazon bestseller, A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing and Meals in Science and Practice: Interdisciplinary Research and Business Applications. Her articles have been featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and she is a founder of Innochat, a weekly Twitter-based discussion on innovation featured in Forbes. Gwen earned an MBA with a specialization in marketing from the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Tech University.

Ray Reno, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Marketing Sciences

Ray Reno is a senior vice president and senior marketing scientist in our Marketing Sciences Group. He is recognized as a creative problem-solver with extensive training in analytics and methodology, as well as a keen understanding of the consumer and brand issues businesses face. Ray specializes in the design of consumer segmentations and market frameworks, assessment of the differentiation of brand equities and the identification and quantification of potential brand value propositions. Ray earned a Ph.D. and master's degree in social psychology from Arizona State University as well as a bachelor's degree in psychology and English from Adrian College. When not analyzing market research, Ray can be found digging through genealogical data related to his ancestry.