Lack of insight is a barrier to innovation

This isn’t just my opinion. A new report by Nielsen shows that three in four (76 per cent) of new FMCG product launches fail in their first year and reveals that one of the principles of success requires uncovering consumer insights.

Mindi Chahal

Nielsen’s report, based on an analysis of 12,000 FMCG product launches across Western Europe since 2011, also shows that two-thirds of new products never even achieve a mere 10,000 unit sales.

As well as getting the innovation and activation strategy right and getting the business behind the idea, the study shows that when deciding which innovation to pursue, a brand needs to walk in the shoes of the consumer to uncover key demand-driven insights.

Innovation and insight might not seem like they belong together; one has the air of creativity and the spark of ideas, while the other is often seen as methodical and traditional.  

One aspect of the work that goes into making ideas a reality is the use of research within the innovation process.

Neilsen says that innovation success is never just a remarkable coincidence.

Its managing director of innovation practice in Europe and co-author of the report, Johan Sjöstrand, says: “It’s about deliberate attempts to disrupt all aspects of the innovation process and challenge everyday norms, such as consumer attitudes, long-standing beliefs, launch mechanics, organisational behaviour and disciplines.”

Research by Promise Communispace, seen exclusively by Marketing Week, also shows that innovation is harder than it looks and its ‘cool factor’ does not reflect the reality of the hard graft that comes with turning creative ideas into market-ready products or services.  

Senior marketers in this study identify that insufficient use of customer insight and data are a barrier to innovation and many are unsure of how best to involve customers and customer insight into the process.

Although innovation based on research might not seem that sexy, the reality is that it plays a part in the process, and among other things is key to the success of new products and services. 


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