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Customer Needs Research Plan

Your project’s customer needs research efforts will provide critical information on customer needs, customer reaction to alternative product concepts, and customer reaction to a proposed prototype product. Obtaining this needed information from potential customers can be challenging. You need to think through: 1) what market segment (group of potential customers) you will assess, 2) who you will contact that can provide the information that represents the needs of the customers, 3) how you will obtain the information that you need from your contacts (interviews, observation of activities, questionnaires, 4) how you will ensure some degree of standardization in the information obtained by different team members, and 5) the best way to document and communicate the insights that are obtained.

Your plan should be informed by the Kimmel lecture on customer research and by the chapter in the Ulrich & Eppinger textbook on finding customer needs.

Your customer needs research plan should contain (1) a description of the relevant stakeholders and decision makers who might be interviewed (market segment and sub-segments), (2) which segments you plan to interview to understand customer needs (see the Customer Needs assignment), (3) how many people you will interview in each category and the date that those interviews will be completed, (4) how you will find interviewees (be specific) and (5) the research objective(s) for your interviews. Items 1-5 should be about two pages in length. Follow this with the draft (or final) version of your interviewer guide for the interviews.

Deliver your plan to the course, and by email to Susan Kimmel,