Marketing Report
Martin Hellich (DVJ-Insights): how consumer need-gaps help to identify spaces for product innovation

Martin Hellich (DVJ-Insights): how consumer need-gaps help to identify spaces for product innovation

The need for innovation to grow a brand

Innovation is a crucial driver for brand growth as it fosters differentiation and helps businesses stay competitive in a dynamic market.

We observed increased investments of our clients in innovation over the past years. In the very most cases, it has paid off and fuelled brand growth as well as improved turnover.

This underscores the importance of innovation not only in creating unique products and services but also in enhancing customer engagement and loyalty. By continuously evolving and introducing new ideas, brands can meet changing consumer needs, capture new market opportunities, and ultimately secure a stronger market position. Therefore, fostering a culture of innovation is essential for any brand aiming to achieve sustainable growth and maintain a competitive edge.

The ways of identifying white spaces for innovation

Allocating resources to the right innovation initiatives is crucial for achieving economic efficiency. However, at an early stage, this can be challenging due to the limited clarity on the suggested return of various areas to look at. A variety of methods, including competitive analysis, technological trend monitoring, market research, and consumer insights identification, can help pinpoint areas with high potential for returns on innovation investments.

Joakim Wictorin, Sales & Marketing Director Nordics at GB Foods, emphasised in an interview with us the importance of understanding local consumer preferences and continually innovating to meet these needs. By focusing on macro trends and rigorous testing, GB Foods aims to remain relevant and competitive, addressing unmet customer needs through innovative product development and marketing strategies.

In the Formula E industry, Matt Roberts, VP of Business Intelligence, highlighted to us the necessity of understanding and engaging the fan base to cater to their preferences. The use of data-driven insights and innovative marketing strategies exemplifies Formula E’s commitment to continuously evolve and meet unmet customer needs through innovative approaches in sports and entertainment.

How to uncover unmet needs of consumers

Identifying the best innovation spaces to focus initiatives and resources on at an early stage of the process requires a multifaceted approach. Uncovering unmet customer needs in market research is equally complex and can be addressed through several methods. We believe that combining 

qualitative techniques with quantitative research designs, an approach we call MassQual, is particularly effective.

In this approach, we prompt friction to uncover unmet consumer needs they share through stories.

By doing so and comparing it to ideal experiences in a category, significant need gaps are revealed. This, combined with weighing such differentiated gaps against current experience fulfilment levels, adds an important dimension of significance, helping in prioritising areas of unmet demand on which to focus initiatives.

This approach offers several advantages:

Enhanced Scope and Depth: Unlike conventional quantitative methods that rely on predefined hypotheses, MassQual uses qualitative questioning techniques. This unrestricted methodology allows a broader exploration of customer perceptions and desires – but with a quantitative framing.

Detection of Subtle Yet Significant Signals: Purely qualitative methods provide deep insights but often miss low-incidence signals due to smaller sample sizes. MassQual addresses this by combining qualitative depth with quantitative breadth, facilitating the detection of significant but infrequent patterns.

Quantification of Innovation Opportunities: MassQual not only identifies areas for innovation but also quantifies the magnitude of these opportunities, crucial for prioritising and strategising innovation efforts effectively.

Directed Research and Focused Findings: Compared to social media monitoring or analytics, which capture broader trends and sentiments, 

MassQual offers more targeted and specific insights. This precision is particularly valuable for developing focused and effective business strategies.

To summarise, MassQual complements other approaches to identify unmet customer demands while offering unique advantages, making it a preferred method for identifying and prioritising innovation opportunities.

Article by Martin Hellich , Global Head of Brand & Innovation at DVJ Insights