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 Teaming Up With Customers to Develop the Perfect Product
Innovation | 23.03.2017

Consumers Turned to Product Testers

Here's How You Can Develop New Product Innovations With Your Customers

Teaming Up With Customers to Develop the Perfect Product. Avoid mistakes: Ask your customers to tell you about their requirements and let them take part in the product development. (Quelle: iStock/ mastermilmar)
Avoid mistakes: Ask your customers to tell you about their requirements and let them take part in the product development.
Bild: iStock/ mastermilmar
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The sports industry is rapidly changing. Digitization opens up new offers and sales channels. A product's life cycle – that is, the time period between its introduction onto the market to the introduction of the next product – has become shorter. Trends such as those described in the ISPO study "Sport 2.0 – Digitization of the Sports Industry" contribute to this development.

Increasing levels of pressure also increase the risk of making mistakes: Companies are developing products according to the requirements of their customers and overlook the fact that what people need can easily and quickly change. Offers are aimed at the analog rather than digital market, therefore missing a key target audience whose training is characterized by smartphones, apps, and fitness wristbands. Product developers and marketeers within the sports industry are letting important trends pass them by, simply because they only examine traditional sales channels and miss emerging trends on social media.


In our time of dynamic change, the key to an innovation's market success is to include customers as early as possible in the development process. Once a faulty product or a digital business model has been implemented, it is too late to change it. The new white paper "ISPO Open Innovation – Customers as Development Partners" shows which part customers play in the development process:

  • Identify subconscious requirements: The ISPO OPEN INNOVATION platform regularly invites consumers to take part in online discussions that are chaired by professional market researchers. Interviews and chats are used to debate and discuss concrete training situations. Discussions are evaluated and categorized by keywords. This creates customer insights for the markets of the future.
  • Generating product and offer ideas: Innovations are consistently developed from the point of view of the customer: Idea contests and co-creation campaigns help create extraordinary ideas for innovations that set companies apart from the competition.
  • Testing innovative products: Does the prototype keep its promises? Have all features of this app been taken into consideration? Do customers understand the advantages of an innovation? Product tests help companies out on their way to creating the perfect innovation. Insights are gathered from experience at an early stage and consumers give developers valuable advice.
  • Social media marketing for market launches: Consumers describe their experiences with new products, stimulate discussions in their blogs and on social media channels, and help companies to promote their innovations during the market launch phase.


The white paper "Customers as Development Partners" explains which part consumers play in the development process and how they can be included. Development partners are selected consumers, so-called "consumer experts": Consumers whose lifestyle and training behavior sets them one to two years ahead of the mass market. Consumers who are keen to play an active part in developing future products and offers. Consumers who want to incorporate their creative potential into the ISPO Open Innovation platform, the sports industry's biggest development community.

The white paper "Customers as Development Partners" is now available here for you to download free of charge.

Jens-Uwe Meyer (Quelle: Privat)
Article by Jens-Uwe Meyer, author
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