In manufacturing, there is very much a threat of adverse effects should innovation be applied without thorough consideration of its purpose and distraction from integral shopper input. Such is evident when considering production within the fast-moving consumer good category, or FMCG.
Nielsen recently released its “State of Innovation Survey,” which cast insight into the pressure felt by manufacturers and marketers to speed up, even at the cost of mining consumer feedback and improving workflow processes. These ignored factors might require more product updates down the road, thus derailing the throttling pace of production. Hence, adverse effects.
Throughout the entire supply chain, retailers and brands are feeling the heat. That balminess is due to Amazon’s near unmatchable delivery speed and fast-fashion chains constant inventory refreshes, which has upped consumer expectations.
“Accelerated innovation often translates to making more decisions based on less insight. At this year’s CoNEXTions event, 78 percent of marketers state they spend less time than they should on the innovation process when speed is a priority,” said Jenny Frazier, senior vice president of Nielsen’s Innovation department. “At the same time, marketers say they’re testing 25 percent fewer ideas than they feel they should.”
Nielsen’s report said innovation is typically rushed due to three main issues. Marketers are sent marching orders from senior leadership to launch products faster while capitalizing on fluctuating consumer trends. What’s more, the retail landscape is only becoming more congested with emerging brands that are inherently more nimble, due to innovation being integrated into their infrastructures from day one.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The report suggested carving out time to discern and review the targeted consumer. Fueled by end-customer feedback, marketers stand a better chance in informing the production process to avoid timely redos, or product flops.
By optimizing these insights, early stages of production stand to be improved and honed. “Strong trial rates are the outcome of having a strong value proposition that addresses a true consumer need, and repeat rates are the result of a strong product experience,” the report said. “Retailers and manufacturers that can fulfill a consumer need that meets or exceeds their expectations will help to drive continued sales.”
Rushing risks quality, but timeliness is paramount. “Those who wait too long to adjust timing and optimize launches can run into a myriad problems,” the report said. “Those who can forecast the right products early in the development process and provide the right marketing support, including an adequate budget, to help launch a new product in the competitive market will stay ahead of their competitors.”
More from WWD: