"Karlamar Associates assisted my business in gathering technical and market research data for the potential commercialization of a new medical device. Their preliminary research of the health industry and emergency medical field was invaluable in helping us understand both the industry and regulatory requirements for our device. Through their efforts, critical information regarding our device, its use, and regulatory and business hurdles was collected and analyzed. Their final summary document was clear and concise and well organized, as was their manner of doing business."
Concept Generation & Selection
Feature Prioritization/ Trade-off Studies
Concept Generation & SelectionOnce the "Voice of the Customer" has been heard and unmet customer needs have been identified, Karlamar Associates can help your team brainstorm concepts to satisfy these customer needs. We can facilitate the use of TRIZ, and a variety of other creative problem solving processes, to help your group generate innovative solutions. We can also assist in the identification of the most viable ideas through the use of concept selection techniques and other criteria-based decision tools.
Concept TestingTo determine whether your concept is worth further investment of time & resources, you should test the concept with target customers. By presenting a prototype, a mock-up, or even a brief description of the proposed concept before a group of potential customers, you can use their initial reactions to further develop the idea. This helps to clarify how the customer may use the product, pointing out potential strengths and weaknesses that may impact its design. Typical feedback from a concept test include likes and dislikes, perceived value, an assessment of uniqueness, and validation from the customer of what needs it satisfies or the problems it solves. This early customer involvement may also point out missed features or conflicts that will need to be resolved by the design team.
Product RequirementsThe translation of the "Voice of the Customer" into benefits and actionable product specifications is a combination of art, science and engineering discipline. Customers speak in terms of needs, wants and problems to be solved; marketing professionals speak in terms of product goals, benefits and features; and engineers speak in terms of requirements and specifications, quantitative measures and targets. Karlamar Associates can help translate and facilitate this discussion, as well as streamline communications between your marketing and engineering groups.
Feature Prioritization/ Trade-off StudiesThere is nothing more frustrating to engineers, than to have the marketing group present them with a laundry list of product requirements with the premise that everything is equally important. Engineers need to know how to prioritize their design activities, where to focus their time and energy, and where they can afford to make technical trade-offs. Making trade-offs in a void is dangerous since market consequences are not comprehended, and may result in compromises that affect the viability of the offering.
Pricing StudiesHow do you set prices for your products and services? Are prices based on your costs, by your competition, or by those people most likely to purchase your solution? Offering a product or service at the lowest possible price may not always be the best answer, especially if brand expectations and price perceptions need to be considered. What information do you really need to determine the "right" price for your product and where do you get it?
Usability StudiesOnce working prototypes are available, customers should be observed performing typical tasks with the product in a controlled but realistic environment to uncover any potential usage issues. Analysis of what actually happened versus what was expected can identify required areas of improvement. This includes review of all aspects of the product, such as packaging, instructions, documentation, and graphics.
Product TestingBefore releasing your product or service into the cold, cruel world, it is prudent for you to verify and validate that it does everything that you claim it does. You should make sure that the offering meets all specifications and promises made about it and that actual customers agree that it behaves as expected and advertised. This can be achieved through product testing or a product validation test. Best to have an unbiased third party who is unfamilar with the product conduct the test to ensure complete objectivity, and the test plan should be linked to measures of customer need. Depending upon the product or service, Karlamar Associates can help you test the offering, its packaging, supporting collaterals, advertising, sales approaches, product literature, distribution and pricing, to seek out and correct any problems before launch. You have only one chance to make a first impression. It is important to validate how messages are internalized and which emotions are evoked when customers experience your offering.