Video Case 1 3M’s Post-It Flag Highlighter: Extending the Concept! “I didn’t go out to students and ask, ‘What are your needs, or what are your wants?’” 3M inventor David Windorski explains to a class of college students. “And even if I did ask, they probably wouldn’t say, ‘Put flags inside a highlighter.’” So Windorski turned the classic textbook approach to marketing on its head. That classic approach—as you saw earlier in Chapter 1—says to start with needs and wants of potential customers and then develop the product. But sometimes new-product development runs in the opposite direction: Start with a new product idea—such as personal computers—and then see if there is a market. This is really what Windorski did, using a lot of marketing research along the way after he developed the concept of the Post-it ® Flag Highlighter. EARLY MARKETING RESEARCH David Windorski initially talked to a team of local college students to try to understand how they study, take notes and prepare for exams. He then spent several years working with clay and wood models, a sawed-in-half highlighter, and finally a computer-generated model using the latest laser technology. During this new-product development process, Windorski and 3M did a lot of marketing research on students. Some was unconventional, while other research was quite traditional. For example, students were asked to dump the contents of their backpacks on the table and to explain what they carried around and then to react to some early highlighter models. Also, several times six or seven students were interviewed together and observed by 3M researchers from behind a one-way mirror—the focus group technique discussed later in Chapter 8. Other students were interviewed individually. And when early working models of the Post-it ® Flag Highlighter finally existed, several hundred were produced and given to students to use for a month. Their reactions were captured on
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