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From Fuzzy to Focused
How to Interpret & Translate Customer Insights into Innovative New Products

September 26-28, 2005 / Boston, MA


Voice of the Customer Goes
Hi-Tech on the Web

How to Elicit the “Truth” About What Customers Prefer and Why They Select the Products They Choose

Ely Dahan
Assistant Professor of Marketing

"Dahan enabled us to understand how demand for our products and
service is constructed, and make decisions based on this"
- G. Greathouse

Professor Dahan will provide an overview of two novel internet based methods to evaluate new product features and full concepts. The first method employs stock market games to measure the underlying preferences of the “traders” and the second utilizes recent breakthroughs that solve large combinatorial problems to identify underlying customer decision processes.

These methods and their results will be compared to more traditional methods of determining customer wants and needs, including surveys, focus groups, concept tests, and conjoint studies.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Learn new methods to more efficiently and cost effectively gain customer insights on new product ideas

  • Gain a better understanding of how customers rank product features, what’s involved in their process of elimination and how (and at what point) they make key trade-off decisions

  • How to apply these concepts and methodologies to your own VOC program

Ely Dahan, is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he was awarded the Dean George Robbins Teaching Prize in 2004. He came to UCLA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research focuses on internet-based market research methods, adaptive conjoint analysis, securities trading of concepts, mass customization, models of new product prototyping, and the economics of cost reduction. Research by Dahan and his colleagues has recognition, including the 2004 AMA EXPLOR Award for most innovative web-based market research, the 2003 John D.C. Little Award for best Marketing paper in Marketing Science or Management Science, and the 2001 Hustad Award for best paper in the Journal of Product Innovation Management.

"Mind-expanding content and ideas. Worth the entire cost of the program. Dahan had an excellent rapport with the audience."
- O. Williams

"The Future of Marketing" the excerpt...


Gaining Competitive Advantage
By Leveraging User Innovation Communities

Eric von Hippel
Professor & Head of the Innovation Entrepreneurship Group
MIT Sloan School of Management

Attendees of the conference will receive a FREE copy of Eric von Hippel's latest book, Democratizing Innovation

[More Info]

Users that innovate tend to form communities and freely reveal the innovations they develop. Companies ranging from car manufacturers to electronic game manufacturers are learning how they can work together with these communities for mutual advantage.

Prof. von Hippel will examine multiple strategies and approaches that companies such as Harley Davidson, GE, Statacorp, LEGO, Linux and others are taking to react and benefit from user innovation communities. His talk will specifically explore how these companies successfully:

  • Create mass-market user customization communities

  • Encourage customization, maintain community and create strong brands

  • Create community links to easily add user developed innovations to their standard offerings

  • Integrate user developed innovations into commercial products on a regular basis

  • Enlist user communities to assist with product support

  • React and respond to user communities that cannot be controlled

Professor Eric von Hippel is Head of the Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research is focused on the sources of and economics of innovation. von Hippel has developed methods that enable firms to rapidly and efficiently create breakthrough new products and services by building on information gained from innovating lead users. These Lead User methods have been found valuable by many leading-edge companies worldwide. In his new book, Democratizing Innovation (MIT Press, April 2005), von Hippel discusses the latest work in this field.

"Democratizing Innovation: The Evolving Phenomenon of User Innovation" the excerpt...


Going From “Like to Love”

  Marriott International, Inc.

Marriott is expanding its market leadership and preference by building upon its business foundation of operational excellence and loyalty with its experience mission to engage the guests on a deeper, more meaningful emotional level.

This new strategic direction is grounded on deeper consumer insights including taking a psychographic versus demographic approach to the business, leveraging behavioral insights, and a sweeping economic segmentation of lodging. Many different guest methodologies were used including voice of the customer, behavior observations, qualitative and quantitative custom research, and ongoing guest tracking and quality assurance systems.

The expected business results are stronger market share, stronger pricing capabilities, long-term stakeholder loyalty, and a sustainable competitive advantage that cannot be easily copied. Desired take-away from this session are observations about:

  • The power of creating a corporate strategic direction by linking and integrating multiple guest and business driven insights and processes;

  • Getting past the obvious and getting to business strategies that resonate with the guest’s fundamental core values (“consumers can’t always say what they need; people don’t always do what they say; and people don’t always do what they are supposed to do”)

  • Creating a guest based blueprint for each brand from the insights and translating that into product and service innovations.


Available Mon-Fri 
9:30am-5pm est

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