Analogies and Imaginary Consumers: A Case Study of New Product Development, Marketing Science Institute
Marketing Science Institute Working Paper No. 04-122
Posted: 5 Aug 2011 Last revised: 1 Jul 2014
Date Written: 2004
When encountering novel products, people typically use analogies to familiar products to describe or “make sense” of new ones. When cell phones were first introduced, for example, they were compared to land-line phones and walkie-talkies. The areas of product knowledge from which people draw these analogies are known as source domains, from which they draw specific bits of knowledge known as knowledge structures. To shed light on the role of analogical thinking and the use of source domains in new product development, we undertook a qualitative study of the product development and evaluation process for a digital tablet and laptop computer integrated package. We examined how the source domains used by product developers and consumers overlapped or differed - and the implications for the process of translating a new product idea into a commercially viable product.
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