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

See all articles by Steve Hoeffler

Steve Hoeffler

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

José Antonio Rosa

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Business Administration

William J. Qualls

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Business Administration

Jonathan D. Bohlmann

North Carolina State University

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Hoeffler, Steve and Rosa, José Antonio and Qualls, William J. and Bohlmann, Jonathan D., Analogies and Imaginary Consumers: A Case Study of New Product Development, Marketing Science Institute (2004). Marketing Science Institute Working Paper No. 04-122. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1905545

Steve Hoeffler (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

José Antonio Rosa

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Business Administration ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
110 David Kinley, MC 706
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-5160 (Phone)
217-244-7969 (Fax)

William J. Qualls

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Business Administration ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Jonathan D. Bohlmann

North Carolina State University ( email )

Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States

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