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Does the Original Product Idea Always Mean Go-To Market Success?

Lance A. Bettencourt

How important is the quality of the raw (or original) idea to new product success? It seems like a no-brainer to say that it is critically important. Research certainly shows that superior products are more likely to succeed. The problem is, that’s the final product, not the original idea. 

By the time a new product or service concept gets to market, it may not even resemble the original idea. If that’s the case, then design and development would be critically important, but not the original idea. Beyond that, others would contend that what matters most are the marketing resources a company puts behind a product, since even bad ideas can succeed with enough marketing muscle—or so the thinking goes. 

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This is certainly more than just an academic question. If the raw ide​​​a isn’t that important to success, then companies can forgo any rigor in idea screening early in the innovation process. If, on the other hand, the raw idea is an important determinant of success, then most companies would do well to increase the level of rigor and resources they put into testing ideas early in the process. 

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Lance A. Bettencourt is Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Marketing at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, and author of Service Innovation: How to Go from Customer Needs to Breakthrough Services.