Consumer product managers may want to rethink how they test new product ideas, thanks to study from MIT.
Testing products before rolling them out often involves finding that rarified group of elite consumers who set trends, influence friends and family and blaze a trail for the next megapopular, pure gold, mass-market product. Come up with a product they like, the theory goes, and they'll spread the word.
But what if you could find that ideal shopper's polar opposite? A consumer with such narrow, eclectic tastes that the new ideas they're drawn to consistently turn out to be products shunned by the mass market. Think diehard fans of Diet Crystal Pepsi. Or McDonald's Arch Deluxe.