Relationship value and new product development success
Interest in the connection between new product development and relationship marketing has grown in the recent years. The technical side of new product development has been heavily researched in the last few decades, while very little attention has been given to the customers’ contribution to its success. This contribution is based on customer characteristics and the intangible relationship value that they possess. The aim of this thesis is to report on the research examining how intangible relationship value and characteristics of customers influence the success of new product development.
This research is based on the statistical analyses of data collected from a sample of manufacturing industries in New Zealand. The focus of this study is on business-to-business situations. Results of this study indicate that some of the characteristics of involved customers predict the new product development success better than the others, and that the dimensions of human value to seller predict new product development success better than the dimensions of structural value to seller. Therefore, conscious and careful selection of cooperative customers based on the stronger characteristics and dimensions of intangible relationship value can increase the chance for successful new product. The findings of this study indicate which factors should be prioritised, and encourages managers involved in new product development to understand their customers better, in order to develop effective and valuable relationships.
Based on the existing literature related to those three main constructs, this thesis has presented a conceptual model that will allow exploration of how customers should be selected based on their characteristics, and how the intangible relationship value can increase the success of new product development. This study utilizes research presented by Gruner and Homburg (2000) on characteristics of involved customers, research by Baxter and Matear (2004) on intangible relationship value, and that of Baxter (2007b) on new product development success. The analysis of the data from a survey of the New Zealand market (using discriminant analysis, cluster analysis, and exploratory factor analysis techniques) tests the scales developed for each of three main constructs and answers questions that have not been answered by the existing literature.