Editor’s note: Gina Derickson is VP of research and consulting at Lillian Labs.

It’s easy for organizations to fall into the trap of siloing market research. But to fully realize the benefits of market research in new product development (NPD), it needs to span across teams and all respective stages of development. 

A critical part of my job is to educate my clients (in this case, product marketing and management teams) on how market research can be used and where it can be used for maximum benefit. 

To do so, it’s important to use familiar language and tools. So, I developed a riff on a tool familiar to product marketing and management teams, the pragmatic marketing framework. NPD teams use the framework to map out the essential activities needed to build and market products people want to buy. This version of the framework calls out the types of qualitative research we can use to inform and benefit every step of the way through the NPD process – from exploration through launch. 

Keen observers will notice that throughout every stage of this new framework, consumers/customers are included in the key questions that need to be addressed. This is not by accident. It’s imperative for teams to stay engaged with their customers every step of the way and capture the true voice of the customer to inform every key decision point.

In my interactions with clients, most quickly grasp the value of market research to optimize concept development, from idea generation to development and testing/optimization, and into forecasting models (in the pragmatic marketing framework, this is the ideation and refinement stages). But what is often overlooked or undervalued is using market research during the exploration and launch portions of the process. 

During exploration, the goal is to identify the market problem by understanding the competitive landscape. Often, the focus is on the competition that is...