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Increasing Customer Understanding for Innovation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrategic Change towards Future Industrial Service Business
EditorsMiia Martinsuo, Olga Perminova-Harikoski, Taija Turunen
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-3640-3
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3639-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


Based on service dominant logic, when companies develop new offerings, they
should increasingly focus on value-in-use – the actualised benefits that their customers gain from their products and services. This requires a very deep understanding of the customer, since it is their subjective perception that determines value at the end of the day. However, many business-to-business (B2B) companies face a situation where there are intermediaries, such as retailers, wholesalers, etc., between them and the consumer in the value chain. This means limited direct interaction between the company and its end-customers and hindered access to consumer information, which
can compromise efficient and effective innovation efforts. Our study addresses this challenge by testing three different methods – interviews, questionnaires and mystery shopping – which B2B companies offering consumer products and services can use to involve the end-customers in development activities. We examine what kind of new information can be gathered using these methods and what should be taken into account when implementing the methods in practice. While all three methods are associated with traditional market research techniques that have received much criticism, our findings show that
they can be very useful in generating good ideas, especially for improving the commercialisation of new offerings and understanding the end-customers’ contexts.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland