Expert's Panel

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    How do you take your biggest customer's strong suggestion as the initiative to develop an MRS (Market Requirement Statement) when there is no other information available to confirm that the suggestion might represent the technology direction?

  1. If you take this question at face value, the answer is you can't! You have to go get some other information—is there another key customer or two; is there a third party; is there a non-customer where you can find out meaningful information?
  2. If that customer is a leader in the market, you can take it more seriously, but be careful. Leaders in the market tend to ask for more bells and whistles than average. You may build for the leader and the rest of the market won't buy it because it costs too much. On the other hand, history has shown that the leaders lead the way to many innovations that later become industry standard. Pay attention, but shop the ideas.
  3. This sounds like Intel to me. There are a number of vendors around where Intel or another leader represents 50% of their business. That situation is scary and Intel typically has a lot more requirements they are willing to pay for than others in the industry. You have to ask yourself what is your strategy. Are you willing to fill up your facility with Intel's business or do you want to diversify. Your strategy needs to be thought through and the answer you come up with is key.
  4. My previous company has successfully developed products for one or two market leaders where the feature set was designed for them, but set up so it could be system options for others in the market. However, I also want to caution you to be careful. I know of other situations where the designed product could not be sold elsewhere in the market and the vendor went out of business. You as a marketer have the responsibility for getting the input of other customers in the market prior to the decision to design a product.