Jacob Goldenberg

The Primacy of the Idea Itself as a Predictor of New Product Success

Coauthor(s): Donald Lehmann, David Mazursky.


For most firms, successful new product introductions are rare, and failed products represent substantial monetary loss, particularly at the market launch stage. Unfortunately, the ability to reliably predict successes/failures early in the new product development process remains an elusive goal.

Previous research has suggested a number of factors that drive new product performance including strategy, development process, and organizational, environmental, and market factors. However, the new product idea itself, and the unique product configuration implied by the idea, have received little attention.

In this study, authors Goldenberg, Lehmann, and Mazursky propose a framework for early analysis of new products based on the success potential embodied in the product idea and on the circumstances that exist at the stage of idea formulation.

They develop a taxonomy of determinants that relate to the idea behind product development. These fall broadly into three categories: (1) the newness of the product (with respect to the market, the firm, and the level of technology employed), (2) the source of the idea behind the development process (e.g., need spotting, solution spotting), and (3) the product offering (e.g., trend/gimmick, need addressing, economical).

In addition, they suggest that affiliation with one of five templates—basic structures of successful innovations—predicts product success. They apply this typology to a sample of 197 product introductions.

Source: MSI Working Paper, Report No. 99–110
Exact Citation:
Goldenberg, Jacob, Donald Lehmann, and David Mazursky. "The Primacy of the Idea Itself as a Predictor of New Product Success." MSI Working Paper, Report No. 99–110, Marketing Science Institute, 1999.
Date: 1999