Without doubt, given the dynamic environment within which the marketing activity is carried out, there is no gain saying the fact that product innovation occupy a very prime position in the quest to maintain relevance in the market of a modern economy.
Lead users maybe defined as a sample population of a manufacturers intended market, who get to use a new product before it is actually launched in the market and name generally available to every would be user. A very important indicator of the health of a company is its customer satisfaction index. This all important indicator can be known only after a thorough market analysis, which can be achieved when the lead users approach is adopted. The ultimate aim in the mind of manufacturers is to make sales and by extensions make profit considering that more sales is a strong indicator of a company's performance at any given time. Lead users aid market research because it results in systematic gathering, recording and analysis of every data concerning the response of the consumers to the new product. These are the potential customer base of the company and how they react is an indicator of market tendencies and effective business plans can then be created by the manufacturers. The most likely portion of the population to patronize the products are exposed via this approach to market analysis. Further revelations likely to be discovered are probable fine tuning of the product, location of where would-be customers are found, gender, age of people favourably disposed to product and income level factors etc. market research via this method is quite accurate to a large extent in the sense that the consumer here, practically has a voice with which he can influence the decisions of the manufacturing company simply by reacting naturally to the test products. It helps show the characteristics of the target market and also answer such questions related to competitors, market trends, customers need and product rating etc. lead user approach is employed in verifying if indeed there is a market for an idea developed by manufacturer and because the outcome could either mean that growth and success await actual product launch or signal a back-to-drawing-board time. This obviously reduces the risks because of the availability of data and feedback from the customers as represented by the lead users. Vehicle manufacturers are among those who employ this method in their market research. At a very early stage product downsides are discovered and improved upon. A simple example of what market research via lead users can have on a business can be seen in the following: MTN communications, Ltd a south African-Based GSM company won a Bid to roll-out GSM services in a particular country and to effectively achieve this aim the initial approach by the company was to get lead users who tested the quality and coverage of their services for a given period of time. The result of this was that they improved in areas were lapses were discovered and rolled out general services only when a satisfactory level of success had been attained