Relevance of Blank’s Customer Development Model in Selected Cases of Market-Oriented R&D Commercialization in Malaysia
Steve Blank’s Customer Development Model (CDM) was used to assess several acknowledged cases of successful R&D commercialization in Malaysia. Some aspects of Phase A (Customer Discovery) of CDM where hypotheses were developed, tested and verified in the field with prospective customers and the feedback was then used to qualify the business model, were adopted by the cases. Successful cases also implemented key features of Phase B (Customer Validation) by developing value propositions that were qualified by early customers and these were then used to drive sales. Product and company positioning were also developed and effectively communicated to target audience at this phase. None of the cases qualified the market type for their products or technologies by means of market-type questionnaire as recommended for Phase C (Customer Creation) of CDM. However, all the cases did implement some other aspects of Phase 3, i.e. (1) developing marketing & sales communication strategies to support company & product positioning during launch of company & product; and (2) demand creation strategies. Two of the cases have reached Phase D (Company Building) by going after mainstream customers and having functional departments to manage sales growth. The iterative nature of the processes for Phases A & B of CDM was found to be applicable in all the cases.