Managing diffusion barriers when launching new products

K. Talke, Eric Hultink

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In recent years there has been a growing interest in the link between new product launch activities and market success. So far, most empirical research has focused on launch activities that target customer adoption barriers. However, with such a focus the influence of other stakeholders on innovation diffusion is not taken into account. A review of diffusion research and stakeholder theory serves as a basis for discussing the influence of different stakeholder groups such as customers, dealers, suppliers, and competitors on innovation diffusion. Essentially, it is expected that addressing multiple diffusion barriers during new product launch will have a positive impact on market success. The new concept for launch activities addressing multiple diffusion barriers is tested with data on new product launches in industrial markets using a multiple-informant approach. The results lend support to the notion that a successful launch requires activities addressing diffusion barriers related to different stakeholder groups. Specifically, barriers related to customers, suppliers, and stakeholders of the further firm environment need to be lowered during market launch. For the group of competitors, a balanced launch approach including measures to both lowering and erecting entry and diffusion barriers will increase the market success of new products. The subsequent investigation of the influence of technological turbulence, market turbulence, and product complexity on the performance relationships shows that under high uncertainty managing multiple-diffusion barriers is of higher relevance than in more unambiguous, clear-cut contexts. Thus, the results demonstrate that a careful management of diffusion barriers related to multiple stakeholders is a relevant task when launching a new product. The paper concludes with implications for management practice and avenues for future academic research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)537-553
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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