8.2 Forecasting the Market
While many technologies directly affect the choices available to the ultimate consumer, many others are further removed and reside in the supply chain that develops, delivers, and services products. The primary market for some technologies is business; for others it may be governments, and for still others hospitals or educational institutions. To forecast the size and growth of a market for a new technology, it is important to know who the customer is going to be. For example, if the innovation is a medical device used to improve a surgical procedure, is the customer the patient, the surgeon, the hospital, or some other party? Actually, the real customer in such cases may be the insurance companies that decide whether or not it will be paid for. Forecasting the market means identifying the decision-making customers, determining how much they will pay, understanding how many there will be, and knowing how much they will buy over time.
8.2.1 The Consumer/Customer Marketplace
Consumers are virtually overwhelmed with choices. This is true both of the individuals who are generally thought of as the targets of new products and services, and of the decision makers who act as customers within the businesses that produce those products and services. Actually, new technologies are more often targeted at producers rather than at ultimate consumers. However, customers' behavior has similarities whether they are buying a new technology for themselves or acting as ...