University of Southern California

Lan Luo
Making New Products Successful
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The domain of my research is in the important field of new product development. Within this domain, I focus on developing quantitative models to enhance the market potential of new product launches, advancing our understanding of consumers’ product preferences, and investigating the impact of new product introductions on the marketplace.

“The vast majority of new products fail”. This is a quote from the professor of my first marketing class when I was attending college years ago in China. Today, I still remember of how astonished I was upon learning that, even though millions of dollars are spent on research and development, new products often times do not succeed in the marketplace.

Ever since then, I have often asked myself: “What can we do about making new products more successful?” In today’s competitive marketplace, companies that design successful new products are more likely to flourish than those that do not. As a researcher at a world class university, I have the privilege of spending numerous hours thinking about how to model important marketing phenomena in new product design and how to develop empirical generalizations that are useful for managers.

Within this context, I have been particularly fascinated with the exploration of answers to the following questions: How to develop new products in channel structures characterized by a powerful retailer? How to best integrate marketing and engineering decisions in a product design? How to incorporate consumers’ subjective perceptions into their product evaluations? What are the effects of sequential new product introductions on the dynamic movement of brand equity? I have devoted my past few years at USC reflecting on these questions.

In today’s business world, evolving consumer preferences, intensifying competition, and advancing technologies drive firms to frequently launch new products. The ever-changing marketplace also presents firms with new opportunities as well as new challenges in developing successful new products. Therefore, my research is never done. In the future, I intend to continue the examination of consumers’ product evaluation/consumption decisions and firms’ new product design decisions in greater depth.

Besides research, I also love teaching and mentoring students at USC. I am fortunate to share my knowledge of marketing to a group of extremely bright students who are highly motivated to excel in the business world. I am extremely delighted that I have made a difference in my students’ professional development. Frequently students come to me to discuss how my class has inspired them to pursue certain career paths, excel in job interviews, land internships/full- time jobs, or admissions to graduate programs. This brings me more pleasure than any teaching award.

Overall, working at USC has been a highly fulfilling and satisfying experience for me. When I was attending my marketing introductory class in China years ago, I never imagined that I would have the privilege to devote my entire career to the research of new product development at a world class university like USC. I am also very fortunate to start my post-graduate career at a nurturing institution that provides me with great opportunities and supportive environments to pursue my career inspirations. I look forward to continually contributing to the research and teaching missions of the school.

Professor Lan Luo's personal homepage can be found here.