How Jetboil leveraged MESH01 to bring another game-changing stove system to market

The Challenge:

Jetboil needed to better understand a market opportunity among its diverse backpacking and camping customers for an even lighter high-performance stove system.

Jetboil is an innovative outdoor gear company that makes compact and portable cooking systems for backcountry life. In analyzing their market research, they identified a possible opportunity – customers were looking for a high-performance stove system with drastically decreased weight to make it easier to pack and carry on backpacking and camping trips. Reducing the weight of its already light stove system design would take some work, so Jetboil needed to validate the opportunity and nail down the directional details before embarking on developing this product innovation.

Challenge Analysis

Creating an Innovative New Backpacking Stove to Fit Customer Needs

Jetboil has become a trusted name in backpacking and camping cooking systems because of its ability to innovate and exceed customer needs. In conducting another round of customer research, the company identified the desire for a lighter stove system.

Jetboil’s go-to stove system, the Flash, weighs 13 ounces, and the idea of drastically reducing that weight while maintaining the stove’s compact system design and efficient functionality at first seemed like a pipe dream. To validate the product engineering zand design work it would take to make it happen, Jetboil wanted to first ensure there was a solid market need.

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“When I kicked off the project with our engineers, they laughed in my face…”

…telling me there’s no way that will ever happen because our flux-ring technology alone is half the weight. But through product development and field testing, we were able to get a 7.1-ounce stove.”

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Sara Lawhead

Senior Brand and Product Manager at Jetboil
(Source: Outside Business Journal)

The MESH01 Solution:

The MESH01 platform and vast tester community put premarket Voice of the Customer insights at Jetboil’s fingertips from concept to launch, with concept and product testing.

Using the MESH01 concept and product testing platform, Jetboil was able to gain key insights right away to validate their new product opportunity and help inform development of the lightweight stove system. Leveraging the MESH01 community of more than 40,000 testers, Jetboil was able to identify testers in its exact target market as well as adjacent customer personas, distribute concept testing surveys to test the initial idea, and test the product prototype with individuals closely aligned with its target audience.

In the concept phase, the MESH01 testers provided valuable feedback to Jetboil that included validation of the product opportunity, expanded knowledge of the target market customers, product positioning details, and even pricing ranges. In the product testing phase, the MESH01 testers used the stove in the conditions it was intended, and provided critical insights about the stove system’s performance to help Jetboil fine-tune functionality and design.

Solution Analysis

The Concept and Product Testing Approach that Enabled Jetboil to Continue to Deliver Innovation

Jetboil used the MESH01 platform for both concept testing – validating the market opportunity and target customer personas, and product features/benefits – and product testing – gaining valuable feedback from real users about the product’s performance in real-world scenarios. Our platform made it easy and efficient for Jetboil to collect insights and apply them to the product development process.

1. Validating the Concept with the Right Customers

Jetboil leveraged our more than 40,000 testers to distribute concept testing surveys to target-customer backpackers identified within our tester community. These survey responses provided insights into some key details to guide product development:

  • Validation of the target market: Are we targeting the right audience? Is our audience wider or narrower than we realize?
  • Validation of the product positioning: What are our target audience’s mindsets and behaviors that can inform our product positioning?
  • Key features and benefits: What features and functionality would satisfy the target audience’s needs and drive purchase decisions?
  • Pricing expectations: What would people be willing to pay for a lightweight stove system? product development:

Once the survey feedback was analyzed, Jetboil had a wealth of valuable insights to apply to the product development process:

  • Target Market: While Jetboil was initially targeting lightweight backpackers, the surveys identified additional information about its audience, expanding the segments to include casual backpackers in addition to ultralight backpackers.
  • Positioning: Jetboil obtained insights into the behaviors and mindsets of each of its target audience segments; for example, the ultra lightweight backpacker was most interested in the stove’s reduced weight, while casual hikers were less sensitive to the weight and packability, but expressed a high level of interest in the stove concept overall.
  • Features and benefits: Feedback indicated that weight is the most important factor, but small packed size and ease of use/fast heating were also key factors.
  • Pricing expectations: Jetboil learned that it’s target audience would expect to pay $129 for a lighter-weight stove system that managed to achieve all the features and benefits defined in the concept.

Armed with its concept survey feedback to validate its market opportunity, target-customer audience, and product development direction, Jetboil was ready to begin problemsolving how to create the lightest-weight backpacking stove and test that prototype with the right people.

2. Getting a Stove Prototype into the Right Hands for Real-World Product Testing

Jetboil had set a target weight for its lightweight stove system of 6 ounces, a whopping 7 ounces lighter than the 13-ounce Flash. The revamped stove system wound up weighing 7.1 ounces – still a drastically lighter product – and it maintained the flux-ring technology for boil and fuel efficiency, and the space-saving nesting design customers love about Jetboil products. It was time to get the super lightweight stove system into the hands of real users and put it to the test. Jetboil was able to identify individuals within MESH01’s community of more than 40,000 testers who most closely aligned with their target customers. Testers included certified mountain guides, hikers, climbers, and ultralight backpackers, all of whom took the stove on backcountry hiking and camping trips – exactly the environments to put it through the paces.

Through the MESH01 platform, testers can quickly and easily provide ongoing feedback to Jetboil about their experience with the stove. Some of the primary feedback included:

  • Compact/easy to pack/”tight” design
  • Lightweight
  • Sleek design
  • Easy to use/heats quickly
  • Fuel efficient

By putting the stove in real-world scenarios with testers who used it the way it was intended, the product testing phase provided Jetboil with additional, deeper insights and critical validation. The company also benefited from use cases and user-generated content that would inform product positioning and marketing.

“Initial sell-in immediately exceeded all forecasts. To date, we have exceeded 135% of sale revenue target since launching in Feb”

Sara Lawhead

Senior Brand and Product Manager at Jetboil
(Source: Outside Business Journal)

Average Customer Ratings

Overall: 5/5
Quality of Product: 5/5
Value of Product: 4.5/5

“The best all-in-one kitchen of 2021”
Backpacker Magazine

3. Lighting up the Backpacking Stove Market for Backpackers Everywhere

The value of the concept and product testing phases can be found in the great success Jetboil had following the launch of the 7.1 ounce Stash stove system.

At its initial launch, the Stash had sold out beyond the company’s forecasted sales number, exceeding 135% of the sales target since launching in February 2021. The product gained a 4.7 star rating online across jetboil.com and REI. The Stash was also featured on the cover of Backpacker Magazine’s 2021 gear guide issue, which was a huge boon for the product’s already impressive sales.

With the help of MESH01, Jetboil was able to not only validate the need for a super lightweight stove system and confirm target customer persona segments, but also inform product development and test the product with real customers using it the way it was intended to ensure the launched product exceeded expectations. When your product reflects the voice of your target customer, your launch will be more successful and will only reinforce the value of your brand in your customers’ lives.

Launch your next winning product with the validation of MESH01- powered concept and product testing behind you.

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