The paper focuses specifically on the product development process and the importance of consumer research in getting product design requirements right. The paper demonstrates application of two generic methods of converting qualitative consumer research data into objectively quantifiable data – primarily for the purpose of creating a product design brief. The tools used include thematic analysis and qualitative comparative analysis. The application of each is set against the backdrop of a recent product development project for timber cladding (as used in the Australian housing industry). A key aspect of the example is how the two separate research tools are used in a harmonious way to distil raw qualitative data into more succinct criteria for product development purposes. The paper concludes that the methodology is suited to situations where mass customisation is required – especially where trying to change a product from being crafted onsite to a more advanced systems approach. It is also a suitable for obtaining a holistic view of consumer needs.