The ability to manage existing assets and capabilities (exploitation) and the development of new capabilities (exploration) are arguably among the most relevant new product success factors. However, while exploitation-related capabilities are based on certainties regarding the efficiency of a company, exploration-related capabilities require the analysis of new technologies and processes. In existing literature, there is a gap concerning the trade-off between the exploitation and exploration of competences. Based on the theoretical background of Resource Based Theory, Dynamic Capabilities Theory and Discovery and Creation Theory, a model is proposed to analyze this gap. In this study, which examines 197 manufacturing organizations, we build on the dualities of the two types of competences and their impact on speed-to-market and market performance. The findings indicate that the choice between exploitation and exploration depends on the goals of new product development. While exploitation increases product objective quality, exploration enhances product innovativeness to the firm. Furthermore, we found that both exploitation and exploration constitute important success factors when it comes to launching new products. Finally, moderate effects of competitive intensity and market turbulence are also examined. High levels of market turbulence improve the results of exploitation, while low levels of competitiveness may encourage exploration.