Marketing research is what makes this process more effective, and we are going to explain why it is important in a moment. Great product ideas do not automatically make for a successful product. That is why conducting market research is one of the most crucial steps when the need for new product development arises. This is true whether one is developing electronic devices or other consumer products. It makes sure that one does not only launch a quality product but one that people will find useful.

Now that we know how important market research is, it needs to be done correctly if one is to get actionable data. Here are a few tips one can use when conducting market research so it turns out successful.

What are one is trying to achieve with your market research? Defining your objectives is perhaps one of the most important steps. You need to sit down with your team to find out what questions you want the data to answer. Those answers will become your objectives. Once you know what you are looking for, you can determine the data you need in order to achieve your objectives.

Before one spends any time or money on the product idea development, they need to make sure there is a market for the end solution. This is done through design research of existing products on the market and near future launches.

Vital information about the market needs to be gathered to help position the product to be developed, take advantage of opportunities, and gain a competitive edge. The best way to do this is to go directly and talk to the consumers using information gathering techniques like surveys, questionnaires and design focus groups.

When one decides to take on every aspect of their idea alone, there is a chance you can end up being overwhelmed. While being the jack of all trades means you get to enjoy a greater cut of the profits, it is impractical with the demands of modern life. Where possible, try to work with professionals that can ease the work, carry out engineering design, get the product manufactured. This can often be a contract manufacturer as well.

But before we get to that, let us talk a little more about market research so the concept sinks in.

Market research is the process of gathering people from a target demographic in order to garner their thoughts and opinions on a particular topic. For instance, if a company is in the process of developing a product for chefs, they would need to gather some chefs together and ascertain their thoughts and opinions about their product idea. The information they gather from the group of chefs will inform every decision they make as they develop the new product, whether the decision concerns the product design, prototype, packaging and even advertising.

With a good product in mind, the designer must now prove the product feasibility of the idea before skipping on to production. Product feasibility ensures the designer develops a product the customers will be willing to pay for. There are a number of ways in which a designer can validate their product ideas such as:

  • Sending online surveys to get feedback on the idea
  • Using a crowdfunding campaign
  • Asking for feedback on the idea from online platforms
  • Researching online customer demands
  • Creating a “coming soon” page to size the public interest through email opt-ins or pre-orders

Whichever way the designer decides to validate the idea, it is vital to get feedback from a substantial and unbiased audience as to whether they would purchase the product. Validation should also involve a competitive analysis. If the idea has the potential to be brought to life, competitors are likely working on the same idea.

The designer needs to take the time to plan before they can move on to making a prototype. It is easy for a designer to get lost if they do not have a concrete idea of what their product will look like or work.

The first step in planning is drawing a sketch of what the designer wants the product to look like. The drawing should be as detailed as possible, showing labels explaining the features and functions of various parts.  The designer uses the sketch to list the various components or materials they will need to bring the idea to life.

Go to market plan

The designer must consider the packaging, labels, and the quality of the materials to be used before they continue to sourcing and costing. These will have an impact on how the company markets the product to their target market.

Determine needed data

What data do you need from the market research? You can only answer this question after you know the reasons why you are conducting market research. It could be that you want customer data so that you determine their needs or whether they think you have a good product design. You could even want competitor data so you can anticipate their next move and give yourself a bigger competitive edge. Before you get your product manufactured, you need to know what the market is like. To that end, you need to get your hands on the latest reports and acquaint yourself with them.

Conduct field research

When it comes to going out into the field, there is a wide range of data gathering methods you can use. You have surveys, interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and even direct observation. Since there is no one method that suits every type of market research, it is impractical to recommend one over the other. You can use one or several at once – it all depends on your needs.

If you do not want to go through the hustle of doing the market research yourself, the best option is to hire an agency to do it on your behalf. A market research agency is more experienced and has the time to conduct a thorough private study that will give you actionable data. Of course, this all depends if your budget allows it. If it does, find agencies that specialise in your industry and work with them.

Showing a prototype to your target consumers and getting feedback is a great way to avoid costly mistakes. Your product might have an issue that might seem small to you but huge in the eyes of your consumers. Also, not only can customers point out mistakes in the prototype, but they can also point out opportunities that you can seize to make the product better and gain a competitive advantage.

So whether you are trying to develop a new product or service, market research plays a pivotal role in ensuring its success on local, national and global markets. Since your main goal is to deliver value to the customers in your target demographic, market research can offer insights into their thoughts and opinions, making it an invaluable process that should not be overlooked or underestimated.

Act on results

Market research doesn’t just take time to conduct, it also takes money. It would be a complete waste to not act on the results once you have them. This requires an accurate interpretation of the data, which will provide you with actionable insights that help you identify opportunities. You can even hire an outside party to interpret the data for you to eliminate any bias.

Keep it going

Market research is an ongoing activity; it is not a once and done deal. Why? Because the market environment is dynamic; customer needs evolve, new players come in or new technology can cause a disruption. This means what is suitable for the market today in regards to your product might not be the case tomorrow as you continually get your product manufactured.

The need for new product development is a good thing. It is not only a chance to find a new revenue stream but also solves people’s real-world problems. However, there are steps that can not be missed before the product is launched, one of the most important steps being market research. With the tips outlined above, your market research efforts can prove successful.

Market research benefits

One way of knowing the importance of something is by looking at the benefits it provides. The good thing about market research is that it has some very good new product development-specific benefits that can impact the success of a product in a major way. Here are a few of them.

What do your target consumers think about your product idea? Does it meet their needs? These answers can be answered by conducting market research. If you go around guessing what consumers need, the end result is that you may come up with a product no one has any use for.

Competitive edge

If you do not conduct market research, you might launch a product or service only to find that the market is flooded with similar offerings. When you conduct market research, you are able to incorporate ideas into your product design that will distinguish it from others in the market.

It can also help you examine similar products and services in your target market that is not doing well or have failed in order to avoid mistakes that have the potential to doom your offering to a similar fate. How much are consumers willing to pay for a product like yours? Again, guesswork can only land you in trouble here. People always have price expectations, and marketing research helps determine what those are.

Competitive analysis

Conducting a competitive analysis is a crucial aspect of product development, and it should not be overlooked. People usually think that once they know what their competition is offering, they know all they need to know about their competitors, but it goes much deeper than that. Conducting a competitive analysis is about truly getting to know your competitors; their offerings, strategies, strengths and weaknesses. Once you research the competition, you will know what they do, how they do it and why they do it in that particular way.

As mentioned earlier, the main reason for conducting a competitive analysis is to get a competitive edge over your competition. This means that you can use the information you have gained from the research to make your own product or service outshine the competition.

When it comes to new product development, researching the competition is a great way to get ahead and stay ahead in the local, national and global markets. On top of that, conducting a competitive analysis is  also a good strategy for scaling your business without having to fear the competition. This is why doing it right is crucial to the growth of your business. Here are five tips that can you help when performing a  competitive analysis.

Researching your competition is a great way to learn about your target niche. In fact, it can actually enhance your very own market research, which is another important aspect of product development. Based on what you have uncovered about your competitors, you might find that some of the information can actually be of use to you as well. For example, your competition might use a specific supplier that provides high-quality and affordable standard components, and you can also benefit a lot from using that same supplier.

The internet has a lot of information about your competitors that you can use to learn what mistakes they have made and how to avoid them. Not only will you be able to avoid their mistakes, but you can also leverage them to push your product ahead of theirs. For example, if customers keep complaining that your competitor’s product does not perform a particularly crucial function they need, all you have to do to get ahead is provide them with that functionality and they will prefer your offering instead.

When you know what works for your competition, you can try to do something similar. This does not mean copying what your competition is doing step by step, as this would be plagiarising their approach, which is wrong. Just copy the idea behind what they are doing and give it your own spin. For example, if your competitor is offering a free eBook with their purchase that will help customers make the most of their product, perhaps you can try offering free video tutorials on the same.

Now that you know the importance of carrying out competitive analysis, you will not skip this important step when developing a new product or service. Doing this will give you insights that will help you make a product or service that has the potential to outsell and outlast the competition. In fact, after the competitive analysis is complete, there is a high chance that the competition will not frighten you anymore.

Every company has competition – businesses who sell the same products or services as them and take their potential customers – whether on local, national or international markets. That is why it is a good idea to come up with a list of competitors so you know who you are dealing with. Sometimes there may be a hundred companies that you need to deal with, but a much practical approach would be to list down your top ten competitors and focus on them instead.

Look Them Up on the Internet.  This is where your investigative skills come in handy. This means going on the internet and looking at their website and social media pages, as well as seeing what people are saying about them on business review websites. The internet is also full of useful tools, such as Google Alerts, that enable you to keep tabs on your competitors.

When your competitor is hosting a conference or trade show, attending it is a great way to see what they are offering and get a glimpse of their overall strategy for the market. At these events, your competition will be boasting about their greatest products and services, giving you an opportunity to gather some first-hand knowledge you can use to your advantage.

When you are in or planning to enter an emerging market, there is a high chance that new players can come in and steal your potential or current customers. So always be on the lookout for new businesses. Also, do not just restrict your definition of new players to startups only because even old companies that were previously selling their products and services in other markets can shift gears and enter yours, becoming the new players in this scenario.

Conducting a competitive analysis is a great way to develop a product that outshines the competition or reveal opportunities as they present themselves on the local, national and global markets. Any business that wants to get ahead, stay ahead and expand should seriously consider scoping out the competition by performing a competitive analysis.

Become Their Customer to gain insights into your own business or the product you are developing depending on the good and bad things you learn from them. This goes beyond merely just buying from them, but actually interacting with them to see what type of service they provide to customers. Since you are researching your competition, do not be afraid to bombard them with questions and take note of important insights.

Focus on innovation

Most business owners think that in order to be successful, they need to create a product or service that is completely new. But, In fact, all they need to do to create a successful business that sells their product or service locally, nationally or globally, they just need to innovate. Simply put: to innovate means to come up with a new way of doing something.

Innovation is about modifying an existing product or service in order to make it better than its original version. Innovation is a crucial component of business success. And once you understand what role it plays towards making your business more successful, it will become a no-brainer.

Whether on local, national or global markets, there is a saturation of businesses selling the same product and service to consumers. This means competition is stiff and the more customers can separate your product from the rest, the bett
r your chances of surviving and becoming profitable are. That is where innovation comes in. You can look at existing products or services on the market and find a way to make them unique so they provide more value to the customer when compared to similar products. By making sure you provide customers with something that your competitors are not, your business will stand out and become more profitable.

Whether your business is big or small, due to the advancement of globalisation, access to global markets has become easier through the years. If you look at the businesses in your area, you will most likely find Chinese and Indian vendors selling to the very same customers you are trying to sell to. This means you can also sell your product and service on global markets as well; just like the Chinese and Indian businesses in your backyard are doing. But in order for your business to survive and remain profitable in global markets, you need to provide customers with something innovative.

From the moment you come up with your product design, prototype and all the way to the finished product, the goal is to meet the needs of your consumers. But the problem is that consumers are not static entities, meaning their needs evolve over time. The best way to ensure that you are always meeting these expectations is to be innovative. Your business must be able to predict these ever-changing expectations and improve your product or service. If you sell the same product or service without noticing the needs of your customer have evolved, your business will be stagnant and will eventually be forgotten.

When you focus on innovation you are able to grow your business. This means you are able to take on more customers and hire more people to work on your next best product design or prototype. Whether you are a big business or just starting out, by innovating, you can grow beyond your wildest expectations. In fact, according to an innovation survey conducted by Deloitte, 60% of the respondents said innovation is important to business growth. So if you want to scale up your business, be innovative.

As you can see, innovation is not about coming up with product design or prototype or service from scratch. It is about improving what is already there and making your business more profitable, whether you are targeting local, national or global markets. By looking at the above-mentioned roles that innovation can play towards making your business more successful, every serious business owner should give it some consideration.

Editorial Team

By Editorial Team

Editorial Team refers to guides written by more than one team member covering a variety of topics.