How to go about doing market research


2

We are looking at developing a new product but want to get the market research right first up.

It's a time keeping application with some secret sauce.

We have brain stormed a range of vertical markets, taken educated guesses at what features they may want but we realize we are simply starting to make IT up.

I know this is where most tech based startups get to before going.back to the fun bit of building it.

So to start with, what are the key considerations/next steps we should take before diving into the coding side again?

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asked Jan 22 '12 at 10:49
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Robin Vessey
8,394 points
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2 Answers


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Here are some ideas for how you can conduct some market research:

  • Put up some Google Adwords on Google and track leads. Gather information from these leads in a contact form and speak with them directly to gather more information about what kinds of problems your up and coming product could solve.
  • Build a prototype that highlights the features you believe separate you from the competition. Put it out there as a free beta product and see how your potential customers use it. The goal is to get it out there fast. It should work reasonably well and be free of major bugs, but don't try to focus on every single feature. The goal of the prototype is to see if there is interest in your product. Find friends or other colleagues to use your product to help get feedback.

These ideas are things you can do quickly, without investing a lot of time and money. The results will help you either refine your ideas or decide to call it quits.

answered Jan 22 '12 at 12:40
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James Mortensen
363 points
  • Thanks for the suggestions but I was looking for how to tackle the market research before starting development. Based on what we discover I expect to change the offer/focus to best suit the market... Not the other way around – Robin Vessey 7 years ago
  • I believe the best market research involves getting something tangible into the hands of your customers. I was going to suggest surveys and questionnaires. However, in my experience they are severely biased, especially if your product is as ground-breaking as you believe it to be. In my experience, it's difficult for most people to picture how something can benefit them without seeing how it works and using it for themselves. Think of it this way, you don't want 50 people to tell you your idea is great only to find out later that they don't need or really want it after all. :) – James Mortensen 7 years ago
  • I agree with you that people don't understand until they use it, we will be doing the early market trial thing ASAP, as you suggest, but I'm asking about "before letting techies go mad building something" what can we do to better identify a market THUS pick the most appropriate feature set and design the brochure site suitably – Robin Vessey 7 years ago
  • @Robin - In my experience your product will change so drastically that, even after you do market research, you may very well find that your product morphs into something completely different than what you originally envisioned. Apple's Steve Jobs once said that customers don't know what they want until you give it to them. If this is true, and from my experience, it is, then you might be best building some sort of prototype. With that said, if you are *really* insistent on not coding, at least get a good designer to cut a Photoshop design for you so others can at least visualize your idea. :) – James Mortensen 7 years ago
  • we have a range of balsamiqs and Photoshop mockups, plus ideas from previous versions etc ... We have been running this app and tweaking it internally for about 8 years now. We just decided to make it a commercial application and want to go from "our use case" to "proper marketing plan". – Robin Vessey 7 years ago

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Google insight and trends is a worthwhile tool to check and verify atleast a part of your ideas before you spend money on market research.

If a product is not searched, then I think in majority of the cases it is not required for the market.

answered Jan 22 '12 at 16:36
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Muthu
159 points
  • This is a fair point except where you have a new take on a problem ... As Steve Jobs said don't ask. Customers what they want... The searches are only showing the limits of the current thinking ... Not the market research for the future of the product. – Robin Vessey 7 years ago
  • @Robin - I think you hit the nail on the head. How will one search for something they don't know exists? How many people searched for "smartphones" before the first smartphone was being designed by Apple? While Google Insights is a great tool (+1 BTW to Muthu), you must consider that if people are searching for it, then others are probably working on your idea too. Then you must ask yourself if your idea is really that revolutionary. What type of competition will you be facing. How will *your* product be different from your competitors. – James Mortensen 7 years ago
  • I actually differ here. I feel humble whenever I speak to a customer because there are lot of products which the customers want but we cannot give. It could be because of several reasons. For example a customer wants a simple piece of software for all mobile phones (including old ones), there is a customer who want to monitor the pressure his mechanical nitrogen gas tank using software and a lot more. If I really go into the market and listen, there are a lot, but I am unable to suggest or do a solution for cost reasons or knowledge reasons. And sure that customer would have done some search. – Muthu 7 years ago

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