Companies introduce new products all the time. Whether those products succeed or fail often depends on the processes that went into their development rather than the usefulness of the products themselves. A profitable (i.e., successful) product is one that reaches consumers in the right place and the right time, as well as satisfies a specific need; the only way to insure such a result is by strategically considering and investigating a market prior to product launch. But, too often, companies form an idea for a product and devise a plan for its launch according to what they think consumers need, an inherently arrogant strategy that only enforces the fact that “they don’t know what they don’t know.” To be truly successful, companies need to start with consumers first and let product ideas develop from there. We suggest the following market research strategies for meaningful and effective product development:
Research the Market
Preliminary market research for a new product doesn’t have to cost much (and frequently doesn’t cost anything). Membership in trade organizations is a good way to expose yourself to events, newsletters and journals that keep you abreast of market trends, and reading secondary market research materials like syndicated market reports, books and municipal, state and federal records can give you an overview of relevant demographic and statistical data. You should also consider what your competition is doing by collecting and reviewing all accessible competitor products and marketing materials. It not only calls attention to the products already available, but it can highlight consumer needs that are going unmet so that you can begin to formulate a plan of your own to address them.
Listen to Consumers
Once you have a general understanding of the market, including its historical progression, key players and possible opportunities and threats, it’s important that you turn to actual consumers. The Internet allows for easy social listening, and it facilitates the retrieval of meaningful demographic information. Monitor social media sites for people mentioning your company. This enables you to track reactions to your offerings and make adjustments to your policies and products as needed. Similarly, you can evaluate consumer engagement through keyword searches and/or the number of clicks on a link to give you insight into the information (and products) that people want and how they are trying to get it. All are affordable and simple ways to gauge consumer interest in your company and products so that you can better create a unique value proposition.
Ask for Information
At this point, you might have uncovered an unmet need and formulated a great idea to address it. Now more intensive and proprietary market research for a new product can begin. Primary market research techniques like surveys, focus groups and interviews allow you to dig deep into customer actions and preferences. Ask for information and seek ways to uncover customer needs so that you can give them what they really want and not what you think they need. Narrowing your focus to your own unique customers and circumstances allows you the opportunity to put your ideas to the test, tweaking them when necessary as you move toward product launch.
Want to Learn More?
Conducting market research for a new product involves lengthy examination of cause and effect and trial and error. It can be a complicated process, but companies don’t have to go it alone. Our team at Communications for Research (CFR) has over two decades experience crafting quality studies that provide actionable data for the most profitable results. We can ensure that the market research you need to craft and launch a successful product is on point and timely, maximizing your budget and your reward. Contact us for more information.
You might also like to download our free eBook, “The 5 Most Common Market Research Mistakes,” for additional tips on making the most of your market research: