Every entrepreneur has experienced failure. The crushing disappointment of a much-anticipated launch falling spectacularly flat. After the blood, sweat, and tears of product development, it seems that customers aren’t interested in what you have to offer.
Sometimes, this is the result of an uninspiring product, or a listless marketing campaign or business plan outline. More often it’s merely a case of poor market research. Either there’s not enough demand for your particular product, or you’re approaching consumers from entirely the wrong angle. It’s challenging to grab the attention of potential consumers and investors with over 6 million new businesses popping up every year in the United States alone. How can you avoid this situation without diverting too many development resources into customer research?
IdeaPros, a firm that specializes in working with entrepreneurs to navigate this competitive field. We do this by crafting custom, low-risk opportunities that position businesses for success, details 6 inexpensive market research methods to use in product development:
In this age of social media, it’s seldom difficult to find people expressing opinions online about any topic. Use this to your advantage! Read reviews of your competitors’ products and services. What do customers like about them? Which problems seem to crop up regularly? Are there any obvious gaps in the market? Fill in the missing pieces while taking the best from your competition. You’ll put yourself in a strategic position within your niche.
Keyword researching tools such as Wordstream or Google Keyword Planner is an essential part of marketing. This will help you to tailor your content and SEO to the actual language consumers are using. The same tools can be used to inform product development. Which unexpected terms are appearing within your niche? How could your product be tweaked to address those searches? Are there any significant desires that seem to go unaddressed? How does overall search volume compare to markets with which you’re already familiar?
A database of existing customers is invaluable for direct marketing. You can use this database to improve your future products and services. Michael Corradini is the CEO & Co-Founder of IdeaPros. He recommends asking your most loyal (or lucrative) customers for their opinions on your plans. You can also offer an incentive such as a discount on their next order. “You don’t need to conduct a vast information-gathering exercise, but getting some genuine customer opinions can shed plenty of light on your current development ideas,” stated Corradini.
Surveys are a tried-and-tested way of gathering consumer opinion. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune with a market research agency to benefit from the technique. For a few cents per completion, online services such as SurveyMonkey and Google Consumer Surveys make it easy to present a questionnaire to a highly targeted group of consumers. This is a low price to pay compared to investing much more substantial sums in a misguided development process.
Every industry has experts who regularly comment on current situations and future trends. Many of these commentators are only too happy to share their thoughts in return for a little exposure. If you’re in a position to conduct an interview and publish the results, take the opportunity to pick their brains. Find out which new features they’d like to see and which future directions they expect the market to consider. Of course, any gems you unearth needn’t make the final publication.
Lastly, even the most careful research can become obsolete when it meets the real world. Test the market with a low-budget advertising campaign before committing resources to a full-scale launch. You’ll have a much better idea about the scale of interest in your planned offering.
It takes more than an excellent product to achieve business success. You need to know how to identify your market efficiently.
IdeaPros is a Super Venture Partner™, guiding entrepreneurs with great ideas through the complexities and pitfalls of the startup world. We are set on elevating the success rate of new innovative products and apps, their team leverages their collective experience to create demand among consumers and maximize upside potential for their partners.