Market research is a key factor in determining if a product should be launched or even invested in. For entrepreneurs and small businesses, hiring a marketing firm can be a bit overwhelming and more than what is needed to get a good feeling for the market. Especially for those looking to start a Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other crowdfunding campaign, knowing something about the market is very important. Here are some tips about market research and how you get set yourself up for success before going to the professionals.
Finding similar products – One of the first things, and usually the easiest, is to search for similar products. These products can be found all over, and while it might be tempting to just look at Amazon and the first page of Google, there are many other places products get put, and in niche markets, they are often on their own website, possibly with terrible SEO, that may take a long time for you to find. Make sure you know your niche, see our blog post Defining your Niche – Why it Matters, it’s very important.
What’s a SWOT analysis – You probably have heard of them, and maybe even done one before. But in case you don’t know what one is, it’s a simple exercise in defining what your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are. Strengths can be anything that would gives you a leg up on competition, Weaknesses are areas that could be taken advantage of by your competition, Opportunities are areas that you aren’t the best at, but you can easily improve if focused on, Threats are anything that actively can limit or harm your product success. This puts all your information out in a nice organized way so you know what is a threat, what you can immediately improve, and where you stand in general. This tool can be used for anything, businesses, products, and many other things.
Market Placement Matrix – This is something we include when doing market research for a new product. We pick the two most important ways we can measure a product and divide a space in quarters. Each line represents two ends of a spectrum. For example, we could use Angular & Round, and Expensive and Cheap as the spectrums. This now creates for unique quadrants that we place competitors on, and then see where there are gaps in the market. Maybe all Angular products in this category are cheap, that would mean that Expensive Angular products have little to no competition and could be a good direction to go. It’s a tool that’s used by designers when looking at design options as well but can be used effectively for market analysis.
Can’t Find Competition? – Well, there are a couple reasons that might be happening. One possibility is not looking in the right places, there are more places to look that you might think. Another is that they haven’t released the product yet. Doing a patent search is usually the next place to search if you haven’t seen any public products.
Getting Help – While it can be money savvy to do it yourself at the beginning, don’t be afraid to bring in professional help before you invest. Having a professional opinion is always a good idea before diving into investing, or trying to get investors, on a project. Be smart about who you hire to help you, they probably won’t be able to show you example as these market research is often protected under NDA, but these points here are things you can bring up to make sure they know what they are talking about.
These tips will help you start doing your own market research, and when you are ready to hire a firm to help you, you’ll know some points to go over to know that they are knowledgeable in market research. Keep in mind that you should know if you want in depth marketing research, which usually only comes from marketing firms and can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or you can get something that is shorter, and just goes over the initial points that would help you decide to continue or not. Full market research can turn into a baseline for building a marketing plan for your product, and you don’t need to do that at the start necessarily, especially if you are looking to sell your idea.
We provide only lighter marketing research as we aren’t a full firm, but it is usually plenty for small businesses and smaller. Our Market Briefs contain all the points above, plus some other items that are beneficial for making financial and investment decisions about launching a new product.