In “The Blind Men and the Elephant” blog, I explored how businesses conduct market research to validate assumptions. In speaking with a number of entrepreneurs who have been through the process of trying to validate an idea, I gained some great insight into what techniques people use. In this blog I want to examine what the purpose of market research really is – in other words what is the end goal.

During discussions with these entrepreneurs (mostly with tech products), I wanted to understand how they validate if there is a market for their product. What I found is that many people just throw a new product out there and attempt to get feedback from users as quickly as possible.

Some of the techniques for conducting market research and collecting customer feedback were:

  • Craigslist ads
  • Website blogs
  • Email surveys
  • Random coffee shop interviews
  • Social media applications (Twitter)
  • Focus groups

A more sophisticated technology company I spoke with created a whole back-end analytics application to capture real-time customer data from users. In contrast, others don’t do any at all.

Naturally, it depends on whether or not the product is meant as a B2B or a B2C concept, as it is often more difficult to conduct market research for a B2B concept. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, it is important to understand the rationale behind market research.

The end goal of market research is to determine if your product can add enough value that it merits it’s own business. Without market research, you won’t know whether your initial vision is grounded in reality. Without a vision, you won’t be able to determine how to conduct market research because you won’t know what to look for in the results.

When designing market research strategies, it is important to understand who the end-user is and how they operate. It is also important to uncover insights that go below the surface, as many users will not be able to articulate what they want. It is a strategic process and one that requires some thought. Once you understand why you are conducting the research in a certain way, you will know what results to look for and how to measure them. Without metrics and insight, market research can be a fruitless exercise that leads to unusable feedback.

At Lumos, we believe that market research is valuable if it is conducted with the right goals in mind. Excessive market research often leads to more confusion than clarity, that’s why we keep it simple and focus on what really matters.

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