Objective research is critically important to assessing the market viability, focusing the development process, and successfully launching a new or upgraded product or service. To maximize your market intelligence, it’s wise to integrate a blend of research tactics throughout the product or service development process.
Upfront Secondary Research: You can cost-effectively conduct this phase of the research in-house. Internet searches as well as web site and trade publication reviews will help you identify and evaluate products or services with comparable characteristics to the one your company is developing. In addition to potential competitors, look across industries and sectors that bear similarities to your situation and dynamics for innovative ideas, best practices, and mistakes to avoid.
Once you’ve selected 10 to 15 products that warrant a focused comparison, structure your research and analysis of them around logical categories. At a minimum, these should include the products’ features/benefits in order of priority, price points, a prioritization of sales messages, how they’re sold into the market, the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing strategies and tactics, the power of the corporate brand behind them, and informed assumptions on costs of the launch as well as ongoing sales and marketing.
Staged Primary Research: After applying lessons learned from the secondary research to the new or enhanced offering concept, it’s time to conduct a primary quantitative study. This will help assess the true viability and potential market size of the new offering before you go too far down the expensive development, marketing, and sales paths. It will also provide crucial input on specific market needs related to the offering, perceived benefits, rankings of competitive products, price points, and more.
Then, once your company is ready to launch its new product or service, focus groups will shed light on how to effectively market it. With this qualitative research tactic, you’ll hear and see potential buyers’ reactions to and opinions of your product positioning, message platform, and ad creative executions. This is an important discovery process, as no matter how strong a new product or service is, it won’t sell without the support of a campaign that resonates in what is likely already a very cluttered and noisy marketplace.
Certainly, integrating a combination of research tactics into the new product or service development and launch processes takes time and money. But, just for a moment, consider the enormous risks of skipping the research”¦..Exactly.