How To Gather Market Research

Let’s face it, 90% of ideas are bound to fail. You think it is a great idea and rush to build it, but do you have any idea if people agree with you or not? And by people I don’t mean your friends and family that cannot face telling you the ugly truth because they “love you too much”. I mean the potential customers, the people who you think will love your product. My suggestion, don’t do it without some market research. User Research is often overlooked or missed because of tight budgets or lack of knowledge. This is actually a crucial step at the beginning of a project which could save you money in the long run. You have a great idea – now what? No point asking friends and family as they will obviously agree with the idea, but is it actually an idea worth pursuing? User research gives you an outsider’s view of whether the problem you are trying to fix is actually worth fixing. How big is this problem? Would people be willing to spend money on it in order to fix it? These are all questions which would provide the information that will eventually shape the product and lead to you creating something that people are really interested in and willing to use. Imagine you are launching your “perfect product” to then discover you looked at it in the completely wrong way, it doesn’t meet the needs of your target audience, and you have to start again.

So how do you start market research?

Research your market

There is nothing worse than asking the wrong people – you wouldn’t ask a fisherman about property development, and you wouldn’t ask a property developer how to catch fish. Make sure you research your target audience in order to get the most relevant answers.

Find the right people

The best way to determine whether they are the right people to talk to, is to create screening questions. This is a list of questions with multiple choice answers. Some of the answers are what you are looking for, some are not. This gives people the freedom of answering what they think, other than the answer you want to hear. It also means that you can send it to as many people as possible, whether that means circulating it with Facebook, twitter or other social media, or emailing the questions directly to friends and family. market research

Here is an example:
If you need people who frequently post on Facebook ask:

Which is your favourite social media channel?
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest

How often do you post on your favourite social media channel?
Every day
Once a week
Once a month
Rarely
Never
Research your market

There is nothing worse than asking the wrong people – you wouldn’t ask a fisherman about property development, and you wouldn’t ask a property developer how to catch fish. Make sure you research your target audience in order to get the most relevant answers.

Be selective

Once you collect all of your data, you can filter through the answers to find the people who are within your target market. Make sure that you only select people who tick all the requirements that you set out for your target audience. It is better to have fewer people who are genuinely interested in your product, than a large pool of contacts who might not add any value.

Interview

Now that you have your selected few, the next step is to invite them for an interview or to be part of a focus group. Often you will have to offer an incentive for people to take the time to meet you – this can be cash, amazon vouchers or freebies depending on your budget. It is advised that someone other than yourself lead the interview. This will avoid you being too involved and interpreting people’s opinion. Think carefully about the questions you are going to ask – avoid asking leading questions or quantitative questions. Try to focus more on behaviours and routines, rather than opinions and encourage conversation.

Analyse the result

Make sure all the findings are documented and ready to be analysed. Divide the data into categories and make sure you focus on the data relevant to your goals. If all goes well you will have the answers to: What do people need? What do people want? Will they use it?

Keep an open mind

It is very easy to interpret the answers the way you want to hear it. Bending the truth and ignoring alarming signals. Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes instead of thinking you know all the answers. Remember, you might be on the peak of a mountain not knowing that there is a higher mountain right next to you. At this point you will have a better understanding of how to create your “perfect product” and enough knowledge to improve on your original idea to build a product that people will need, want and invest in. If you wanna dive into this more, we’d recommend taking this Researching User Needs course on TreeHouse.


Code & Wander is a digital agency in London that focuses on building digital products for startups and brands.

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