When we'd like to innovate especially in a saturated market, then it's pivotal to understand the DNA of the market. It's as if you want to rent a spot in a crowded Bazaar, you don't want to just pick a location without research. You want to know which areas are still undervalued or untapped. The last thing you want to do is to start your business where there’s the traffic of competitors.
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When we start an innovation project by leveraging our 4-WEEK Design Thinking Process (Read about our process here).
There are key questions to be addressed by which we can paint a complete picture of the overall market activities.
Questions such as:
1. Does the need for our product exist?2. How big is the market cap?3. What are the active competing products?4. Do they each have a market share?5. What key features or Unique Selling Points (USPs) of each competitor?6. How is the content being produced in this market? Are they actively using key trends or hashtags?7. What are the key consumer trends and concerns?8. What cultural trends that we need to pay attention to?9. And what key technological trends are going to affect and disrupt the market?
As you can see these questions are not directly related to the target users’ mental models and how currently they use these applications. These questions aim to map out the complete Market Genome including all its META attributes — trends and use cases.
Market research is equal to having a bird's eye view of a landscape. From that view, you can detect which area has the most density of trees, which area is near the water, and which area is close to the mountains.
In nutshell, When we conduct Market Research for innovation projects, what we do is to:
✅ Look at the Meta trends
☑️ Seek large scale data (quaNtitative)
✅ Focus on what people want as opposed to what is useful to them
☑️ Segment the insights by use cases and trends
HERE'S OUR STEP BY STEP PROCESS
1. IDENTIFY MARKET SIZE AND COMPETITORS
You can identify the market cap by identifying the top player and look at their evaluation upon their last raised investment. You want to identify all the key players as well as the most promising underdogs.
2. KEY FEATURES PER COMPETITOR
Then you want to break down all the core features that each competitor delivers to the users or brand themselves with.
3. SWOT ANALYSIS OF EACH COMPETITOR
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Then you want to zoom out and look at the entire business of each competitor and try to answer these questions
a. How's the UX of the app?
b. How's their rating on the app stores?
c. How active are they on different social media channels?
d. What's the core message of the brand?
e. What's the core marketing Strategy?
f. How's their relationship with the users? Do they get a lot of negative reviews?
g. What are the key differentiating aspects of their business model?
H. How do their feature list stand out as opposed to the other competitors?
J. Do they hire? What’s their headcount? How many developers they have in their team?
K. Do they emphasize on delivering an exceptional UX?
4. IDENTIFYING THE KEY GOOGLE TRENDS
This is so essential because it gives you so many insights of what's trendy within the Google ecosystem i.e. search and youtube
For example, with a quick search, I can find out so much about what's trendy in the German Fitness industry.
5. COMPETITORS MAPPING
At this point, it's time to map out the competitors based on the four most important factors you identified in the previous steps. These factors can be
a) all features that the competitors offer
b) a combination of the features + the current trends in the market
c) all the current trends in the market
Depending on the previous research, you must conclude what are the top four key factors.
This exercise provides you with an overview that’s rare to find. It offers you where in the market, there’s already huge traffic and fierce competition. It reveals sweet spots in the market that’s overlooked by others.
6. TALK TO EXPERTS OF THE INDUSTRY
Till now, we just wrestled with what's available on the internet. Most of the content you find on the internet reflects upon the past except the keywords/hashtags analysis.
At this point, we switch the channel and try to capture more real-time data. The first step is to speak to experts in the industry. When it comes to fitness, the experts are journalists, fitness coaches who work with different apps, fitness studio coaches, and Instagram influencers.
The experts are more involved in day-to-day changes in the industry. Tapping into their knowledge, experience and wisdom can generate invaluable insights.
7. TALK TO THE REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE COMPETITORS (OPTIONAL)
You can always reach out to the competitors and speak to them. Their insights are often detailed and hands-on. They reflect upon the struggles and opportunities of the market. What's worthier than that?
The caveat is that in case you reach out to a direct competitor, and then your app breaks out in the market, they might use the conversation against you. Be Careful with whom you talk to.
8. CONDUCT SURVEY
So far you've been the receiver of the information i.e. fetching information from different channels. This is the crucial part of our process where we pull up the sleeves and run experiments.
By now, we've become experts on the topic. We know enough about it to have legitimate curiosity and pose interesting questions about why things work as it is.
A survey is a great tool that you can directly fetch insights from the market. And that's powerful. We focus on all our questions and ask the market the most important ones.
For general purpose survey, the clear winner is Google Survey
9. CONDUCT EXPERIMENTS
This is our most favorite part of the market research especially when it comes to the market validation of our ideas. There it comes a time that you want to validate your business idea with the market.
No market validation = No new business
If the market doesn't validate your idea, it doesn't want it regardless of how much investment you poured into the project RIP Google Glass
The whole game here is to conduct quick yet effective experiments and get to market validation. In a nutshell, you want to fake your business and put it in front of the audience. See whether they're willing to give you their information voluntarily in the form of following you on Instagram. Giving you their personal information, depositing your money, offering you consultation, and etc. Look at this video, it sums it up.
One of the most common experiments is to create facade pages (i.e. landing pages) and pour traffic into it.
But there are other ways by which you can get to the market validation. Here are some:
1. Old good Flyers in a neighborhood
2. Locate a prototype of the product in your brick and mortar shop and see how many people stop and test the product
3. Landing pages
4. IG Profiles and see how much new engagement you can create a within a defined timeline 2 weeks — This is to test new brands and so on
We hope you find this article insightful. In case you'd like to share your feedback or have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org