12 Tools for Market Research

New product development is a risk-reward decision-making process based on information, data, and knowledge.

The potential cost of failure increases significantly (due to bad decisions) as new product development moves toward the final market.

As new product development progresses, there is an increasing need for high-quality, reliable information.

The selection and application of market research tools are critical at different stages of the new product development process. Market research provides the foundational information for making sound decisions in the new product development process, thus reducing uncertainty in the process.

【Information to be acquired in new product development decisions】

In recent years, the voice of the customer (VOC) has become a buzzword and has been applied in various methods to capture the needs and feedback of users. Only by having a good understanding of customer needs can we meet or even exceed customer expectations.

【Market research method for obtaining information】

In order to customer demand information, it is necessary to use a certain method to conduct market research, guide consumers to go through a series of scenarios, and conduct structured in-depth interviews to extract the process of customer demand.

Through indirect investigation, understand how consumers meet their needs and why they choose a solution to ultimately determine consumer needs.

  1. Secondary market research

According to the way of information collection, market research methods can be divided into two basic categories: primary research and secondary research. Primary market research is directed to market and user information gathering for the specific needs of the company. Secondary market research is secondary research conducted using the research results or relevant data provided by others.

The value of secondary market research is primarily in the early stages of a project, when general background information is sought to better judge the direction of the market and product. Based on the information in the past research of other individuals, groups or institutions, it can provide trend information (market, technology, demographics, policies, etc.), competition analysis, patent information, etc., to lay the foundation for conducting primary market research.

Because secondary market research has the advantages of short collection time, low cost, and wide data sources, it is widely used in market segmentation, market analysis and new product development processes, especially for information that does not need to be used for high-risk or high-cost decision-making. scene. Of course, secondary market research also has its own shortcomings, such as lack of specific focus, uncertainty in the accuracy and reliability of data; data is often out of date, etc. Therefore, primary market research is still very necessary.

2. Focus group

Focus group, that is, the focus group interview method. Generally, a group of 8-12 consumers or customers with a homogeneity is selected, in the form of small symposium, and the conversation is guided by a trained professional moderator in an unstructured and natural form, so as to obtain a good understanding of the situation. In-depth understanding of the problem.

The role of focus group interviews is to dig deeper into poorly understood research questions:

to quickly understand customer impressions of a product, program, service, etc.;

to diagnose new programs, services, products (eg, development, packaging) or advertising by sparking discussions of potential problems;

collect general background information on research topics, form research hypotheses;

understand the opinions and attitudes of group interview participants towards specific phenomena or issues, collect data for the design of questionnaires, survey tools or other research tools used in comparative research, etc. .

Complements the analysis of large-scale, quantitative surveys.

Group focus interviews can be used to collect further data after quantitative surveys and help to more fully interpret quantitative findings.

  1. Customer site visit

Customer site visit is a qualitative market research method to reveal customer needs. Go to the customer’s work site, observe how the customer uses the product function to solve the problem, and record what the customer did, why he did it, what problems the customer encountered when using the product, and how the solution was effective.

At the customer visit site, face-to-face communication can provide more information, especially when the visit is with the consent of the customer; often can see the use of the product, observe the advantages and disadvantages of the product first-hand, and can directly communicate with the customer and discuss what improvements should be made. Customer site visits are particularly useful for product managers involved in the development of new products, asking questions and observations to gain insight into the needs of customers “beyond current products” and understand how to translate customer needs into product design specifications.

  1. Ethnographic market research

Ethnographic methods are mainly used in marketing to conduct field research on consumers or observe consumer behavior over a long period of time. The researcher observes the client and the environment in the field to gain a deep understanding of their lifestyle or cultural environment, thereby gaining basic information about the client’s needs and problems. An ethnographic researcher “wears the same shoes as the customer” to truly understand the needs that a new product should satisfy.

The advantage of the ethnographic market research method is the depth of knowledge that can be obtained. Ethnography helps companies understand multiple aspects of consumers, including cultural trends, lifestyles, attitudes, and how social circumstances influence their choice and use of products. Unlike focus group methods, ethnography uses a variety of technological approaches to paint a complete picture of consumers and present how products and services are integrated into everyday life.

  1. Social Media

Social media is a great way to gather information about what people are doing and thinking, both for individuals and businesses. As one of the primary carriers of Internet interaction, social media and large social platforms have hundreds of millions of active users every month, providing a medium for market research to interact with customers.

Because social media can gather a large amount of user information, and can also collect user feedback on something or a certain experience, it is an excellent tool for user research, especially for ordinary people, daily content surveys. Through social media, you can have direct, instant connections with existing and potential markets, even with a certain type of customer, and have the opportunity to interact with loyal “supporters” or “lead users” to complete the product. Continuous testing of designs, proposing product improvements that make the product more acceptable, continuous development of ideas, and input into the product design process.

  1. Questionnaire

Questionnaire is a common tool used by people to collect data in social investigation and research activities. It refers to the method of collecting data by formulating detailed and thorough questionnaires and asking respondents to answer accordingly. A questionnaire is a form of questions related to research objectives and prepared to conduct a survey. With this tool, researchers can accurately and specifically measure the process of social activities, and apply sociological statistical methods for quantitative description and analysis to obtain the required survey data.

  1. Consumer Monitoring Group

Consumer testing groups are selected groups of consumers recruited by research companies and institutions to participate in and provide feedback on product testing, taste testing, or other specific research questions. Generally, the quantitative evaluation of the specific attributes of the product is completed by the consumer testing group, and the formula product is tested. In some industries, such as the food and cosmetic industries, where instrumental measurements are not available or provide the required information, consumer testing teams are required to measure sensory attributes provided by the product, changes in product characteristics due to formulation or process changes Giving “objective” evaluations to understand consumer preferences for products provides valuable input for new product evaluation, feature design, and functional design.

As a sample group with specialized knowledge rather than a representative sample of the general public, consumer panels are particularly suitable for short-term rapid surveys. If the company carefully selects a few creative lead users and then works closely with them, the company can expect more creative new product ideas.

  1. Product use testing

Alpha, beta, and gamma testing are the main market research methods used in the software industry to test new products during the development process and on the eve of their launch. This approach provides detailed feedback from customers after using the product.

  1. Market testing (trial marketing)

In order to observe consumer reaction to the product, a new product is introduced into one or more limited areas in a strictly controlled manner. Different ad targeting or product pricing can be compared across multiple geographies.

  1. Multivariate Analysis

Multivariate analysis explores the relationship between an outcome variable (also called a dependent variable) and one or more predictor variables (also called independent variables). Multivariate analysis methods provide the possibility to gain insight into the deep-level needs of customers.

Most multivariate analysis methods suitable for product development require users to have good statistical knowledge and may require professional help during use.

• Factor Analysis

• Cluster Analysis

• Multidimensional Scaling Analysis

• Conjoint Analysis

• Multiple Regression Analysis

  1. Crowdsourcing

In recent years, computers and social media have opened up new paths for market research in product development, including mid-package and big data. Crowdsourcing is a tool for obtaining information from a large pool of other people’s solutions and using it for a specific task or project. The service can be paid or unpaid, usually via the Internet. Many companies and organizations use their own websites as a crowdsourcing channel.

  1. Big Data

Big data has been around for a long time as the practice of collecting and storing large amounts of information for analysis. The concept was broadcast in the early 2000s, when industry analyst Doug Laney proposed the definition of big data:

• Volume: Organizations collect data from a variety of sources, including transactional businesses, social media, and information from sensors or data between machines. Storing this data used to be difficult, but new technologies have solved this problem (such as distributed computing).

• Velocity: Data, transmitted at unexpected speeds, needs to be processed in a timely manner. REID tags, sensors and smart measurements can process massive amounts of data in near real-time to meet demand.

• Variety: Data comes in a variety of formats – from structured digital data in traditional databases to unstructured text files, e-mail, video, audio, stock transaction data, and financial transactions.

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