Aug 24, 2018 Written by David Barlev

How To Do Customer Research For Your Product Development

Group of 5 Millennials Talking

Though you may not realize it, conducting customer research for your product development is going to be one of the most key elements of the entire product development process. Also known as market research, this kind of investigation is going to be one of your earliest and most important jobs when planning to develop and launch a new product. Understanding the market, the competition, and your customers will be essential if you want to break through the noise and position your business as a leader in a crowded marketplace.

We hear the term market research all the time, but what exactly does this entail? Turns out, there’s a lot more to market research than creeping your competitor’s social accounts and monitoring chatter in online forums.

True market research will include customer research, market research, exploring internal intel, and accounting for external and uncontrollable factors.

market research customer research product development

Today we’re going to explore how to maximize the opportunity during your customer research stage of market research.

Customer Research

There are a few different ways you can conduct customer research for product development.

Ideally, you will have existing customers you can rely on for data. There is no one better to tell you what they need from a new or improved product than the people already using it. You can conduct interviews, surveys, trials, and focus groups. You can find out directly from your people how to make the best possible product to suit their needs. Ensure you’re asking direct, clear questions that will give you the information you’re looking for, but also give your candidates the opportunity to speak freely in case they have feedback or questions you didn’t account for.

But what if you’re a brand new business, with zero customers? It’s a bit trickier, but there is still a way forward. You’re going to start with deciding who your ideal customer is. Create buyer personas and really get into the heads of the people you want to sell to. This is the person you’re going to research. Where do they spend their time? What keeps them up at night?

A very simple and often overlooked method of collecting customer research for product development comes in the form of a landing page. Often part of the pre-launch process, new businesses will create a landing page before they’ve ever created a product. With images or a demo, it’s the easiest way to gauge market demand for your idea. Are people interested in what you’re doing, and eager to get on your waiting list? How much are people willing to pay for what you’re offering, and what are their preferred features? This is all data you can easily collect from a basic landing page.

It’s also important to note here that B2B and B2C market research will often be obtained differently, so take that into account before you begin. In the B2C market, you’re going to have higher volumes of customers to deal with. In B2B, there may be fewer customers and potential hurdles to overcome when the end user is not necessarily the purchase-maker.

Once you have a thorough understanding of who your target customers are and what they want from you, you’re ready to move onto the market research stage. This is where you’ll figure out how much competition there is, get some validation for your idea, and find out what the risk analysis looks like. We’ll cover that in another post!

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