From Idea to Prototype: Market Research

From Idea to Prototype: Market Research
May 16, 2018 Prime Engineering

“Failure to do market research before you begin a business venture or during its operation is like driving a car from Texas to New York without a map or street signs.”
William Bill of Wealth Design Group LLC.

A lot of our clients have worked in their industry for quite some time and have thought of some incredible innovations to improve their job or the equipment they work with. While having an idea is fantastic, you need to know that it will have a place in the market (this is where market research comes in) and can be made to the highest standard (this is where we, Prime Engineering, come in). But before we get ahead of ourselves and start talking about how epic the prototyping process is and how we are industry-leaders in engineering, let’s first talk about market research…

Market Research

Market research somewhere somehow got this reputation for being ‘boring’ and a ‘time-kill’. We encourage you to lose those connotations about market research (immediately if possible).

Market research is VITAL to the success and continued success of your innovation. According to The Balance, you should be conducting market research in every stage of your product lifecycle and we wholeheartedly agree with them! Are you thinking ‘what?! How could I possibly do a market research report for every stage?’ this is for you:

  • Market research in the innovation stage for establishing needs.
  • Market research in the introduction stage for stimulating product take-up.
  • Market research in the growth stage for improving product performance.
  • Market research in the maturity/decline stages for determining the future.

Establishing Needs

To keep with the From idea to prototype: How to turn your idea into profit theme, we are just focusing on the innovation stage. So why do you need to use market research to establish needs?

Studies have shown that 90% of innovations start in the wrong direction due to poor (or non-existent) market research. Why would you want to work hard, and dedicate X-amount of money to an innovation just to send it down the wrong path? Do not leave your innovation’s success up to chance. As digital innovation legend, Dan Zarrella says “marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.”

Market research not only identifies opportunities and lowers risk of failure, it is also vital to unleashing opportunities you may have not even seen.

Getting The Job Done

Okay, so we are now at a consensus that market research is pretty important, but how do you go about getting it done?

There are two keys forms of market research, primary or secondary. Primary market research involves reaching out to potential customers/stakeholders personally and collecting findings.

Types of primary research:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups (sampling of potential consumers)

Secondary market research involves studying information and resources ‘second hand’ regarding consumer and industry trends.

Types of secondary research:

  • Journal articles
  • Research papers
  • Statistics (e.g. Bureau of Statistics)
  • Web searches

Creating Your Report

When you break it down, market research reports really aren’t that scary. Just make sure to include:

Industry/Market Environment

  • Business regulations
  • Market demographics
  • Market size and trends
  • Marketing channels
  • Market sociographics

Customer Profile

  • Customer demographics
  • Social and lifestyle trends
  • Needs and expectations
  • Attitudes towards you and your competitors

Competitor Profile

  • Current turnover and market share
  • Pricing structures
  • Products and services
  • Marketing, advertising and branding

The Queensland Government has put together an easy-to-follow Market Research Kit and we definitely recommend looking through their Market and Customer Research resources. The Australian Government site also has a vast supply of resources for you in your market research journey.

Top ‘must nots’ in market research

If you follow the guidelines in the section above, there should be no reason to fear market research. The best thing to do is get as much information possible to see ‘the big picture’. In saying that, Entrepreneur listed some serious ‘must nots’ when conducting market research. You must not:

  • Use only secondary research – you want to get the full picture.
  • Use only web resources – extreme accuracy is key, and can we really believe everything on the first page of Google?
  • Survey only the people you know – chances are they think like you/hopefully they aren’t your only potential consumers. Go outside your familiar box and interview a wide range of potential consumers.

If you want to know more about market research or turning your idea into a prototype, contact us. At Prime Engineering, we are leaders in innovation and engineering with access to the latest news/trends and best equipment in the market. Would you want to create your innovation with anyone less than the best?

For more about the From Idea to Prototype: How to Turn Your Idea Into Profit process check out:

Step One – Have that lightbulb moment
Step Two – Research & Develop
Step Three – Patenting
Step Four – Finding Investors (or money)
Step Six – Manufacture A Prototype