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The difference between good product plans, product ideas and business cases from ones that are doomed to failure can often “be traced back to whether they were based on solid groundwork – researching the market, analysing the options and making the right decisions.” The folks at Product Focus took a look at the overall market analysis process and where you fit in as a product manager or product marketer. (via @ProductFocus)
You could spend months or even years building and marketing a new product. That’s why investing a few hours in competitive research can yield long-term rewards for you and your organization — if you can determine early on how your product adds value. You need to know what differentiates your product from others in the market. The best way to do that is to research and assess everyone else in your market. The folks at Aha explain what competitive research is and how to go about it. (via @aha_io)
When you create a digital product from scratch, you want as smooth a ride as possible. Doing the right research at the right time will help smooth out the bumps, but in order to decide which way to go to avoid those bumps, you have to understand the difference between market research or user research. Dan Jecan explains how to distinguish between market research and user research, what characteristics distinguish both types, and how to combine the two to make sure you get the right information at the right time. (via @uxstudio)
“The most successful and fastest-growing companies today strive to gain a deep understanding of their customers and build products that meet their needs. Market research plays a critical role in this by providing insights on marketplace dynamics and identifying opportunities for growth.” In this episode of This is Product Management podcast, Gregg Archibald and Leonard Murphy share what you need to know about market research and how you can collaborate more effectively with researchers. (via @GreenBook, @tipmpodcast)
Market research is a core skill used by almost every product manager. The folks at 280Group define market research as “the way in which Product Managers gather information about customer needs and market drivers” and explain that “if you want to gather information from actual customers to make a decision, then you need to understand and use market research.” via @the280group)
You can gather great customer feedback from a survey and leverage that information to improve your product by using a few simple tricks of the trade.
Julie Anne Reda has outlined three methods for product managers to conduct Market Research. The first of which many will be familiar with — the ‘What Framework’. This unstructured method involves the Product Manager spending time digging into research papers, blog posts and Google to build a lengthy and often misguided report. A better method is to conduct a SWOT analysis of your market which will help you understand how you are positioned with respect to your competition. However, this is only useful if you have an established product/company to analyze. Better still is to use the ‘5 and 6 Forces Model’ which helps you look at key forces that shape a business strategy. This will allow you to assess things like bargaining power of customers and suppliers and the threat of new entrants and substitute products.
Although probably more acceptable in a startup than in a large company, there are some ‘quick and dirty’ ways to get the insights you need. Ellie Fields and Teresa Torres list a few — focus groups with people found on Craigslist (need a weird person filter for this one), online surveys, usability tests for product prototypes, and customer interviews. The practice of Customer Development can also be employed to iteratively validate problems and solutions and how they relate to specific customers (finding product/market fit).
The ‘problem’ with Market Research is that can be at odds with what a Product Manager believes to be true. There are several ways that Product Managers can misuse Market Research when the insights don’t square up with their beliefs. These include shares Jeff Lash; structuring research so that there is only one outcome, ignoring contradictory parts of the research and finding other research that refutes the research that you have on the table.