In this two-part presentation with Krista Napier from IDC Canada, Krista shares key information about when and how to conducting mobile market research. Her tips include how to focus a company’s market research to guide future mobile product development. For example, to validate a concept, market research data can be used to determine if there is a demand for the product.
Krista lists the following four reasons to conduct market research:
- Opportunity to make money
- Market Readiness
- Geographic Differences
Is there an opportunity in the market to make money? Searching for opportunities means looking for gaps in the market where customers’ needs or wants are not being met. Your mobile services and products may meet those customer demands, and the customers will be willing to pay for your solutions.
Making sure that there is market readiness for your mobile product. There might be an app you want to build, but the customers were not yet ready to accept. If the market is not equipped to use the technology, then wait for a better time to build it.
Your market research can look at geographic differences. Your mobile product will not suite everyone, so your market research will give you the ability to create a niche within your target market.
Market research can also provide insights to positioning; i.e., how you must position your mobile service relative to other competitors in the market. If there are many competitors in your market or not that many, it might be a question of large or minimal amount of demand.
Krista’s Research Tips
Krista offers two main tips to help with conducting market research: 1) the importance of the quality and quantity of your metrics and 2) the location they came from.
A very important part of market research is to be aware of the quality of the source of the data. Not only the number of respondents, but the quality. The quality of respondents has a strong impact on research results. They need to come from a diverse pool that answered without bias, again with the end goal of having accurate data. Respondents who have already used your app will be biased and should not be used. There needs to be an ample amount of respondents to create an accurate result.
Finally, customers’ data from Canada should not be used to for American market research and vice versa. Being in Canada, it’s better not to assume that US trends can be used cross-geographically. There are different dynamics of vendors and adoption patterns in the US compared to Canada. Using trends from one country for another will skew your strategy for your mobile apps.
Video 1: Market Research Part 1
Video 2: Market Research Part 2
The importance of industry and market research for your business plan with Howard Rosen, CEO of Lifewire
The challenge for any business is to collect the large amounts of research and then be able to condense it into an impressive (but brief!) twenty-five-page business plan. Howard Rosen, the CEO of Lifewire, says that the plan needs to be succinct yet comprehensive and match what you are saying. If it isn’t, the listener will wonder why you don’t just get to the point and “get to the meat” of your business.
The “meat” of course comes from all the research you have done previously. In this two-part video, Howard discusses the importance of collecting research and validating it.
For Howard, it always came down to the basic question “does it work?” He knew he had an excellent idea for mobile health, but the more he talked to people the more he realized “I better make sure this thing works!” People were always asking him to show them the product, to prove it to them, and to match what he was saying by what he was showing them. Research helped him prove his product and prepare to present it in his business plan and to his customers.
Research, Research, Research
The importance of research is to test your idea, to see if and how it works in the real world—not just in your head. Is your idea really that brilliant? You might think it’s an excellent idea, until your research shows that you are wrong. Discovering that your idea might be conflicting with your research is a good thing: it means something has to be changed.
Part of Howard’s research process was to reach out to 3rd parties to help him validate his assumptions about his product. One of the key elements of planning is using 3rd parties that can help you confirm your assumptions and give you direction on how to proceed with your product.
Key Elements to Planning: 3rd Party Validation
- Thought Leaders in the industry
- Professionals (Lawyers, accountants, etc…)
The validation of your idea gives decision makers such as funding bodies a reason to choose you instead of your competitor.
Getting Out There
In the “Knowing Your Market” video, Howard stresses the need to not only know your industry’s market from reports, but also go out to your market’s environment. For him, he went to hospitals, doctor offices, and any place that provided health care. You need to see how your market perceives your industry and its services and to delve deeper into your customers’ true needs. Howard says, “Just because someone says they need something, doesn’t actually mean they need [it], that’s what they perceive they need.” By going into these markets, you test those perceived needs and compared them to the real needs.
Getting out there and testing your product gives you an excellent opportunity to see what changes you need to make. What you think is simple to do, the user might find confusing and difficult. “Knowing how to evolve [your product] for the marketplace and [for] the changing marketplace” becomes an ongoing process in your product development.
It never really ends
Research never really ends. Even when the business plan is written, research continues as you build upon all the knowledge you have accumulated over time. For any new market you enter, a new business plan has to be created, researched, and validated.
Part 1 – Writing out your business plan
Part 2 – Knowing your Market
Blog contributor: Helen Kontozopoulos @helenissocial