HOW RESEARCH INFORMS MARKET INVENTION
When it comes to the Market Invention process, research is a critical component. It helps to identify existing strengths, dissect what the competition is doing (and not doing), group trends and themes that influencers are discussing, and align mega trends to identify commonalities, challenges, and differentiators that inform unique market opportunities. Fully understanding these aspects allows you to leverage insight, strategy, and experience to pivot out of the legacy market and into a previously untapped space—in other words, create and maintain market dominance.
But how do you solve these problems and redefine the market?
That’s when Market Invention comes into play.
Research informs Market Invention because it helps to discover customer pain. A customer pain is a problem that nobody is solving, or that everybody else has gotten used to living with. Research helps to uncover customer pains by talking to existing and prospective customers. How you facilitate this process is up to you. Some options could be to observe the process of how customers browse a website or use a product, conduct one-on-one interviews, facilitate focus groups, or send out a digital survey. This research helps translate the existing pain into a product, a solution, a service, or a technology by identifying key motivations, wants, and needs.
While it is important to look for your weaknesses, it’s even more valuable to know your strengths. Being able to articulate precisely and clearly how your strengths help the customer’s unaddressed pain allows you to seek opportunities rather than problems and leverage what you are already good at. These strengths also inform brand perception and mission, messaging and story, perceived differentiators and innovation, growth strategy, marketing initiatives, partnerships, perceived opportunities, and any unique challenges or concerns that you face.
Another essential step in the research process is to assess competitor positioning, website experience, social media, key messaging, imagery, and partnerships. If you have a clear enough picture of the real customer pain, identifying what the competition is doing will expose a seemingly obvious disconnect. As you identify the products, messaging, campaigns, or experiences competitors are pursuing, you can start to analyze key trends and themes and discover how to address your market in a way no one else is doing.
The last step of the research phase in the Market Invention process is to identify best practices and related mega trends. This may include assessing solicited market research studies, reputable news and thought leadership articles, and relevant industry publications. It will enable us to gain an understanding of prospective customers’ expectations and needs, as well as market opportunities and best practices to ensure messaging is targeted and differentiated. You may also explore tactics from parallel industries to identify areas for future opportunity, disruption, or novel approaches. Understanding what everyone is focused on inside and outside the industry will allow you to see where the competitors are going and if the industry sees the same pains and opportunities.
For Market Invention to be successful, you cannot skip the research phase. Research guides the entire process and uncovers data points and trends that can direct you to opportunities for Market Invention. By focusing on your strengths, identifying your competition, and discovering related mega trends, your research will help to inform your market invention and develop a viable roadmap to creating a new market.