At what point do you decide to create a new product or just do a reboot 2.0 version of a product
that was successful in the past? To keep your target customers and their insufficiently served
needs in mind, begin on the “problem” by defining what they seek. We all probably wish we had
a magic ball that told us what our customers what, even when they don’t know what they want
themselves. Until that exists, the best thing you can do is do market research. Where is the
market now, where had it been in the past, and where does history repeat itself? Your guiding
star should be achieving that sweet spot where products enable the customer a better way to do
something. When a customer uses a product and it enables a better way of doing something,
so much that they can’t imagine going back to the old way, that is called disruptive innovation.
The key is to leverage market research insights to streamline business strategies and increase
revenue.

Market-driven organizations outperform their rivals. They rely on their ability to sense the
market and relate to it. Knowing the market, doing the research gives you the ability to
anticipate your competitors moves, meet your customer’s needs before they know them, and
sense opportunities. The value you can provide when you know the market, is beyond any
price point. Market research is the action of gathering information about the consumer’s needs
and preferences. Depending on your field, there may be reports generated to see quarterly,
yearly statistics to review, or you may need to poll your clients / people independently. Unlike
Google and other tech companies, you may not be able to track a customers every move with
Artificial Intelligence (AI) to gather client information and think forward. Companies that have
been around for years, may be able to start analyzing customer data and use basic AI to see
customer behavior and buying patterns. A new business with little data gathered, say under 5
years in business, may need to set up data collection processes and start tracking this data with
AI systems.
Manually tracking customer

data has its disadvantages as well. People make bad decisions for
reasons that made sense in earlier historic eras. They fail to see the economic and societal
changes based on evolution. They make calculated guesses without the outside factors that tie
into decision making. But one advantage, for example, having your clients complete a
questionnaire for a free offer, will give you data you can use and start to implement change right
away. Over time you can see how behavior will affect change, but initially you can make small
steps to create the next product.

To avoid making a bad decision or a poor judgement for the wrong reasons, test any thing you
do beforehand. Testing a product to your current clients helps you to see the value proposition
it offers before you go and market it to new potential clients. Test it for clarity, relevance, and
remove any distractions. You could position it as a very discounted price to your current clients,
so they can see it and review it for feedback before it goes live to the masses outside of your
sphere. Testing a product with your current group of clients, can generate great ideas,
especially those who are innovators and set on new trends. They also can give feed back to
where the market is going. Its a perspective you can dive into and make the final decision on
your own. An often forgotten facet of customer testing is the seeking of continual customer
feedback during development.

New product development is expensive. It is important to identify and correct any weakness in
your business’ marketing resources or message, that could have a negative impact with new
potential clients upon the product launch. It is also a strong reason why market research is as
important as it is. It saves you time and energy that you cannot get back. Having your current
clients have a look to help avoid these mistakes is worth it. The downside, be sure this process
does not take too long, and affect your “go to market” deadline.

If you are a business looking to transform your business in the long run, now is the time to
create your AI systems. It is not the easiest to integrate, but it will be the transformation you
want to see for your business in the years to come. Many businesses are using AI to automate
routine tasks, detecting fraud, and developing algorithms for customer expectations. AI simply
uses technology to complete tasks that humans can do quickly, or compartmentalize large
amounts of data to identify patterns. Companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple have been
using it for decades. What is great, is small companies can incorporate it to an extent to help
understand their market and customer needs / wants. The sooner you start collecting data in
your business, the sooner you can get started. The best way, is to maybe start within a
department, and within an internal project. The pros and cons of this are great, but its very
beneficial to any business looking to add enormous customer value in the long run. From
products and services, most business would be running differently if they had more details of
their customers. People learn primarily through time and experience. Technology speeds up
that learning process.

The definition of knowledge is information put into productive use by people. When you have
the knowledge, you can make the best decisions for your business, including new products.
About one-third of new product launches fail due to poor market research and deficient product
launch efforts. Businesses that are the most likely to succeed in the development and launch of
new products are those that are driven by business objectives and strategies empowered by
client data. Companies that frequency conduct research have seen revenue increases year
over year.

One thing to also remember, the customer wont always know what they want. A favorite quote
of mine comes from Henry Ford when he created the automobile, “If you had asked people what
they wanted, they would have said they wanted a faster horse”. Don’t let market research
hinder innovation, but be one of the tools in your tool box to create it. At the end of the day, a
business should not make a decision about new products or any business change without
knowing the market in and out. The more knowledge you have, the more power you have to
make the best decisions for your business today and for the future.