Knowing Your Market – a Lesson in Primary Research

Are you a budding entrepreneur looking to do more customer discovery? Do you want to learn more about what your customers are screaming for and what they don’t want? Primary research is an exceptional way of being able to learn insights into the way a product could behave in a market before even launching it. We caught up with a few students in AEM 3249: Entrepreneurial Marketing and Strategy, who are working on their mock start-up as a part of their class to learn more about what their primary research has been like, what their discoveries have been, and what this does to their product now.

surveyProfessor Deb Streeter believes that customer discovery has to be one of the most crucial parts of how a product is developed. Guest speaker Dave Weinstein of HomeKeepr explained that the single most important thing a startup should do is make sure that its target market is specific to the particular solution a company offers, and the time and money that can be spent on following the wrong customers can be very hard to recover. Shaibyaa Rajbhandari ‘18 hosted interviews with industry experts that provided her with insights about how her mock startup idea should be more streamlined. She says that the advice really helped her cut costs of development and saved her time. Maddie Roglich ‘18 and Marvin Rodriguez ‘18 are working on a project that is relevant to college students. They conducted focus groups to understand what the end user might want from their particular product and how they could develop something that applies well to these needs. By directly being in contact with their target audience, they have been able to solidify their plan with the feedback they have received. It has helped them broaden their perspectives beyond their own personal experiences. Similarly, Nishanth Galla ‘18 realized that the product that he had been developing so far was not something that the customers were looking for, and by conducting primary research, he pivoted his product from an Augmented Reality application to a 3-D modeling application.

In general, Professor Streeter emphasizes that primary research is not only important when the product is being developed, but also important as feedback once something has been launched. While it would be fortuitous to have a successful product without any customer discovery, most companies now need to involve themselves with the customers’ preferences to stay relevant.

Read more about why primary research and feedback mechanisms are crucial for any company in this article by Forbes.