Does your product or idea have a place in the existing commercial landscape? How do you know what features and functionality are most important to your target customers?
A key part of the development process is to take the lay of the land and evaluate the factors that will determine whether a product thrives or fails in the marketplace. This involves exploring market trends, delving into the demographics and preferences of the intended user, tracking the performance of any possible competitors, and pinpointing any unique features that might set the proposed design apart from the pack.
Surveys, focus groups, and first hand observation can help narrow down the qualities consumers most value, improving your chances of developing a product they will respond to favorably. In the end, no one knows what your customer wants more than they do, which is why SPARK wants to understand their behavior and habits.
Whether you are launching a new business or refining your current product line, it is important to determine what sets you apart from your competitors. Every product has competition in some form, and SPARK can help you determine how your product can stand out.
Concept testing involves presenting variations of your product to potential customers or stakeholders in a clear and descriptive way. This allows you to gain insight into whether there is interest in your concept, what features consumers deem important, and which product concept has the greatest chance for success.
SPARK utilizes various digital tools to survey larger consumer groups in your projected market. This can provide valuable insight into what features or functions are most important to potential consumers, perceived value, and general interest levels in a concept.
SPARK can help to analyze your concept and target market to define who the end user really is. What are their tastes? How would this product fit into their lifestyle and environment? What features will be important to them? The best way to make a product successful is to make sure it caters to the people who will ultimately be using it.
It may seem unintuitive, but often consumers don’t know what they want until they see it. People naturally develop workarounds and unique habits to better achieve tasks without realizing it. If directly asked about a problem, second nature behavior won’t come to mind; however, careful observation and unobtrusive interviewing of potential users will almost always lead to interesting and unexpected findings that can change (or define) the entire course of a project.
Even if a specific problem has not yet been identified, various research techniques can be used to identify market gaps or pain points where there are opportunities for new products or product sectors. Opportunity identification can lead to a physical product design or more open-ended documentation that highlights areas that could be focused on for future development and expansion.
What direction is your target market heading? A trend study takes a broad look at the market to determine which areas of your business or products need the most focus to be successful, not just now, but down the road as well.