We all know that finding and validating market problems are the most important activities for a product manager.
Yet, many Product Managers struggle to consistently engage in this best practice. The reasons for this challenge may vary, however what we hear most often is that Product Managers collect ample data from customers and potentials but find it difficult to aggregate into meaningful information.
It is true that unstructured data is difficult to decrypt, the process of analyzing it in close detail rarely leads us on a direct route to something new that we can apply to a larger context.
Most important, using data collected from this method as a tool to discover the next big thing is frustrating because each data element seems unique.
Basic market research tells us that we must define the problem before we can mine data and retrieve meaningful information. Our understanding of the problem, will determine whether you focus on quantitative or qualitative research. It will determine your sampling process and your sample size.
You think you need a large sample size and a significant budget
You probably like to get large pools of data, it makes you feel comfortable with the analysis and the decision making. In an ideal situation the data would decide for you. The problem is that, the time and cost of collecting enough data to reach high levels of confidence aren’t practical.
Also, there are too many instances where large volumes of data still lead to poor decisions. Big data doesn’t always give you the information you need to make good market decisions.
What you are seeking is INSIGHT…. In literal terms, a mental vision or understanding. In more practical terms, it’s discovering something that isn’t immediately clear at first glance.
Can you apply these principles to the activities of finding marketing problems in a systematic way and make it repeatable? Our firm answer to this question is yes.
Our work with clients over the past 2 years has provided some valuable results.
Here’s how it works:
- Target a small to moderate sample size (approximately 20 to 30 respondents)
- Interlock online survey and in-depth interviews into a discovery and validation sequence
- Use the blended responses to amplify the small sample size and bring more context to the research.
This proves to be a better way to think about market discovery and market validation.
As a market discovery method, "Insight Analysis" allows Product Managers to work with unstructured data and small sample size to:
- Test and validate your product direction
- Verify product roadmap priorities with market data
- Test and validate the degree that your messaging resonates
- Test and measure the strength of your value proposition
You will see immediate and long-term benefits from Insight Analysis
This approach doesn’t replace the more traditional market research approach. It offers a very practical, cost effective and repeatable approach. It blends quantitative and qualitative data and provides information that is actionable with a relatively high level of statistical significance.
This is an ideal research method for a small product management team on a budget.
Over the long-term you will develop the ability to go deeper on the quantitative data. Running this program for one year will give you better information and better decision making.
In the dynamic world of cloud application and software product development, the speed, iteration and the relative accuracy of small sample size research will deliver better results than long research cycles every time.
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"Problem with Finding and Validating Market Problems"
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