OK, the Quick Tip of the Week this time feels like a bit of a cheat. You see, this one was published last week as part of a (much) longer article. The article was so long that I decided to break off the most important piece of it and publish it again here, for ease of reference.
What I’ve done is to boil down the process of market research to the most basic of steps and ideas to keep in mind. This is the simplest description and outline of market research I can come up with. What I’d like everyone to remember is that every product is going to force you to approach the research in a slightly different manner, but the general method is going to be:
The 4 Simplified Steps of Market Research
- Identify your product. be it a previously done comic or an idea you want to test out. Sit down and tell yourself about what the product is, who it might interest and would other products/services/etc are similar to it.
- Take those lists and start searching online. Find where the product is sold, who is buying it, who is selling it, where it is talked about online and off. This can be a long process, with a lot of false starts. Get used to doing a lot of research…very, very boring research.
- Contact those people. Talk to vendors, dealers, distributors, customers, fans and even haters of the products and markets you come across. See what they want. Find out what their needs are. Then, tell them about your product and see how they respond. Feedback from your target audience is some of the best feedback you can get.
- Take another look at your product and see if it fits in to that market. Does it match what the market wants or needs? Did the market respond well to it. If your answer is a resounding “yes,” then you’re on the right track for picking your niche market.
There are other ways to start your market research if you have more resources. I mentioned CommScore and Nielsen. There are a lot of companies out there that will give you information on various demographics — middle class teen males, 24-45 year old females in urban areas, etc. If you have the resources to use them, they can help you track down the target audiences used by products/services similar to yours and give you a bit of information on them. They are valuable tools to help find potential target markets, but they can be dangerous to use on their own. Make sure to “check your work” with them by using the Internet as I’ve described above (and in my keyword research article).
The more footwork you do before you’ve got five thousand printed comic books sitting in your garage, annoying your wife, the better.
I hope that helps!