Would you knock door to door to research your market? Probably not.
You’re a founder. You need new data. You don’t want to “harass” people just to collect that data.
Do you want to refer to data outside your web analytics? If you’re building a new product, you especially do.
In ancient times, Romans used a public place, like a market place, to use as an assembly area. This is where people are gathered to hear about what’s new and what’s happening. This is also the venue for people to voice out their ideas and for open forum discussions. To find out what people want.. Market research, the old fashioned way.
But those were the days. We’re not in those times anymore.
Today, we have the Internet. We have online discussion forums to go to for business trends. Why not take advantage of those resources for your new business idea?
Before we continue, let me congratulate you.
As a maker & entrepreneur, it’s too easy to obsess with the tiny details. It’s easy to be too busy optimizing your logo, CSS, and tech stack.
The fact that you’re digging into market research means you realized the value of working on your business, rather than in it. You’re spending time “outside the building,” as Steve Blank put it. You’re interacting with prospects & customers rather than hiding with your laptop.
Now, let’s continue with validating your business. Check this out:
The scenario: You’re a new business owner. You’re trying to build a “perfect product” that people should like. You are your own boss!
The problem: No launch date is set for too long. Lack of confidence in the success of your product. After 8 months of preparation and perfecting the product, no one buys the product.
What went wrong: Not enough market research was done. You might have interviewed friends for customer development, but it was full of confirmation bias.
What should have been done: Knowledge is power. This is why online discussions for new business market research is crucial.
If you’re a new business owner, it’s likely that doing an interview or outreach isn’t your favorite thing. While those are important, you can and should begin with market research using readily available information.
No need to conduct your own survey… yet.
It’s super important to learn to approach people, but you don’t have to generate new data. You don’t need analytics or to perform your own outreach, to understand what people want.
With online discussions, you can:
Gather user-generated insights.
Interaction and opinion comes naturally in online discussions. This is because actual participants are real people. If you are involved in a discussion that is targeted to your niche, then those people are your potential customers.
Even if the topics can sometimes be moderated or filtered, the opinions are authentic. Imagine if its a discussion about a product. More likely, people will share their experiences or what they really want out of that product. That’s the voice that you should listen to.
Find topics related to what your product is about.
Is your product about fitness? There are discussions specifically designed for that.
Are you creating a new kind of social app? Join tech related discussions. You can find similar minded people there that may be tired of Facebook or Twitter already.
There is a variety of online discussions with organized topics that you can go to. You can do a simple keyword like like “fitness tracking apps” or “new tech products”. Chances are, you’ll find a lot of online discussions catering to those topics.
There’s always unique pain that you’re in the best position to serve.
Check out what’s trending.
What’s the coolest gadget, app, or design website? Online boards are full of the coolest, freshest and trending topics.
Customers will always have a need for something. Even if a similar product is already out there, you can research the market more. Explore new technologies. Look at what people are asking for.
There’s always an angle that big players haven’t already fulfilled. For instance, is there a social marketplace for florists in your city yet.
Lego, Apple and McDonald’s made it big by using market research too.
To get you started on your market research, here are great resources on how to use online discussion trends for market research:
- Neil Patel talks about the use of Quora for long tail keyword research.
- KissMetrics lists resources for reading your audience’s mind with Reddit and others
- Buffer discusses Quora marketing
Over to You
Looking to launch or relaunch your product? Increase confidence before even initiating conversations with the general public or your own audience.
Begin with your product quest by listening to online discussions. It’s not only convenient. It’s also the right thing to do.
What online discussion group or forum is a goldmine for market research?