Verify Your Market Insights Against A Variety of Information Sources

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

While we stress the value of serious conversations with prospects and customers there are other sources of market insights on emerging opportunities for your current product or next offering. I have placed them on a spectrum that runs from a macroscopic view based on objective measurements and numbers to a microscopic view that is more subjective and based on stories.

I have included some options that are available to more established firms so that early stage firms remain mindful of sources of information not yet available to them.  I don’t think you should proceed top down  as much as consult the variety of sources that you have available to cross check and verify insights from any single source.

Macroscopic / Objective / Numbers / Trends

  • Published Statistics
    • Market statistics
    • Government statistics (e.g. census, labor bureau, …)
    • Third Party Market Studies and Analysis
    • Independent financial analysis of public companies
  • Third Party Perspectives
    • News articles, blog posts, and other third party stories
    • Editorial Calendars and Conference call for paper topic lists
    • Third Party Experts and Analysts (who have surveyed / interviewed prospects)
    • Interview potential partners / channels
  • Surveys
    • Survey prospects directly
    • Survey customers (if you have them)
    • Responses to adwords, landing pages, and other probes
  • Public conversations
    • Discussions of problems and issues in public mailing lists
    • Published papers and articles authored by prospects
    • Panels and presentations at conference and trade shows
  • Public data about competitors – website and other published content
    • Product Datasheets and Service Descriptions
    • Positioning statements
    • Case Studies (in particular the implied frame of reference and what’s rarely or never mentioned)
  • Direct Conversation with Prospects
    • Exploratory / Problem Discovery conversations
    • Demo Feedback
    • Benchmark / Evaluation / Trial use feedback
    • Proposals to Prospects (and their reaction)
  • Win-loss analysis (talk with both prospects and customers)
  • Direct conversations with Customers
    • Why did they buy?
    • What do they use?
    • How do they use it differently than you anticipated (are they “using it wrong!”)?
    • New Features / Needs
    • Case Studies

Microscopic / Subjective / Stories

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