Most of the successful products will not shine by luck. They were the result of team creativity, unique thinking, and in the majority of cases, a ton of research. Being a product manager it’s not easy to plan for a product release by just looking at what the competitor does. It should majorly be involved in these two crucial pieces of the research puzzle including “market research and user research”, each with its significant purpose.
We should provide attention to both to make the right decision, for various purposes over a product’s development and lifecycle. But sometimes you might not have a clear idea of where to start the research and how to proceed with the gained information. In this article, we’ll walk you through the differences between user research and market research and explain how and when you would want to use each.
What is product market research?
Market research is the only path for companies to get a realistic snapshot of a potential market. In basic, it provides a broad, high-level understanding of a market and customer reach to help identify a product’s potential.
Market research should solve these questions:
- Does the demand exist for this product?
- Who is our target audience and what expectations do they have of you to select your product?
- How huge is the Total Addressable Market (TAM)?
- Are you doing a competitive analysis for every phase? And what changes getting a great response from people?
Conducting strong and detailed research early on for every product release phase can save organizations a lot of pain by determining risks proactively, you can come up with a better idea. Sometimes, your smart design can help you overcome risks, while others can be part of the decision to shelve an idea. In that way, market research can also help to identify new opportunities and gaps waiting to be filled.
When should you conduct market research?
Usually, market research is known as the proactive stage of a product’s development to verify whether there is sufficient potential demand. But it is not the only way to use market research.
Market research can guide you with many things like:
- Ensuring potential demand for the product during new product development
- Take the right decisions when looking to improve an existing product to strengthen competitive differentiation and increase market share growth
- When amplifying an existing product’s reach into new markets
Market research is crucial for new products. Otherwise, there is a risk of plans falling apart. A product idea that you keep in mind for the launch has to be researched a lot of time before people start investing in it. It should be in a way of not questionable. That is why the product competition review side of market research is so crucial.
Market research can also target new customers for redesigned products or the same product can be reached into other markets if market research bears this out.
Market research methods
The maximum majority of market research concentrates on gathering valuable insight from the customers, but some market research methods help to gather qualitative data.
Prominent market research methods include:
- Literature reviews, with the help of journals
- Large-scale surveys for the product features
- Interviews with tech experts in the product.
Market research is not just so much about requesting people to answer surveys, as it’s about looking for quantitative information to justify why to invest in or passing up on a product’s development. For most, it’s about evaluating the potential to make money.
What is Product user research?
Most of the time it seems to confuse user research with market research, specifically for products that are highly competitive with others on the market or which are undergoing an upgrade or redesign for the next release. But, the two are not the same, both are different in their focus. User research generally seeks at narrower populations than those in market research and focuses on understanding user behaviors. User research is a way to gain meaningful insights from users and their behaviors, needs, and motivations.
User research can solve these questions:
- What are the potential users' needs and what solution can your product provide them?
- How well do those solutions solve their issue?
- How are existing users satisfied with using the product and what are their inputs on improvements?
- What do users wish they could do uniquely with the product?
- How could we improve the product to make users happier and excited?
When should you conduct user research?
You need to focus on user research only aftermarket research has identified the demand for your product. User research is valuable at different phases in a product’s development cycle.
Where you’d need to conduct user research?
- While taking decisions on what to build next
- When evaluating a problem and possible solution
- During the improvement of UI, the process to ensure potential designs are intuitive
Product managers’ time is more crucial for user research than market research. They know how the product can be used and should be open to gather new information that can lead to productivity growth. This can be identified with users or at least understand their expectations, which helps them to capture more subtle clues about how a product is used and how it can be expanded.
Commonly used user research methods
There are ample amounts of different user research methods available. Usually, User research focuses on gathering qualitative information from users.
User research method includes:
- Usability testing
- Focus on powerful customer groups and customer interviews
- User surveys
- Gathering user feedback elsewhere online or using effective feedback platforms.
Face to face user research is often known as an effective type of research. But it is not always possible and easy to arrange a face to face meeting with users in this pandemic and it can get expensive if there’s a lot of travel involved. Instead, using email surveys and assessing comments on websites and in newsgroups can be effective and less expensive.
How to Combine user research and market research in the right way
Usually, both market and user research should be recurring throughout a product’s lifecycle. It should never stop.
Product marketing teams should always keep a close eye on what the competitors are doing. And to analyze new products that come to market and how customers respond to them, a kind of distance version of user research. New products from competitors should be calculated to see the pros that can be addressed in the upcoming product redesigns.
Market and user research collapse a lot as a product age on the market. Using the right approaches of user research methods can serve as a way to understand where it differs and collapse with market research. You should take user research and gather qualitative inputs of why and how to fix and quantitative insights into how much and how much data, the closer you understand the market research. You can do better user research.
User and Market Research is great to be together
Let’s take a quick look at some similarities between user research and market research, it’s crucial to understand how the two differ.
Market research provides a scope, a clear picture of who will use a product. It can also help determine additional customer segments and markets.
User research guides product managers and their teams to see where products can be strengthened and improved. For new products, it’s most valuable in the prototype phase and the after-market phase.
Yes, I hope now you have an idea about how to do user research and market research together for your product in the right way. A small reminder takeaway, insufficient market research will never help you to do the user research for gaining the right insights from users. So, schedule your research accordingly. If you are a beginner of product start with market research gathering inputs about the demand and moving to user research, it would be a better idea. For others, never miss both do all together simultaneously in a routine manner. This will help you in developing a successful product.