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MARKET RESEARCH

V. Ryan 2009

 

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WHAT IS MARKET RESEARCH?
This is where a company/design team takes an initial design concept for a product and tests it out on potential customers or the general public. This is done through questionnaires, interviews and a range of other activities.
 
WHAT ARE THE AIMS OF MARKET RESEARCH?
Market research has several aims:

The most important is to determine if the design concept has any chance of economic success. Potential customers will soon express their opinion and say if they would be interested in buying the product.

Market research often leads to suggestions regarding improving the product so that it is more likely to be successful. This may be as simply as an alteration to the colour scheme or a dramatic change in the style of the product or the functions it performs.

The price the customer is prepared to pay for the product is often determined during market research. This sets an upper limit of cost to the design and production teams.

Market research may suggest how many individual ‘units’ are likely to sell. If production goes ahead, this will help determine the number of products manufactured during the first run on the production line.
 
 
 
WHY SPEND TIME AND MONEY ON MARKET RESEARCH?
A new product can cost millions of pounds to develop at the design stage. Setting up a production line or arranging its manufacture somewhere in the world can also cost millions. Therefore, it is essential that the company developing the product is convinced that it has every chance of being an economic success and be popular with potential customers - before the enormous cost of designing and manufacturing takes place.
 
In the early 1980s Sir Clive Sinclair designed and manufactured a range of popular home computers. His designs/products were innovative as existing home computers were very expensive and difficult to use. Sinclair developed a range of home computers that were cheap, effective, educational and fun. Inevitably market research played a crucial role in determining the overall design of the computers and the software available for them. He went on to design the one of the first hand held TVs with a slim, flat, futuristic battery.

However, Sir Clive Sinclair will be unfairly remembered for the small battery powered single seater car his company developed called the C5. It was developed as a commuter vehicle for business men. The vehicle was very small and was dwarfed by other vehicles on the road. It had a limited driving range and speed and consequently looked dangerously out of place. If adequate, targeted market research had been carried out before manufacturing had started the designers would have realised that this was never going to be a successful product. Millions of pounds in design and manufacturing costs were lost and the product did not sell. Sir Clive Sinclair’s reputation as being an innovator was severely dented.
 
 
 
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