Do Market Research To Avoid A Product Launch Disaster

A few weeks ago in my post Dream Help: Top 10 Product Launch Mistakes To Avoid, I covered several mistakes that would easily take a product launch down the road of disaster.

A lot of those tips were focused on a physical product launch. While I would love to invent the next gizmo that will rule the world, I do not own Apple. That’s why my focus has primarily been digital products and online product launches.

The number one item on my list of product launch mistakes to avoid was that no market research was done. We all have this innate assumption that we know what our market needs. Your inner dialogue my run along the lines of “It’s the perfect solution and I know they are going to love it!”.

If that sounds very familiar, you are not alone.

Do your market research

Just so we are clear on what market research is, I thought I’d let help us out.

Market Research
Definition: The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face.

This can be a huge endeavor, or you can boil it down to one simple idea.

Ask your audience what they want

Even if you don’t have an excellent platform like 8 Women Dream to post your ideas and gather feedback from, you can start to gather information from your market using these tips.

Use someone else’s audience: Request to run a survey to their audience,  via their blog, Twitter or Facebook. Offer something in return to create an incentive for people to give their opinion.

Hang out where the issues are: If there is a problem, someone is talking about it. Forum are the place to hang out to hear about what people are complaining about with specific issues in your niche.

Interview typical people: They may be a little harder to locate, but you can interview in person, or even online, a few ideal people who represent your niche. You will get some amazing insight on the problems they need to have solved with your product

Survey with a purpose: Ask specific questions that delve into the the main problem and frustration your audience may have with the issue your product is planning on solving. This is the best way you can get a clear idea of what they really want. Keep it to about 5 questions. It may be a good time to ask what they are willing to pay for a solution to the problem so you have a head start on your pricing model.

Do this first

Knowing this information before you even start to formulate create your next digital product can help you drive it in the right direction. You may find your audience is craving information you never thought about.

This is the golden nugget when you start to build your marketing materials around the product. You will already know how to target the hot button issues your product solves.


Heather’s dream is to have multiple streams of income, starting with launching an e-commerce website that showcases her couture jewelry, which are crafted by her. You can find Heather online at For Your Adornment and Twitter And Beyond Dot Com. She also teaches Social Media tactics for business, besides being CEO of her own web design company. Heather’s post day is Friday.

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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  • Harder than we think is right – I know you’ve felt the difficulty more than anyone I know.

    Thanks for the great info – H

  • I love this “You may find your audience is craving information you never thought about.” It’s so true. We start with ideas about what we like and want and not whether or not the public will feel the same way.

    Here’s what Charles Couric, President of Brita Inc. said about product launches –

    “You can’t underestimate the difficulty. Everything we did was more difficult than we thought it
    would be. To make a product launch easier in the future, you have to allow for mistakes — little
    mistakes — time delays, whatever else; nothing goes as planned. It’s going to be harder than you
    think and that’s something you’ve got to keep in mind. It might take longer, be more expensive,
    be more difficult.”


  • Yeah Daniel and I’d like to add that hunches may be great for the casino but not for successful product launches. Hunches are based on “gut feeling” not market evidence, and are guesses. With a product launch to be successful there is no room for guessing. Watch out for “I think we should…”. Make launch planning decisions based on market evidence not guesses. Just because one “launch guru” chooses a particular launch tactic doesn’t mean it will work for another. The easy way to launch a product is to mimic “gurus” and expect good things to happen. However, there are too many factors at play to guarantee the same tactic will have equivalent outcomes. Mimicking a “marketing guru” assumes they are smarter than you. An intimate knowledge of your buyers and their buying process provides the best guidance for the most effective launch tactics.

  • Daniel

    I’d like to yell, “Checking a completed deliverable off a launch checklist isn’t a product launch. A successful launch is about generating sales velocity!” to anyone thinking of launching a product. It is sell, sell, sell, sell before, during and after. If you are not born to sell you launch is going to fall flat.

    • I’ve found this the most painful conversation. You hope the product itself required more than a checklist – shouldn’t the launch plan too?

      Thanks for the reminder Daniel!