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The Complete Guide to Product Development Research

Savannah Trotter • 4 Dec 2023

It’s been said that around 95% of all new product ideas fail. 

Now- to be fair- the validity of this exact figure remains to be seen. But that doesn't diminish the sentiment; product development is riddled with trial and error, with very few products rising to the top.

If you want to mitigate risks and give your product a fighting chance, research should play a key role in your development process. 


What is Product Development Research? 

Put simply, product development research is the process of applying market research tactics to your product development journey. 

Whether you are updating an existing product, extending a product line, or launching an entirely new product- the development cycle can be a long one. While some people might consider research as just another step, in reality, it is so much more. 

Research should be your north star; guiding you throughout your journey and informing your designs, pricing, features, and messaging. All in the name of crafting a product your market will obsess over. 

Product development research gives you the gift of feedback directly from the people you want to buy your product. Not only does it allow you to screen every aspect of your product with consumers, but you can also use it to better understand your competitors, and find gaps within your market. 


Why Does Market Research Matter in Product Development? 

Using market research during the product development cycle is a great way to minimize your risks. But that isn’t the only benefit! Here are a few of the biggest upsides: 

Open Space for Innovation

In the early stages of product development, research allows you to discover gaps within your market and unmet needs your competitors could be missing. Not only will this make your product more unique, but it will also give you a competitive advantage. 

Get to Know Your Market

While it might seem simple, getting to know your market is crucial for your success as an organization. If you don’t understand what your ideal customers are looking for in a product, how they make their purchasing decisions, and what brands they are already loyal to, you’ll be dead in the water. 


Maximize Product Revenue

Forget gut feelings or best guesses, and go directly to the source. Use insights from your target market to find a price range for your product or pinpoint a price point that maximizes your revenue without comprising consumer demand. 

Nail Your Marketing & Advertising

No matter how great your product is, without marketing and advertising it’s unlikely anyone will ever hear about it. Research will help you uncover the messaging that resonates with your audience, the graphics that catch their attention, and the platforms you can reach them on. 

Arrive to Launch Day with Confidence 

It’s no secret, when you infuse insights into every stage of your product development cycle you’ll arrive at launch day with confidence. 



Tools for Product Market Research


Type=Default, Size=sm, Color=SuccessConcept Testing

Eliminate low-potential product concepts, perfect high-quality concepts, and discover your product’s most promising market segments. 


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Heat Mapping

Get visualized feedback on your assets to understand what consumers like/dislike, what catches their eye, and (most importantly) why. 


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Automated Conjoint Analysis

Measure the value consumers place on your product's packaged features to optimize your product, predict adoption, and project market share. 


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Automated MaxDiff Analysis

Measure the level of importance that consumers place on each of your product features to optimize your product and messaging. 


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TURF Analysis

Maximize the reach of your products by finding an optimal mix of features that appeals to the largest audience. 


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Van Westendorp

Gauge the price sensitivity in your market and find a range of acceptable prices for your product. 


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Pinpoint a revenue-maximizing price and investigate the relationship between price and demand for your product. 


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Key Driver Analysis 

Identify the factors that influence consumer behavior and impact metrics like customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, or purchase intent.




When to Conduct Product Development Research



The ideation phase is the initial stage in which companies evaluate whitespace opportunities and work to source new product ideas to fill that space, selecting the idea with the highest potential. This is a great time to survey your audience to look for gaps in the market and needs that haven't been met by competitor products. 



During the prototyping phase, companies begin to design and physically build their minimum viable product (MVP). In this stage, you will create your user interface or customer experience, possibly the most crucial aspect of your product. Tools like concept tests, heat maps, and conjoint analysis will enable you to build an MVP that gets your market excited. 



Setting your product's price is a crucial developmental milestone. During this time, you will identify an optimal price for your offering, taking into account market positioning, demand elasticity, and cost factors.  Tools like Van Westendorp's Price Sensitivity Meter and Gabor-Granger will be invaluable here. 



The messaging you choose can majorly impact your sales, marketing, and advertising efforts. So nailing down the right positioning can be a huge win across the board. To refine and perfect your messaging, you can use tools like concept tests early in the process to screen different options with your audience.

Similarly, conjoint and maxdiff analysis will tell you which aspects of your product matter most to consumers, which will inform the basis of your marketing. While tools like TURF analysis are useful when searching for messaging points that resonate with the largest market. 


Post-Launch Enhancements

The product development work doesn’t always stop after launch day. For digital offerings especially, ongoing enhancements, post-launch updates, and additional content are a standard way of attracting new customers and keeping the ones you have. In this stage, any and every market research tool can be beneficial depending on your goals. For UX/UI updates, concept testing and heat mapping will be your best friend. While tools like key driver analysis can be used to better understand the factors your customers like most about your offering, and what you can improve to keep them coming back for more. 



Product Development Research with SightX

The SightX platform is the only tool you'll ever need for market research: a single, unified solution for consumer engagement, data collection, advanced analysis, and reporting. While powerful enough for insights teams at Fortune 500 companies, the user-friendly interface makes it simple for anyone to start, optimize, and scale their research. 

Plus, with SightX's research team, you can gain access to the best thinking in the insights field. Our in-house experts will guide you through every step in the market research process, from survey scripting to analysis support, and everything in between. 

If you're ready to dive into market research, click the button below to get started for free!


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Savannah Trotter

Savannah Trotter

Savannah is the Marketing Manager at SightX. She is our in-house expert for all things marketing and advertising.

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