Where To Insert Market Research Into The Product Development Process

Product development is the process of creating a new product or improving an existing one. The product development process is a complex set of steps. While certainly time and resource intensive, going through each step ensures a higher chance of success. However, effectively going through each step often requires a team of experts like a market research firm to build confidence that each step is completed successfully. 


There tend to be seven unique steps used in the product development process:

  1. Research and Idea Generation: This is the first stage of product development where ideas are generated through market research, customer feedback, brainstorming sessions, and other techniques.
  2. Concept Development: In this stage, the best ideas are refined and developed into product concepts that are feasible and have the potential to be profitable.
  3. Design and Prototyping: The product concept is then turned into a tangible product design. Prototypes are created and tested to ensure that the product functions as intended and meets customer needs.
  4. Testing and Validation: The prototype is then tested to ensure that it meets all the required standards and regulations. This stage involves user testing, performance testing, and other forms of validation.
  5. Production: After the prototype is validated, the product can move into production. This stage involves setting up the manufacturing process, sourcing materials, and producing the final product.
  6. Launch: The final product is then launched into the market. This stage involves marketing, sales, and distribution.
  7. Post-Launch Evaluation: Once the product is launched, it is important to evaluate its performance and gather feedback from customers. This information is used to make improvements and adjustments to the product.

Each of these steps demonstrates how product development is an iterative process that takes organizations from early ideation to fully produced product or service. 


Market research is an important tool across many of these steps to ensure that you’re moving in the right direction and getting the right inputs to inform your decisions. Let’s take a few of the steps from above and look at how market research helps with each one.

Market Research & Idea Generation

The first step in any product development process is idea generation. This is a key place where market research matters.

For instance, market research helps companies to identify the needs and preferences of their target customers. By understanding what customers want and need, companies can generate ideas for products that will meet those needs. Additionally, it can also help companies to identify gaps in the market, where there are no or few existing products that meet a particular need. This presents an opportunity for companies to develop new products that will fill the gap.

A typical market research offering is competitive analysis. This helps companies understand their competitors’ products and how they are positioned in the market. Doing this provides ideas for developing products that are differentiated and offer unique features and benefits. And of course, market research supports trend analysis, the process of identifying emerging trends and changes in consumer behavior. This can provide ideas for new products that align with these trends and meet changing consumer needs.

Market Research & Product Concepts

Once the ideas are laid out, tangible product concepts must then be developed. Once again, market research plays an important role in this stage. 

Market research can help companies to refine their product concept by gathering feedback from potential customers. This feedback can be used to make adjustments to the product concept to better meet customer needs and preferences. It can also help companies to assess market demand for their product concept. By gathering information from prospective customers, companies can gauge interest in the product and identify potential barriers to adoption.

Identifying key features and benefits is also a role market research can play in this step. Using different types of research methods, market research can inform feature or benefit prioritization that ensures the product concept meets the needs of the target market.

Market Research & Initial Launch

Moving further down the product development process is the actual launch step. This is when the product actually hits the market and businesses need to think about building customer awareness and drive trial and purchase. 

There are a couple ways market research supports this process. To begin with, businesses can use interviews or surveys to gather feedback from customers who are just trying the product out for the first time. This feedback can be used to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to the product or marketing strategy. Additionally, research can also be used to analyze the sales performance of the product. This can help companies to identify which marketing and sales strategies are working and which ones need to be adjusted.

Market Research & Post Launch Evaluation

Even after an initial launch, the work isn’t done. Reviewing the performance of the product for months or years after ensures that it stays a success. Once again, market research helps with this step as well. 

Customer satisfaction should be gathered to evaluate how well the product meets customer needs, as well as pinpoint areas where it needs further improvement or refinement. Companies should also consider brand perception studies to understand how customers view their brand as well as how the new product supports their brand identity. 

In sum, market research plays a critical role in every step of the product development process, from idea generation to post-launch evaluation. It helps companies to gather feedback from potential customers, assess market demand, identify key features and benefits, test messaging and positioning, analyze sales performance, evaluate customer satisfaction and brand perception, stay up-to-date on competitors, and identify opportunities for product improvements. By using market research to guide product development efforts, companies can increase the likelihood of success in the market, improve customer satisfaction, and build a strong brand image. Overall, market research is a necessary tool for companies looking to develop successful products that meet the needs and preferences of their target market.


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