One of the realities of doing technology market research is that you end up dealing with people in the real world. For those who work in roles that deal only with the hottest new innovations, it can be a bit of a shock to shift gears from the cutting-edge of hype and the super-early-adopters that use new technology.
There is definitely good news. Your technology market research project will give you a good dose of reality and a much better understanding of the market that you’re actually marketing and selling into. And any good market research firm will help you to find exactly the group you need to hear from: whether a cross-section of the entire market, a group of early adopters, or conservative corporate IT executives.
However, bear in mind that the market research project may not feel like the rest of your life. Everyone you talk to on a daily basis may know about your technology and your space, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the world does.
A few important things to remember:
a. “Buzz” usually isn’t happening with the entire market. It may feel like everybody is talking about cloud computing these days, but in reality they aren’t. There are plenty of smart, informed people that simply haven’t got cloud computing on their radar because they are focused on other things.
b. Your competitors are not “everywhere.” We know it feels like that to you, but in reality, only a small percentage of the market uses your competitor’s tools.
c. Even your own customers aren’t as educated about your product as you are. Don’t expect to have the same deep conversation with them that you have in your internal meetings. Remember: you spend 120% of your time thinking about your product. Your customers probably spend only a fraction of their time doing the same.
d. In the real world, corporate IT doesn’t get as excited about change as technology startups do. It may feel like a wet blanket to hear corporate IT research participants finding the negative aspect in the amazing new technology that you know is going to change the world. But the reality is that it’s much better to hear the objections, so you can deal with them.
You should work with your research provider to make sure that you understand exactly who you want to talk to, and it helps to be realistic about the level of effort it takes to find exactly the right people and engage them in a beneficial conversation.