Market Validation Part 4: Keeping up with the News

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Market research reports are great to get a feel of a market, but the information can become dated very quickly. A change of government, a competitor goes broke, or new technology can disrupt a market quickly and change consumer preferences. You need to use other information sources to validate what is going on now, and what it might be like in the future. Otherwise, you could be basing decisions on information that is out of date.

So... where do you go to supplement and validate market research info?

  • Google News is the first obvious place to start. You can search for the keywords pertaining to your industry and set up alerts so that you can monitor the market in the future.

  • News agencies like Reuters and Bloomberg all have websites and Twitter feeds which can help you. Other agencies which offer some free info on global trends include Time and Forbes.

  • Twitter (by searching hashtags) and Facebook pages also offer news updates.

  • Don’t forget about Idealog as well as Stuff and NZ Herald websites.

  • LinkedIn Groups are also a great way to keep up with play. These industry forums are a great place to ask questions about a market. Of course, you need to balance this up with the knowledge that everyone on the forum may have an inkling that you are interested in this specific market, but you can get valuable information and advice.

The info sources above are just a taste of where you can look to check that the information you have is up-to-date. Don't forget to contact any subject matter experts that you might find mentioned in news reports or on Linked In. Most people are only too happy to present their opinions or give advice, providing you are upfront and honest about what you want to use the information for. Competitor websites that have media releases on them are also useful, plus monitoring job websites like Seek over a period of time can give an indication about what new skill-sets are needed to support your competitors' strategy.

Market Validation Part 2: Tips on how to Use Google for Market Validation

Naturally when you invent a new product or service, you want to know if anyone else has had the same great idea that you have. Maybe you’d like to find out how big your potential market could be. This is all part of what I talked about in my last article about validating the market.  Your new product or service has to have the potential to make your customer’s life better by solving a problem, plus it has to make you a profit. Remember, if it’s not going to do both of those things, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

Let's look how to use some Google search tools for market validation information. It's not rocket science, and it's easy to do some DIY market validation before you get someone like me involved. 

There’s lots of good, free information that you can find by just using Google. Before you start typing, you need to be thinking of some keywords that will help you find the information that you need. For market validation, this could include phrases or words such as “market size”, “market value”, “market research”, or trends or maybe consumer and preferences. Note the speech marks around the phrases. Google now knows to put those two words next to each other as a phrase.

Another trick I use all the time is the filetype:???? search. If I wanted to find out how many widgets were sold in Vietnam, I could start by typing in the search box: widgets sales vietnam and filetype:pptx into Google. This will look for Powerpoint presentations with those words in them, which often have some great insights on how a widget is selling, or who is buying it. The same works with other types of documents such as pdf, docx, xls etc.

Google News is great for finding out who is also producing widgets in the market, and can give you useful information on their sales, key people, industry trends, and what the future might hold. Use other people’s experiences - good and bad, to help you fine tune your business and your product or service. Use Google’s filter tools for the most recent information to get exactly what you need.

Google Patent is collection of patent documents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. By typing in keywords about your product, you'll get a list of patents which will give you diagrams of the different types of widgets, plus a description of how they work, and who is responsible for the patent - very useful to get a feel for what is out there! The big disclaimer here is that although Google Patents is a useful tool, it won’t replace the capabilities of a patent expert, and it only has USA patents.

One final tip: don’t rely on Google as the only browser to search with. Try Bing or even DuckDuckGo that won’t keep records of what you search for.

In the next article, I’m going to highlight how you can find statistics on the web. Numbers form the base of any good market validation plan, so it’s very important to find the most reliable data.