What is Market Intelligence: Primary vs Secondary Research for Customer Validation

man sitting in front of computer

man sitting in front of computer

You have an idea for a product or service. There is no other product or service out there like the one you want to create. You think it is a great idea and you want to jump on it right away. 

First, you need to focus on market intelligence. You need to figure out if there is a market for the idea you have. Do people actually have a need for your product or service? Is there a demand for it? Answering these questions up front can help you decide if this product or service is worth investing in and can also help you make impactful decisions that will help you grow.

What is Market Intelligence?

Simply put, market intelligence is the process of analyzing data, keeping track of your competition and monitoring the state of your industry to help you make better business decisions.

“At its core, market intelligence uses multiple sources of information to create a broad picture of the company’s existing market, customers, problems, competition, and growth potential for new products and services,” according to Business News Daily. 

Market Intelligence can help you answer these questions:

  1. Is there a market for our product or service? Is there demand?
  2. Do our customers have money to afford what we are selling? How much money would they be willing to pay for the solution we have?
  3. How many other options do our customers have?
  4. What is our competition doing and how can we do it differently to position ourselves better in the market?
  5. Which markets should we try to infiltrate next?
  6. What resources should we invest in?

Primary vs Secondary Research

Primary research is information that comes directly from your potential customers. This data can be gathered from surveys, interviews, focus groups or just having a conversation with someone who might be interested in your product or service. Primary research is typically conducted by you or someone you hire to gather the data for you.

When you are gathering primary research, you are typically gathering two kinds of information:

  1. 1. Exploratory research – this is a starting point and allows you to ask open ended questions (generally in an interview style) to help identify pain points or topics of interest
  2. 2. Specific research – this stems from exploratory research and further investigates the pain points or topics of interest you identified in the first stage. Think of specific research as a method to help you solve a problem.

Secondary research is information that is not specific to your customers but is readily available on the internet or at your local library. This type of research has been conducted by someone else. This could include statistics reports from Census surveys, data about your industry or information about a specific location. You can check for information from associations, maps, the government, colleges and universities and even community organizations who have already run this data but would be willing to share it with you.

Both primary and secondary research should be conducted when you are trying to validate your product or service and see if it would be a good fit for the market you are trying to infiltrate.

How to Get Started with Market Research

A lot of business owners skip the market intelligence and market research stage of their business journey because they are afraid to hear negative feedback. They believe in their product and service so much, they fear hearing that there is not a demand for what they are offering. However, starting with market research is going to help you get off on the right foot, save money in the long run and help you make better decisions.

We have compiled a list of resources you may want to use as an entrepreneur to help you with your market research. Through Market Intelligence support, entrepreneurs receive current, relevant and timely information about their industries, competitors, markets, potential investors and partners, intellectual property and best business practices. These premium market research resources are provided by MaRS Market Intelligence to Altitude Accelerator clients at no cost.

Here at Altitude Accelerator, we know that building a startup can be difficult. That’s why we created a blog series called #HelpMeStartup designed to clear up some common confusions among first-time startup entrepreneurs. 

See how Altitude Accelerator can help by checking out our RevUp program for pre-revenue startups. Or register as a Altitude Accelerator client to get access to all our tech-startup focused programming and resources.

On the Blog: Read about Lean Startup Methodology

Building a Value Proposition in 3 Steps

Without a fully articulated and compelling value proposition, it is difficult for customers to understand why they should buy your product or service… Read more

How Do I Develop a MVP?

Whenever a startup endeavors to build a product, offer a service, or introduce a new idea, its founders make assumptions. They assume what customers… Read more

How Do I Talk to Customers?

Customer development can be an often overlooked part of building a company, but it is just as important as meeting with investors and building a… Read more

Recent Posts