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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on July 16, 2012

We recently did a market assessment for a client who was interested in bringing a genuinely exciting innovation to market (in an industry that sorely needs it). It turns out that maybe that innovation will happen someday, but not right now. Our research found that the challenges inherent in the market make it a very expensive proposition to break in, and there is great doubt whether the size of the prize warrants that kind of sustained and large investment. On consideration, our client is – wisely, in our view – stepping back from this idea altogether.

If you are going to do research, you must be prepared to be disappointed. Sure, maybe we’ll find out that there’s a fabulous market opportunity that you’re uniquely positioned to take advantage of, and that’s always great.

But maybe the news won’t be quite so rosy. Maybe clients aren’t very interested in your product or service. Or maybe they are interested, but they don’t want it from you or from someone like you. Or maybe they want it delivered to them in a way that would be wildly unprofitable. Or maybe getting them to switch would take an unsustainably long time.

Our client was able to really hear what the research findings were telling us, because he had engaged us precisely to provide that kind of objective perspective, and because together we looked at the data to really understand whether the opportunity truly existed.

Sometimes we get a call from a client that has already launched a product with no quantified sense of the market opportunity – they’ve developed a pricing model, done product design, and invested all their startup costs without doing any research. Often companies rely on built-up knowledge of the industry, but a new product or service can make them realize that they are beyond the boundaries of their knowledge. At that point, they might have wasted some or all of their money, so they are looking for research that helps them evaluate whether they should keep investing.

As our client who got the bad news said, “Better to know now than a couple of million dollars later, right?”

If you would like to understand the market opportunity for a product or service, we can help with a comprehensive market assessment. Please call 416-598-4684 and speak with Meredith Low for more information.

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