The first step I took after putting my vision on paper was to conduct market research. Doing market research helps inventors decide if an idea is worth pursuing. You don’t want to spend tons of money on a prototype or patent to later learn your idea really wasn’t that original. In this post, I share the benefits of conducting market research.
1. Rule out existing products on the market
The number one reason to complete market research is to make sure your idea/invention isn’t already on the market.
Before shelling out a single dime, you need to know if your idea is worth pursuing. The easiest way to find out is to search the internet and then also visit stores.
When I searched the internet, I used keywords such as “travel palette” “ultimate makeup palette” and “all-in-one makeup kit.” I also went to several stores. I expected to find my vision was already on the market, yet, my search did not yield exact results. There were a couple of brands with elements close to my idea which brings us to #2.
2. Gain knowledge of competing brands
In step 1, you either found that your product didn’t exist or you found other related products. If you didn’t find your product at all, then you may have no real competitors.
If you didn’t find your product at all, then you may have no real competitors which means you could be on to something BIG. Many of us will experience the opposite result, wherein, a version of our product is already on the market. The features or functions may be a little different, but it’s out there. In either situation, recognize these brands as your biggest competitors and make sure you know why they have a competitive edge.
I came across Urban Decays On the Run Palette and Lancome Absolu Voyage. Both palettes included the eyeshadows, eyeliner, lip color, and mascara. The Lancome product had a couple of added benefits. However, neither was exactly want I had in mind or wasn’t readily available.
3. Review feedback and fine-tune
Once you find related products and brands, you also have an opportunity to read about the experiences of existing consumers. You will most likely discover many of your wants or concerns align with other consumers. The good thing about knowing this information so early in the process is that you can include the findings into the final design.
Reading reviews allowed me to get great feedback on existing products such as bulky construction, hard to open cases and the lack of brushes. But I also learned of other things I didn’t even consider. Here are some features I decided to add as a result of my research:
- Refillable– once the palette is purchased it can be refilled as the need arises
- Customizable – allows customer to select different color preferences
- Additional accessories – consider adding a sharper and tweezer
- No skin tone-based powers – it’s hard to match all skin tones in any one palette
4. Provides visuals
During the product research process, you will see many examples to help bring your idea to life. When searching the internet, I bookmarked many pages and copied images for reference or inspiration later. During stores, you have an opportunity to see, feel and touch some of the products found online. Is the size what you thought of? Does it function how you think it should? After seeing the product in person, you will get a renewed sense of if there is still a need for your idea.
The Lancome and UD palettes served as examples of what my product could look like. Makeup and accessories combined into a compact, travel-ready palette. Other products gave me an idea of how I could go about making my palette refillable which included magnetic pans or pull out compartments.
5. Start again (optional)
Depending upon what your search yields, there may be a need to start a new search. You may have realized that you went down the wrong path, or you are led to explore other angles. This is a vital time to figure out if you need to abandon an idea or at least explore other angles.
As a result of my research, I decided to make my palette refillable and customizable which meant I needed to begin a new search for those features. My new research brought me to such brands as MAC, Z palette, EM by Michelle Phan and Buxom. All of which were customizable or refillable… and pretty darn great brands.
I realized by conducting market research I could use feedback on existing products to maximize my vision. I am a big Shark Tank fan. Damon John has said many times that most “people aren’t creating new products, instead, improving upon existing ones.” Such a great reminder as I set out on My Journey.