The First Rule of Market Research: Do It!

August 14, 2019
Nick Talamantes

Author: Nick Talamantes, Market Intelligence Manager at Jaunt LLC

The most cost-effective way to test your medtech concept early is with a systematic approach to knowing your market

Medtech entrepreneurs have thousands of ideas and it is their job to convince others, whether that be investors, cofounders, or customers, that their idea is valid. This is where market research is essential. Akin to the scientific method, market research follows a systematic methodology of observing, asking questions, researching, testing, and drawing conclusions. It is through this approach that medtech entrepreneurs can develop a winning strategy and communicate a realistic perspective of the opportunity at hand.

At Jaunt, we employ our own methodical process when conducting market research to obtain information and generate insights that help our clients excel in developing and commercializing medical products.

Jaunt’s market research methodology:

Asking Questions

The first step in Jaunt’s process involves asking questions – lots of questions. By asking questions, we start to formulate the type of research that needs to be conducted. Starting with tough questions also pushes the research to uncover more relevant and useful answers. Common questions that we ask clients include:

  • Who is this product for?
  • Who is the primary competitor?
  • What other types of solutions are competing in the market?
  • Why are you better?
  • How much does your competitors device sell for?
  • How many devices did your competitors sell last month? Last year?
  • How many procedures were performed last year that could have used your device?
  • How many procedures actually need your device?
  • Why would a physician switch to your device instead of what they are using now?
  • Why would a patient care?

With questions established you now have a framework to build your research from; the next step is to start collecting intelligence. This entails conducting secondary and/or primary research.

Secondary Research

Secondary research is the exhaustive search of information that is readily accessible. This generally entails gathering information from online sources such as company financials, government agencies (e.g. the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the National Health Service), clinical trial registries, and academic publications. Secondary research is commonly utilized to perform high-level analysis of product markets and can help build intelligence regarding:

  • Identifying competitors and their position in the market
  • Determining volumes and size
  • Defining commercial opportunity and market value

Examples of questions that are often solved with secondary research

Question Solution Potential Sources
Who are my competitors? Create a competitive landscape Competitor websites and financial documents
How are my competitors speaking to their customers? Value proposition analysis Competitor websites, brochures, white papers, podium presentations and peer review articles
How many patients are there? Create an epidemiological forecast Government and nonprofit databases; epidemiological databases; patient registries
What is the commercial opportunity for this market? Determine the total addressable market and immediately addressable market Product pricing databases; estimated procedure volumes; incidence rates

Secondary research is where good competitive intelligence starts, however it doesn’t always paint the clearest picture and often leads to additional questions. This is where primary research comes into play.

Primary Research

Primary research is getting out of the office (literally or figuratively) and gathering first-hand information about the market and the customers. Surveys, questionnaires, and interviews are all tools used for conducting primary research and are best utilized after secondary research has overturned as many stones as possible and questions still remain. Medtech companies utilize primary research to understand in depth questions regarding their market including the voice of customer, user needs and purchasing behaviors. Primary research involves interacting with patients, physicians, product distributors, and payers, among other individuals that can provide insight on the current and future market.

Primary research can capture customer insights on the following elements:

  • Barriers to adoption
  • Pricing optimization
  • Evaluation of value proposition
  • Product features
  • Clinical needs
  • Customer behaviors

Primary research is essential for new and emerging markets in order to positively influence product design, marketing, and commercialization strategies. It can provide medtech organizations tremendous cost savings when testing value propositions and adoption assumptions for new and emerging markets.  

Analysis

When all the necessary research has been conducted, the raw data that was collected needs to be processed. Analysts use a variety of analytical techniques to identify trends and draw conclusions. A summary of findings (i.e. a report or presentation) is then put together so that the information may be easily communicated to others. The final report digests the raw data and answers the initial questions that were the genesis for the research project. It may include the opinions or recommendations of the analyst based off of their interpretation of the data and past experience.

Strategy

All market research tends to influence a product strategy. The findings are used by management to make decisions that will directly affect the success of the product. With good market intelligence in-hand, medtech entrepreneurs are better equipped with a vision of a product that customers want. Starting with the buyer and understanding the market dynamics and mentality first, strengthens strategies.

But all is not finished.

Market research is never really finished. Until a product is launched, and has fully saturated the addressable market, market research is constantly bringing in new information to shape the direction of the product. New questions are formulated. More secondary research is conducted and additional primary research is performed. Analysis continues and strategies dynamically take shape, get broken down and take on new directions.

Doing market research is the first rule of market research. Specific needs vary between medtech companies and their projects, however the necessity for data-driven strategies is constant. Knowing how to find the answers to specific market questions can be a challenge, but a dedicated approach to market intelligence can make all the difference in shaping strategies early on that lead to a dramatic increase in future success.

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Jaunt LLC is a management consulting firm focused on new and emerging medical markets. They solve product-market-fit problems by partnering with companies and investors to define market opportunities and to successfully bridge the gap between technology and its customer. Located in Mesa, AZ, Jaunt services clients across the country. For additional information visit JauntUp.com.

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