How I approach market research as a product designer turned founder

Understanding how to approach market research through product design thinking
Written by
Wyatt
Published on
April 16, 2024

As a product designer, I approach market research much like I would a user interview or competitor analysis of specific user flows.

Listening to People


People are the lifeblood of our insights. I often meet with many individuals to listen to them, understand their motivations and frustrations, and get to the heart of what makes them tick.

Watching User Interactions


I regularly conduct Zoom calls to observe how people manage their workflows, whether for current products or future concepts. I ask them to demonstrate how they accomplish specific tasks and to think aloud. For example, do they use Google Sheets to manually track certain activities?

Identifying Workarounds


Discovering user-created solutions is one of my favorite activities and it often leads to innovations, such as the creation of emailemu.com. I look for routine behaviors that might be overlooked but actually represent significant inefficiencies.

Observations of Inefficiencies


For instance, I've observed marketers inefficiently managing their emails—categorizing and sorting messages they wish to reference later. Similarly, others use separate Google spreadsheets to track changes on competitors’ websites, or take numerous screenshots of different parts of these sites.

Understanding Daily Operations


I delve into what occupies most of their time, what frustrates them enough to quit, what excites them, and what topics they passionately discuss.

Focusing on the Details


When designing UI, I prioritize minor adjustments that have a major impact. I apply the same principle to market research, targeting small but significant problems that are often overlooked by larger companies, and considering how subtle changes can enhance user satisfaction.

Seeking Common Themes


I search for recurring issues across the market, similar to how I determine new features to implement. Addressing common challenges is more scalable and impactful than focusing on isolated incidents.

Observing Actions Over Words


I pay close attention to what people actually do with a product rather than what they claim they will do. Often, there's a disconnect between a user's intentions and their actual behavior, particularly when it involves purchasing or using a product.

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