Target group focusing

I want to check if I am doing this right on target market focusing.

  1. You start a Hypothetical design project with a wide target focus,
  2. Observe, interview and survey all the user under the target- primary and secondary.
  3. During the research process you would identify design opportunities from user needs.
  4. Create a criteria list and evaluate the user needs. Find which scores the highest for " need for improvement"
  5. Connect those needs to the user, and that will be your target group for design.

Any other methods to be right on target?

Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like you are trying to fit the market segment to the product. Normally, business fits the product to the market segment. What you are proposing would be cost prohibitive in most cases.

iab: Actually, this is during design research, before a design.

For eg. hypothesis - elementary school educational system. Observe and record all users under this target, identify design opportunities through observation and needs, evaluate needs, check if target is broad or focused. If not, narrow the target to chose, maybe, pre k to k user group- students, teachers and staff with ample reason.

After this you will have different design opportunity that closely relate to this target audience. Now you have 3 or 4 design directions. Then you will see which direction to match niche market. Then develop further.

Is this correct?

Aahhh, I see now, at least, I think I do. Again, correct me if I am wrong.

You call it a design opportunity, I’d call it fishing for a problem. And yes, observational research is a tool we use. I have been in many clinical settings in the last year for just that purpose. But it is expensive, there is a lot of time spent just for a nugget or two.

On the other hand, there isn’t a great alternative. Our sales force and customer service are in direct contact with the customer every day. They are required to write what we call market feedback and we get a weekly 5-6 page report of these comments. They can be anything from an atta boy to a real problem. Again, there is a whole lot of chaff before you get any wheat. You also need to put on a sales filter as they tend to be extremely biased.

I think a great bang for your buck is to interview or read research from the thought leaders and attend trade shows with technical posters. Granted this is “easy” for the medical device industry and may be more difficult for other industries, but these people are on the cutting edge of problems, they are a great source.

On a side note, research, or the lack there of, can come back to bite you. We just had to shelve a concept because there is no “proof” the problem exists. Although any clinician knows about this particular problem, no one has ever gone out and quatitatively measured it. Without that data, you cannot prove something is broke and then no one will buy a solution, at least in the medical industry. We are slowly gathering the data to prove the problem exists, but it is a long and costly process.