What is a “Market-Driven” Product?

As a marketer I love the words “market-driven” and “customer-centric”. The adjectives have purpose; connotations of real marketing intelligence. It describes not only the end-product but also a bit about how we got there. What do these words insinuate? What is a “market-driven” product?

Two-tier definition

Market-driven is defined as:

  1. “Firm’s policy or strategy guided by market trends and customer needs instead of the firm’s productive capacity or current products.” (BusinessDictionary.com )
  2. “Using market knowledge to determine the corporate strategy of an organization. A market driven organization has a customer focus, together with awareness of competitors, and an understanding of the market.” (BNET)

From these definitions the two key points to note are:

  1. It’s a corporate strategy, and
  2. It’s based on understanding market trends and your customer

The definition of market-driven is dependent on both these points. If your company doesn’t believe in providing products that your customers want, then it is most likely not going to invest in understanding the market and your customers. Similarly, even if being market-driven is a corporate strategy, you’re not market-driven if you don’t take the time to gain an in-depth understanding of the market and your customers.

More than just market research

Let’s focus on the second point – understanding market trends and your customer. The easiest thing to say is that a market-driven product is a result of market research. This is not incorrect but I feel much market research today does not get to the heart of ‘understanding ‘.

When conducting “market-driven” research, perhaps some questions to think about include:

  1. Is there an actual need to be fulfilled or a market problem to solve?
  2. What are your customers’ current behaviour, lifestyles, and aspirations? Are they likely to change by the time your product launches?
  3. What experiences do your customers seek?
  4. What kind of quality of life do your customers want?
  5. What major influences are currently changing peoples’ beliefs, values and behaviour?
  6. What different contexts will your customers use this product?
  7. What do customers need vs. prefer vs. ‘nice-to-have’?
  8. How would you like your customers to feel about your product?

With these questions in mind when we build our research surveys, we can direct our customer research to include personal elements that will provide a better idea of who our customers are and what they need.

The whole marketing environment

The customer is only half of what needs to be understood. When looking at market trends and understanding the market as a whole, it’s best to use the marketing macro- and micro-environment guide. It’s never a bad idea to go back to basics.

Not all of these environmental factors may apply, but it saves the hassles of thinking about what does with this handy chart to refer to.

From market research to market-driven

Translating your market research into market requirements, and meeting those market requirements with product requirements essentially means the end-product has been driven into creation by the target customers and the market.

The words “market-driven” and “customer-centric” implies an in-depth understanding of market trends and target customers. The development of market-driven products should be endorsed by a company that believes and invests in such market research.