Criterion A(.4 part 2) – Market analysis, user need & competition

Criterion A(.4 part 2) – Market analysis, user need & competition

Still Edison with you to continue the Marketing Specifications (Criterion A.4) for your IA Design Project.  You've defined your target market and audience, Visitor, so let's look at a market analysis, user need and your competition.

Here's the Rubric, in case you need to reference it.

Now that you've pretty clearly defined the who for your project, you need to deepen that definition by adding details about where (the market analysis), how (the user need), and against whom (the competition) your product will compete.  For most new employees, it's that first one that is most confusing.

Market analysis

This is an overview of the market into which your product will be entering as a competitor.  We have a Nolat Labs market analysis spreadsheet to help you think through various aspects of this and develop a picture.  There are links on the sheet to web pages that can help with individual aspects (any text with an arrow ⇗ is linked to a page).

Then you can use that information to write a paragraph, or two, to summarize the market.

User need

There are functions and aspects of your project that must be met in order to solve the problem you've defined.  However, your users have other needs as well, psychological and physiological among them (see Topic 1 if you want to review these).

For example, if I am making a reaching device for people shorter than the 5th percentile of height, it must be long enough to allow them to reach items they need (required functionality).  My users also need a device that they feel comfortable taking into public, that they are proud (or at minimum, not embarrassed) to be seen with (psychological need).  It must also be built so that it is comfortable to hold and not fatiguing to use repeatedly (physiological need).

What are the needs your users have?  Hint: these often come between-the-lines, meaning you must interpret what your users tell you in order to discover these.  Users may not know enough to tell you these, or may not want to tell you.


Finally, you need to summarize the actual competing products in the marketplace you plan to enter.

  • What price range do they span?
  • What functionalities do they all have in common (your product will need to have these, too).
  • Which functionalities make each of them unique? (You may want to duplicate all, or some, of these.)
  • What niche or specialization is your product going to target, within the broader market of similar products?  A niche could be based on
    • specific functionality (does things for certain users that makes it perfect for them)
    • economics: luxury, budget (very tricky), high value-for-money, etc
    • aesthetics
    • and so on

Once you have those three written up in your Design Folder (adding on to the rest of criterion A that you've already written), you're ready to Complete this job.

Visitor, our goal is to ensure you have a rock solid Design Folder by the end of this process.  That's why you'll revise it so many times.

So, if you're at SL level, it's fine to move on at this point.  If you're at HL level, there's one more aspect I'd like you to consider.  Depending on which type of project you're creating, that aspect varies:

Projects w/ external clients

If you're doing a project with multiple external clients or an external organization as a client, you need to think about Socially Responsive Design.  This means you need to consider carefully how you are meeting the needs of the community in a thoroughly ethical way, for the planet, the people as individuals, and the community as a whole.  UTS has a nice video introducing this idea.  Write a final paragraph for your marketing spec's in which you address this aspect.

Projects focusing on pioneering products

If your product will be pioneering, creating a new type of product, you'll need to address how this will affect your potential market.  Pioneering products (like the original iPhone) don't have a built-in market they can just plug into as they emerge.  Instead, they must develop a market through specific strategies, marketing, and awareness campaigns.  Write a final paragraph for your marketing spec' in which you address this aspect.

Projects internal to CAC

If your product will be focused on the CAC community and exist within our boundaries, we need to consider our whole community.  Have you already consulted with students? parents? teachers? administration?  If so, excellent.  If not, who do you need to backtrack and add into the research?  Finally, we need to consider our alumni.  Many alumni still want to be involved in developing CAC.  How can you create a way for alumni to be recognized for sponsoring your product when administration chooses to use your design?  (Alumni may well be asked to help fund it.)  Write a final paragraph for your marketing spec' in which you address this aspect.

Square deal, Visitor.  Time to move on to the design specifications now.

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