Future Market Maps: Sizing the Opportunity

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Discover how to size emerging markets and determine the “size of the prize” through research

Building market maps takes time and diligence. Building future market maps consumes even more resources – but the outcome enables an organization to “size the prize” and determine the return on investment (ROI). Market maps (or market analyses) that define and size emerging markets and opportunities are extremely valuable…when done correctly.

In this article of the Innovation Research and Strategy series in partnership with Great Lakes GrowthWorks, we’ll highlight why future-focused market mapping is essential to growth development and how determining the size, share, and growth of emerging markets can be done.

What is a future market map?

A future market map scales your business competencies and priorities and defines the future space(s) where you can play and win. Future-focused market mapping supports growth strategy development and provides leadership teams with a validated pathway forward.

Forecasting an emerging market’s relevant opportunities converges science and art. When building a future market map, it is critical to combine the science behind identifying industry disruptors with the art of connecting disruption to consumer needs. Finding this intersection helps define future opportunity by pinpointing where the market is headed and mapping that to the benefits that will be most valued by consumers. When market research techniques (like market size triangulation and qualitative and quantitative approaches) are used, invaluable insights can be uncovered. The full process answers critical questions around what consumers will demand tomorrow and how strategy can meet it.

Additionally, a future market map can inform and steer product concept development. It can increase the odds of creating disruptive innovation and generating consumer uptake.

How to size emerging markets and opportunities

In emerging markets, often there is little, if any, industry data. So, understanding these markets is more challenging. How do you figure out the size, share, and growth of the market and new opportunity spaces within it?

The first step to fully triangulate market size is to review any published information to provide preliminary intelligence on the market, product, or service identified as a potential disruptor.

Then, evaluate bottom-up insights. These insights can be collected through a survey of industry participants including decision makers, purchasers, and users of similar products or services. Surveys provide a significant amount of important data, including who’s in the market (segment), frequency of purchase (incidence), awareness, and relative differences by region, segment, customer type, etc. Additionally, design or product concept scoring information and other estimates based on interest, awareness, and distribution can help build a strong projection of the opportunity size.

Next, conduct top-down analysis. In-depth qualitative interviews conducted with key stakeholders, industry experts, and value chain participants provide valuable insights into the market or product being evaluated. Assessing analog brands or categories along with trends and sales growth mentioned can help inform share estimates. This step also can verify assumptions and kick-start benchmarking.

Once these steps have been completed, the size and growth of the emerging market can be determined. Later, projections can be pressure tested and validated during subsequent phases of research.

Future-focused market analyses equip organizations with data to calculate the “size of the prize.” This information helps leadership teams decide what resources to invest into an emerging market or opportunity to potentially deliver the strongest ROI. Innovation Research and Strategy can provide business intelligence that drives change and promotes sustainable growth.

The Innovation Research and Strategy series is co-led by The Martec Group, a global market research and consulting firm based in metro Detroit, and Great Lakes GrowthWorks, a growth strategy and innovation consulting firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Next in the series: Explore why product concept development and testing is a crucial early phase to keep ahead of industry disruption.

>> Download the Innovation Research and Strategy eBook today.

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