It’s turtles all the way down 🐢 🐢 🐢
A reader writes in in reply to a previous daily letter and asks:
Am I right that market research (https://freelance.camp/glossary/#Market_Research) is just a way to verify your positioning (https://freelance.camp/glossary/#Positioning)? Doesn’t positioning already include the things that you should uncover through market research? Therefore, shouldn’t you do market research first?
In truth, positioning and market research are tightly, closely linked. It’s a delicate dance that requires some level of skill, meticulousness, and balance.
The market research you do feeds into your positioning. Your updated positioning affects your market research, which feeds back into your positioning, which feeds back into…
It’s turtles all the way down 🐢
But in practice, you don’t need absolutely perfect information. You need good enough information that helps you target the smallest possible audience. And you get there by iterating through Positioning and Market Research.
You can start with either positioning or market research, but then you move back and forth through the two as you learn more.
In practice, that can look like starting with positioning:
Simple, yet powerful, SEO!
But you aren’t (yet!) sure of a specific target market. So you engage in some market research to learn about SEO and who’s buying it. You decide, “Hey, this Ecommerce thing looks like it’ll stick around. Let’s set up shop next to that river of money.”
So your positioning updates to:
Simple, yet powerful, SEO for Ecommerce
You restart your market research, talk with Ecommerce store owners/service providers/authorities, read a few books, and listen to a few recorded talks on YouTube.
Along the way, you discover that Ecommerce is super heckin’ large as a market, but this Shopify thing looks neat and is a smaller part of the market.
You update your positioning to:
Simple, yet powerful, SEO for Shopify stores
Then, you dive back into market research to learn more. You talk to Shopify store owners, study competitors, read articles, watch videos, chat with merchants…
…And you discover that Shopify is still a super large target market. But along the way you learn that what store owners need is help optimizing their top-performing product pages to get more traffic from Google.
Your positioning stays the same, but you take your market research findings and feed them into your service offerings.
It’s a delicate dance
You’re never truly done with your positioning or market research. Every client you work with, every bit of self-study you do and every talk you watch helps you better inform your positioning and market research.
By the way, if you’re working on your positioning and market research and can use the perspective of someone who’s been there before, you’ll want to book a 1-on-1 call.
On a 1-on-1 call, we’ll talk through where you are, what you’ve learned so far, and what your next steps are: https://kaidavis.com/services/call/