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Market Research

Revealing Gaps, Targets and Audiences for a New Product or Service Idea

GDE 730 Week 11

Dan Parry explained how one achieves a proposal for a minimum viable product (MVP) in this week's lecture.  He broke this down into 5 sections of market research that validate a business idea.  The constructs for analysis are; audience, questioning, SWOT, competitors, and network.


When addressing your potential audience, Parry communicates the requirement to investigate who they are, not just in terms of their age, marital status, residence, etc but also a psychoanalytical approach.  He aks any would-be entrepreneur to delve into the motivations, desires, and patterns of said demographic behaviour.  

Another aspect of audience research is to consider where the product/service would be used/accessed and why the need for it in the first place.  There should be particular attention here to differentials in purchaser and end-user, for example, a parent buying a product for their child.


As soon as one starts to ask questions, it facilitates response that then builds a data pool for analysis.  The types of questions one poses and the order that one asks them will have a bearing on the results.  Parry describes this as the difference between qualitative and quantitative questions.  Qualitative questions, he explains, are those designed to reach the human nature of a person and are therefore ideal for eliciting data around psychology and behaviour.  Quantitative on the other hand leads to numerical statistics that can be interpreted to provide a 'holistic' view of respondents.  Parry warns that leading questions or asking the wrong people will scew the results.


SWOT analysis that appears on many a business plan template is a very useful tool to use when considering a new venture plan.  The trickiest part of a SWOT analysis is the ability of the proposer to be honest and objective when reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing their idea.  This takes some soul searching and facing up to reality.


Parry elaborates that threats can come in the form of competitors however it can be useful if you identify their strengths and try to mirror them in your own business.  A useful tool for finding business within the same sector of business is to use


Last week I looked at how important networking is to a fledgling business.  The old saying "it's not what you know, it's who you know" definitely has merit and Parry agrees when he divulges his techniques for engaging the target audience even before business inception.  His underlining advice is to 'talk' to your audience, find ways to connect with them.  There are numerous ways of doing this, through social media, group email lists, hashtag searches etc.  An interesting investigation could undertaken on review sites, asking 'what are people are loving or hating?'

Parry also suggests launching a landing page that tells an audience what you are proposing with a method for feedback or mailing list sign-up.  Statistics taken from the site can help you decide if the idea has legs.  In the same vein, google analytics can help make sense of your website traffic data, and recording how people navigate your page, using HOTJAR screen recorder, can provide insights about audience behaviour. 


There are some very useful analytical techniques proposed by Dan Parry that would thoroughly test the viability of any business idea and the overarching theme for establishing a minimum viable product is backing up all assumptions you have made with evidence and facts.  Proving the concept has merit, worthy of time and investment must be an entrepreneur's strategic plan for success.

Workshop Challenge

In light of my summary above, I set about proving the validity of my concept this week for the workshop challenge that asked us to:

  • Select one of your ideas from the previous week and develop a clear business outline of your intended audience outlets for distribution or purchase.

  • You may need to evolve aspects of the proposition and ensure there is a clear objective for the next stages of development.

  • Your output will include product development, research insights, and production challenges; all of which will come together in the final week of this module.

  • Upload the artifact and evidence of any development undertaken (this might also include brand names and approach to the product’s story), and include a one-page report outlining research, insights, and development challenges.

My Idea (as posted on the Ideas Wall)

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Proposal Assumptions

1.  Business owners care about staff & stakeholder wellbeing, health & safety enough to produce policies and establish procedures to minimise risk.

Health & Safety marketing publication Health & Safety, identifies that since the Covid 19 pandemic, business owners are auditing and reviewing the health, safety, and welfare of their employees at work and at home (in the case of continued home working)  This demonstrates that the market is active and buoyant in 2021 and therefore products or services related to this are likely to be successful.

2. Business owners require support to communicate policies and procedures effectively with staff.

The size of the Health & Safety consultation, Health & Safety Training Markets plus the level of guidance offered by the Health & Safety Executive indicates that businesses do require help to implement policies and procedures, however, this does not confirm the need for support to produce designed H&S documents or literature. 

3.  Business owners are prepared to spend money to have bespoke documents designed conveying H&S policy and procedures to employees in clear, concise and engaging ways.

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Testing the market with a post on a popular online forum, facilitated some negative responses to the idea.  The main concerns being; whether I have enough Health & Safety knowledge to accurately convey information, that businesses are not concerned with how Health & Safety information looks but rather that it conveys the message clearly (a poster designed on word being an acceptable method of communication) and that the size of the business market I target would have a bearing on how favorable the service is received, for example, small businesses would place no value on paying for such as service, particularly when there are free posters, etc to download online or from the local authority.  Medium or large corporations are likely to have an in-house design department that would tackle this task.

One positive suggestion was to reach out to Health & Safety Consultants and offer them the service for their customers.  I have spoken to a consultant who felt there was merit in the idea, however, he is yet to provide any further feedback.

4.  Employees would be engaged with the infographic communication, enough to absorb the message therein.

I believe this element comes down to the skills of the designer in constructing literature and documents that draw attention, are well-considered for layout, colour, and hierarchy moreover the designer also needs to consider viewers with impairments or language barriers within the organisation they are catering for.  My experience as a teacher informs me about the importance of differentiation when educating people, in which a user's preferred learning style is considered when producing resources, for example, using visual, kinesthetic, or auditory outputs.

5.  I have the necessary skills to interpret company procedures into engaging, clear & effective communications.

As an existing Health & Safety administrator for my husband's business, I am working with an experienced consultant and learning fast about this sector.  I am also studying to become NEBOSH qualified for Health & Safety (the industry-standard qualification).  I am also learning Graphic Design skills and understanding on my MA course.  The recent post of a Health & Safety designed leaflet for staff on PPE was uploaded to the ideas wall for professional peer feedback (shown below).

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Feedback on one design from 2 respected respondents who have a great deal of experience as Graphic Designers indicates a gap in my knowledge and skills.  I need to have a much better appreciation & understanding of grid systems, hierarchy, typographic application, sign systems and infographics in order to produce something that is visually engaging AND clear.  The design being too confusing on the eye and not well considered for user readability.

6.  This is a niche in the market brought about by increased awareness of Health & Safety regulations and HSE expectations, particularly in the wake of Covid 19 pandemic.



































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The extract from the UK legislation, The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, shown above clearly identifies the employer's responsibility to communicate risks and prevention measures with their workforce.

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The extract above taken from the Health & Safety Executive guidance on consulting with staff, shows the importance of clear, effective and engaging communication.  In my proposed role as design service provider, I could work with business representatives, such as employees to support methods of communication in their workplace.








The paragraph above taken from The Guardian Newspaper article entitled "Health & Safety, It's about the bottom line, not just bad backs", clearly illustrates businesses recognising the value in addressing Health & Safety matters in the workplace and supports my assumption that this is a growing sector with potential areas of design exploitation.

Final Outcome - Artefact Report





















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Falmouth University,  Lecture – Guest Practitioner: Dan Parry, Available at:


Health & Safety Matters, Pandemic heightens health & safety awareness (2020)

Available at:

Health & Safety Executive, Consulting employees on health and safety: A brief guide to the law, Crown Copyright (2013), Available at:

UK Legislation, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Available at:

Coleman, A, Health and safety – it's about the bottom line, not just bad backs, The Guardian, 2nd February 2018, Available at:

Stocksigns About Us Page, Available at:

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