Voice of the market in chemical: why and how to choose your third-party

Published November 12, 2020

Product launch failure haunting the specialty chemical industry isn't from a lack of good ideas. But each time a chemical innovation is tweaked to the wrong tune, its success potential diminishes.

Innovators must listen intently to the right market’s needs prior to launch. But, permeating unfamiliar segments for insights isn’t easy.

So, research gets performed on existing customers, resulting in botched launches. Why? Because current customers don't always match the target market, and they often provide biased, shallow, unusable feedback on poorly framed questions.

Third parties offer ideal spaces to grasp the voice of even unfamiliar markets. Working your prototype to what insights you hear can help your innovation reach the right hands in its most powerful form and with the fastest track.

In this article, we share our top 3 reasons why third parties are great assets to hear the true market voice, as well as the criteria for choosing the right one.

Note: For the sake of clarity, what we call a "third-party" across this article encompasses consulting companies, digital media and material selection platforms like SpecialChem and Prospector™.


Why using a third-party to hear the market voice?

Reason 1: Test early, fail forward to increase chances of commercial success

fall-carpetAll innovations brewing in your R&D cauldron may seem like juggernauts, but most are mediocre at best. Only the “hero-concept” should be nourished through capital and labor.

Identifying a winning idea and finding input to refine it using traditional routes is a drawn-out, years-long process.

A third-party provides a faster alternative, offering a live sandbox to fail-and-perfect innovations based on potential customers’ feedback.

It shrinks time-exhaustive market discovery and in-depth feedback gathering to a few weeks. You can test your idea or prototype (in its various iterations) across multiple customer segments simultaneously, giving you a broad data set to compare and contrast quickly.


Reason 2: Check the pulse of out-of-reach markets

heartbeatEvery concept seems groundbreaking until humbled by rigorous tests and constructive feedback. Companies rely on two main channels to hear market’s voice, yet both produce distorted voices swaddled in bias:

  • Existing customer base: Innovators pitch biased questions and selectively listen to feedback that aligns with existing beliefs. Customers revert with whatever perks up the chemical company’s ears as they can’t risk displeasing the vendor of chemicals that their products need.

  • Trade Shows: These are time-dependent and infrequent, requiring concepts in a tangible form: you can’t get feedback on arbitrary ideas. Gathered data here are biased, too. Expecting yourself to be impartial talking about something you believe to be the best thing since sliced bread is just naivety. And recent Covid-19 is not going to make the task any easier for the next few months.

Third parties counter the drawbacks of both channels. They let you interact and accumulate bias-free technical feedback from chemical professionals in unfamiliar markets, regions, and new companies within your current market, all-year-round.


Reason 3: Speed-up your innovation success

sport-fireA chemical company's most coveted asset to fuel its innovation is a vast network of hyper-engaged target professionals. Once constructed, you can repeatedly dip into this source to explore market opportunities, validate and fine-tune future innovations.

Manually architecting this network is a labor and capital-intensive endeavor. Besides discovering and approaching such profiles (especially when exploring unfamiliar markets), you must still undertake the trial-error process of finding the most effective way to gather bias-free, in-depth data.

Third-party are a shortcut to getting insights from chemical users searching for materials for their projects. You can quickly survey prospects from even unfamiliar segments to amass their feel for your concept.

Surveying them under a third-party keeps you undercover, safeguarding results from external or internal bias. Your product takes the stage, not your brand name.


How to pick a third-party who clearly speaks your market’s voice

business-raceAny company entering a new market knows the roadblocks involved. Many third-party websites promise to help chemical companies interact with their intended target audience through mailshots, newsletters, etc.

But not all such platforms or companies can collect high-quality market insights and connect you with relevant innovation partners.

If your innovation ends up in the screen of irrelevant professionals who are not ready to share their feedback, you will waste funds and time.

Third parties must be vetted to determine their efficacy for your innovation. Consider these three qualifiers:

Network Relevance: is it the right audience?

  • Do they specialize in the industry your innovation wishes to serve?
  • How did they build their community? Is it active?
  • What company titles can they reach?
  • What percentage of your target audience makes up their user base?

Market Reach: is it representative of the market?

  • Their traffic and network size
  • The number of chemical professionals in their network
  • The markets and regions covered
  • How many companies and positions match your target profiles

Methodology & Experience: is it suitable?

  • Specific services to collect market insights from network users
  • Technical and marketing skills to frame your project and gather learnings correctly
  • Dedicated teams overseeing feedback collection, analysis and actionable recommendations


Hearing the voice of your market doesn’t have to take years.

At SpecialChem, we have developed Insight Solutions a few years ago, to give chemical suppliers the opportunity not to compromise between the network relevancy, the market reach and an effective methodology.

As a result, we deliver a wealth of actionable — bias-free — market insights in just four to six months.

Yet a vast majority of chemical suppliers still rely on methods that are no longer effective today. As a result, a staggering 60% of specialty chemicals fail within five years of launch. Do you really want to take that risk?


Will the market adopt your next chemical or material innovation?
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