The Superconductive Circuit Board

A PCB Manufacturer’s Brush with Market Research

Posted by Paul Jackson on Tue, Dec 01, 2015 @ 12:14 PM

A how-to conduct market research for small and medium tech businesses

For SME businesses, conducting market research can be a daunting task which above all else requires the skill of listening.

Most of the market research coursework learned in the past is outdated as the tools have fundamentally changed. We chose to conduct a market research survey to gather information about the viability of adding a new Prototyping service with the following goals:

  • The survey would need to short, concise and unobtrusive
  • Be flexible enough to allow us to ask the questions we needed
  • Had to provide clear results

These goals also needed to be accomplished without annoying or alienating our audience. Too many times, after assurances a survey will only take 5 minutes, an hour later we find ourselves building database queries to gather the information being requested.

For our example, we were interested in the market acceptance of a new product involving a multi-layer PCB prototype service. Although there seems to be an endless number of on-line tools available, we chose what we felt would work best for our customers and us.

Our business uses Hubspot, a dynamic inbound marketing and sales platform made substantially more powerful through the creative and technically astute direction of Kayak Creative, our web marketing and design firm. We also chose SurveyMonkey free services and we integrated the survey directly into Hubspot to make the most out of the effort.

The process was remarkably simple:

  1. Within SurveyMonkey, create the survey of 3 questions and an area for comments (devising questions which will result in clear responses is much more difficult than it should be)
  2. Gather the list of 600+ contacts directly from recent visitors to our website
  3. Create the email within Hubspot which contains the link to the survey
  4. Determine the optimum day and time for the email to be released
  5. Review the results to help make the go/no-go decision about the product offering

After sending out the survey, we were encouraged by the engagement results. According to marketing benchmarks for B2B we did quite well. We were surprised by how many customers accessed the survey from mobile but also by the relatively low click through rate for these devices.


Some of the survey results also surprised us.

The first question was to determine how likely the respondent might use a 4-layer PCB prototyping service in the short term with the following key features: 0.062 thickness, Immersion White Tin finish and E-testing included. The results:

Very Unlikely Unlikely I'm not certain Likely Very Likely
9% 6% 19% 36% 30%

The second question would help us short-list which features were most important and would need to be added to the 4-layer prototype service. We also provided the cost adder required to support each of the selected features. To help with the accuracy, SurveyMonkey allowed random ordering of these options to be presented to respondents. The results let us know how the requirements for drill sizes, silkscreen options, space and trace widths and internal slots were weighted.

The third question focussed on lead-time requirements and the responses were clear enough to reset our pre-conceived notions about the delivery expectations.

The last section gave respondents the opportunity to provide comments, questions or concerns about this or any of our other services. Again the responses were very positive ranging from

  • “This is a great idea!”
  • “would be nice to have a price estimator online”
  • “ I have always been happy with the service and quality at Omni”

The results from the survey were encouraging and provided some sage advice from many respondents who clearly had our best interest at heart. Wondering if we will launch this new product? From the responses and pre-orders we received, we decided on a 4-Layer Prototype pilot launch. Hopefully we have done a good job of listening.


Tags: pcb quote, printed circuit board manufacturing, prototype pcb

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Omni Circuit Boards is an e-sensitive manufacturer of Printed Circuit Boards.

Omni Circuit Boards has been in the printed circuit board fabrication business since 1985. It has been our goal to be as environmentally conscientious as possible.

We are committed to keeping our customers and the future of our children front of mind.

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