Change is the constant
As change is the only constant in business the needs of customers and markets will change. The question is when is a customer requirement also a new market need?
For a start in most cases an additional demand for a function or feature of a customer is not a market need. You need to avoid at all times the feature creep which will make your product or solution way too complex and difficult to deploy.
B2B Market research
As one customer doesn’t make a market, in order to find out if a need from a customer is a market need you should set-up a marketing research which costs money and time. Even if you would go through this marketing research it is likely your results will be biased or give false results due to the low number of people you can reach in most B2B industries.
A lot of data is required in order to have statistical proof there is a market need instead of a need of just a few customers – which can be early adopters.
Market need migration
In most cases you are clueless as you might see some indicators of a market trend or demand, but it stays a gamble to decide to proceed or not for changing, upgrading or expanding your product or solution with new features.
However is a large part of your client base would ask for the same functions or features then you are pretty sure about a new market need.
A market need can often be already present in the consumer market as the adoption of market demands are faster with consumers. Hence a trend started in retail business is likely to spill over into B2B as the same people are both consumers and business decision makers. Thus what has been adopted widely in B2C has a high probability to be required in B2B too.
Multiple Market need
Of course if almost all your customers start to demand these features, functions or methods then it is clear there is a market need for your market segment.
Similar if you notice that a significant part of your customers switch over to your competitors for very specific feature, function or method it is clear this will be a market need.
How do you know when a customer need is a market need ?