Got A Brilliant Product Idea! Now What?

You came up with a great product idea and you want to go for it! So what should you do next?

When you think you’ve created the next big thing, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and go full force with the idea. Passion is indeed a component for success, but it’s also important to remain focused and realistic about your expectations. Launching products can be extremely exciting and fulfilling, but it can also become pretty overwhelming.

Taking baby steps especially if it’s your first product launch may be just what you need to get you prepared and well-positioned to grow your business successfully. It’s not always good to go full force even if you have the capital to fund your idea.

Here are three things that may help in the process.

1. RESEARCH & PLANNING. Gathering as much information in the beginning is so important. It is always best to understand the marketplace – what the market demands, your ideal clients and what they’re willing to pay for your products.

At this stage, shop online and at retailers that you think would carry your products, visit showrooms, gift marts and tradeshows as part of your market research. If your product happens to be in the gift category, for instance, there are several gift shows across the United States that are mostly held twice a year. Check out your potential competitors, find out what’s doing well, talk to retailers and get their feedback – they’re a great resource.

Shows are also a great way to get ideas for your products and connect with possible sales reps to represent your line…although I often suggest to my clients to start on their own first and then entertain reps at a later date. The reason for this is you have to pay a commission to a rep which will decrease your profit margin. Besides, YOU are your best sales person. Although this may take up a lot of your time, there is no one more effective who can sell your products than YOU.

Of course, there are advantages to hiring reps. If you choose to do this, just be sure that you have their commission built into your pricing model and that you remain profitable (more on this to follow).

2. PRICING. Pricing is a major factor when doing a product launch. You could have a great product but if the market cannot accommodate the price that you have in mind, it will be a challenge to sell your product. Look at your competition and check out how much they’re selling their products. Do a price comparison on your product line. Make sure before you even go into production that you’re going to be able to sell your products at a price that is PROFITABLE for you! I know this may seem obvious but I’ve seen so many people launch without having a pricing model.

Keep in mind that you may start online because it’s the easiest and more profitable way to sell your products, but you may have plans to grow and sell to independent boutiques and possibly to department stores and major retailer, which means you’ll eventually have to hire reps. So you need to make sure your pricing works for all scenarios. Having a pricing model can ensure that you’ll still be profitable even when adding reps, working with smaller margins or adding additional expenses such as warehousing, etc.

I always tell my clients to make sure you look at pricing across all market channels even if you don’t have any intentions to sell to larger chain accounts. It will be challenging to change pricing once your products are already in the market. AND, you can’t have a product selling online at one price and a different price at a retail store. The last thing you want to do is to create competition between you and your customers (retailers). If you must, just make sure that your customers are aware of this from the get go.

3. TESTING. Testing is key when launching a product to the marketplace. The internet, faires, bazaars, shows and expos are all great ways to sell your products initially. A lot of successful business owners started by selling their products at these smaller venues. It’s also particularly a great way to get feedback on your products before doing any large volume production. Most retailers, especially mass chains usually do a test run before committing to a larger P.O (purchase orders) on any product lines especially a brand new line and a brand new company, so you should do the same. You can start by selling your products on your website, sell them on other sites such as etsy.com and amazon.com.

Also, when you approach a buyer, one of the things they may ask is how much sales you’ve made on your product line, so having sell through number to present to them demonstrates that there is demand for your brand new product line in the marketplace.

How to Craft an Effective Product Marketing Strategy

Product marketing strategy refers to a marketing developing plan which introduces a new technical product. It can be a very exciting and challenging aspect of product launching and marketing for a product. However, it can also be painless, but at the same time very confusing only when we lose sight of our objectives. If you are interested in understanding how to create a product marketing strategy, well this article will help you with this endeavour.

Here are the essentials you must include within your product marketing strategy:

Mission statement: this includes the manufacturing objectives, Corporate Mission Statement, marketing objectives and product development objectives.
Customers: you must consider how many customers you have? What they are buying? What practical and emotional problems and issues are they trying to solve? What size of your market? What is the customer’s price point? What it takes to be successful in an order? How long would it take to be successful with a product? How does a customer use competitive products? What is the present happiness with competitors?
Market Segmentation: you must include set customers (needs distribution, industry, and geography). In addition you must narrow and select the targets, label the segments, and consider the differences and similarities.
Competitors: seek to understand what your competitors are doing at the present time? Where and how often do they advertise? What would be the nature of the sale presentation? What are their pricing? Distribution methods? The position they take? The reaction of the competitors towards threats? How do lesser competitors differ from the successful? Marketing share quota? Comparison to your company with threats, strengths, and weaknesses.
Product position: it is necessary for you to differentiate your service and product. Remember the opportunity is out there, it is up to you to find it though. You must also describe your products and seek your customer’s interests.
Understand your customer’s psychological needs.
Market testing: that is you should display your promotional concepts and product to customers.
Making strategic decisions: wherein you decide on new and improved revenue, profits and growth, new product development, pricing, distribution, service and sales force, customer’s psychological factors (not benefits and features), and on product promotion for all new products.
Write an action plan: which must include a pert chart on product development, a calendar of planned media, and a budget.
Implement your plan: you can hold daily meetings to review sales progress and leads. It is imperative that you provide a lead tracking system and revisit your plan and update when necessary.

How to Use Twitter to Launch a Product

I’d like to show you how one company marketed their business and were able to market their product using twitter only. To be successful with Twitter, it’s very simple. You need to build and grow your list of followers. To do this, we use the find people function and we search by keywords.

For example, if your company sells software products, then you could do a keyword search for PC, and a list of the top Twitter accounts with those keywords come up. Then, you can click on the top accounts and see who is following them. It’s safe to assume that whoever is following your competition is interested in what you’re doing as well.

Just click the “FOLLOWERS” button to see who is following your competition. Using a simple piece of software, you can follow all and add those followers to your Twitter account. Then, they will receive an email asking them if they want to follow you. When they do, they’ll add to your list of followers. It’s that simple.

After a week, you can UNFOLLOW people who didn’t reciprocate the follow. Then, it’s a simple wash, rinse, and repeat through your competition. Then, you’ll twitter your product and service. If you have ANY product or service, you most definitely need an affiliate program that pays 30 to 50%. If it’s monthly, then you should be paying your affiliates the monthly fee that you collect. This will cause a chain reaction with Twitter.

You have one person that buys it.. signs up for the affiliate program and posts on Twitter. Then, their friends will see it and post their affiliate link on Twitter and so forth. My advice to you is to keep the FOLLOW at 999 or under per day. That way, you go under the radar and Twitter has been known to shut accounts that add too many in one day to their account.