Marketing a new product

“Build a better mousetrap and the World will beat a path to your door”, so the old saying goes. If it were only that easy… there is more to it than just coming up with a product idea. It’s called MARKETING! While many new ideas may have merit, the path to success is quite involved and requires a substantial budget and professional assistance. It is like consulting with an Architect BEFORE you begin construction. The Architect not only designs the structure, but more important, engineers it to be sound.  A Marketing Consultant will work with you to engineer your product launch along with designing the advertising and PR. Here are nine points for a successful new product presentation:

1- Protect the Concept. There is an Automatic Copyright provision of the law which states: Works are automatically protected by U.S. copyright laws. As of January 1, 1978, under U.S. copyright law, a work is automatically protected by copyright when it is created. The owner of those rights is the creator. While there is an implied copyright, getting a patent or patents on the mechanical or functioning part of the idea will assure that no one can steal the idea. For this you will need an attorney who specializes in patents. Always identify your product as “Patent Pending”.

2- Branding the Product. Come up with a cleaver name and even a slogan for your product. This should be accompanied with a logo. The image of the product is depicted in the quality of the artwork, so have it professionally designed. Include a “TM” as part of the logo Initially, or until your Trademark can be registered. So, you will need the services of a Graphic Designer, or better yet a Marketing Consultant and a Trademark Attorney.

3- Prototype Development and Testing. In the processing of making the first few products and testing them, you may have to alter your design for a variety of reasons which may include improved functionality, fixing problems and reducing production costs to name a few. Document your testing results as they will be needed in the marketing phase.

4- Setting the Product Price. This is a combination of the operating costs of production, marketing, distribution and profits. Product costs are also determined by competitive products on the market, features and benefits and sales volume. Here is where a Marketing Consultant can be of great help.

5- Establishing Production. Who is going to manufacture your product? If you have the capabilities, you will have to “tool up”. Even then, there may be portions of the product that are beyond your capabilities that you will have to farm out. Or, you may decide to have the entire product line manufactured by an outside firm. In which case, several factors come into play, they include the production costs and the capabilities to produce and deliver.

6- Warehousing. Unless you have a sophisticated, build-to-order product, you will need to maintain an inventory at some convenient location. This may be at your facility, an off-site location or an independent, drop-ship location.

7- Distribution. How are you going to Sell? Are you going direct to the Consumer? Going through Distributors? Selling at Retail Outlets? This decision involves different pricing structures and marketing strategies. Your Marketing Consultant will help you explore the options.

8- Marketing Strategy. Before the above points are established, it is critical that you consult an experienced marketing professional who will provide advice and direction to get started in the right direction, and avoid oversights and costly mistakes. A Marketing Consultant will work with you and address all points plus layout the elements for your product launch. These include a coordinated effort of: Packaging (if applicable), a Website, New Product Releases, Collateral (Brochures, Product Sheets, etc.), Media (Print, DM and Social), advertising elements (Ads, Displays, etc.), Trade Show Promotions and other elements unique to your product and market along with a Marketing Budget to design, produce and implement the marketing program.

9-  Launching a New Product Campaign. With all elements scheduled to hit at the same time,  timing is crucial for the greatest impact. This is a concerted effort of PR, Media and Sales Promotion. Response is closely monitored so that any issues can be addressed for the follow-up and on-going marketing program.

Every successful marketing effort requires planning, timing, an adequate budget plus the outside objectivity of an experienced marketing professional. Anything less will be doomed for failure. Marketers that attempt to get by doing it themselves often waste money on inefficient attempts and miss essential factors. This is why 90% of new businesses fail within the first two years.

For More Information: Tom Smisek Marketing Consultants, Orange County