How Many Interviews Does it Take to Make a Decision?

I recently read that Ikea will be doing market research with their customers.

They want to get some ideas for new product development. No big surprise there.

What did surprise me was HOW MANY they were going to do. Not a focus group of 10-12 customers in 3 different cities… or even 2 sets of 10-12 customers in 3 different cities.

Not the 125 or 150 people of one-on-one in person surveys that are sometimes called a mall intercept.

No, they are going to talk with 1,000 of their consumers! In person – at their house – looking at their furniture.

I find that number pretty amazing. I imagine that they will be using customer service staff, R&D staff, marketing staff and more to get all those interviews done in a year. I can just imagine the report! Better not print it out unless you have a few reams of paper!

They’re sure to get lots of ideas, but with a 1,000 interviews, it’s almost like combining qualitative and quantitative market research!

I’m curious… How many in-person interviews have you done with your clients or customers to make a decision? Do you use the results to improve current products, validate new products before launch or brainstorm new ideas? Leave a message in the comments below.

Hunting for the Silver Bullet

Find the one tool needed to market a consumer product is like looking for a needle in a haystack.All I need is a logo and a website.

I heard that the other day from a business owner who wants to market a consumer product.

It’s really not one single thing.

Maybe it seems like that. But if you want to find the silver bullet to market a consumer product, you’ll be looking for a needle in a haystack.  And you won’t find that ONE THING.  Because it’s not one thing.

There’s channels of distribution and each stop along the way needs something else, other marketing tools, to help keep the product moving along to the next stop.

Yes, a website helps. And a logo. But that’s just a small part. Only a beginning.

The “yellow brick road” has to have some bricks in it to help them lead the way. It’s not a matter of “build it and they will come.” Most of us are overwhelmed with offers of products, information and services. Trying to find what we really need to solve our problems and improve our lives, well, it’s like looking for the needle in a haystack.

Just throwing your product out there with a logo and a website won’t do it. And you can’t blame the website and or logo from not bringing in the orders.

Market a Consumer Product

There is no one thing that is the answer when it comes to marketing. It’s many things. Over time. Many tools in marketing work together to keep the pipeline full. Repetition. Consistency. And following a step-by-step progression.

What do you really need to launch a new product or a new brand? Businesses with new products often only have a very limited amount of money to spend on marketing. You’ve got to make the right choices, but don’t get hung up on a couple of tools and tactics. Marketing is a process.

And there is no silver bullet.  It’s all your marketing tools pulling together, over time, to help lead and direct your product through the channel of distribution.

Why Good Enough is Actually a Better Choice in Product Development

Good enough is actually better
Good enough is actually better!

So often in product development the engineer or designer wants to focus on the quality and multiple features to make the very best product possible. This can be a mistake.

Price and benefits must be considered. I’m not saying that quality isn’t important, but the focus has to be on the customer and consumer. Not on the product.

Overbuilding can be the reason for a wonderful product’s demise.

Take a look at VHS vs BETAMAX. Channel of distribution, size and weight of product, price all were more important than the quality of the product.

Too often every bell and whistle is added to a product, making it too expensive. As my dad says “that’s just one more thing to break.”

Why Good Enough is Actually a Better Choice for Marketing Projects

The same goes for marketing communication projects. Putting everything into one website designed for a huge audience may not be the right solution. Cumbersome. Expensive. Lengthy. Difficult to update.

Consider the brochure that has too much information. Does it do it’s work? Not on your life. People who see too much copy on a page tend to skim at best, but more likely just put the brochure back into the holder.

The postcard or billboard with too much copy. Doesn’t work. The video that is too long… not watched.

The newsletter that never ends, too many articles, too many links, not enough editing. Not read.

Have you ever had a project that didn’t stop at “Good Enough”?

Planning to Sell a New Product? Don’t Forget these 25 Marketing Should Have’s!

I’ve talked with many inventors and entrepreneurs who get very excited about their new product.

They’ve spent years building prototypes, convincing family and friends into investing in their idea and trying to meet the person who can help them get it listed with a retailer or distributor for instant sales.

Marketing your new product is that important step between creating a new product and selling a new product.

What many of them forget is that the marketing function takes a product over the bridge from the R&D phase of research and development into the sales phase of meeting with retailers, distributors and even the content for an ecommerce website where they can sell direct to the end user.

Marketing is about more than listing the features – it defines the benefits and advantages of the product – to each and every step along the supply chain.  WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) is the rallying cry of each step and marketing provides the breadcrumbs to help each link understand their advantage for carrying a product thru the chain.

25 Key New Product Marketing Should Have’s:

  1. Correct colors
  2. Unique URL
  3. Keywords
  4. Defined benefits
  5. Good margin
  6. Competitive pricing
  7. Strong photography
  8. Compelling description
  9. Easy-to-Understand Reason to Buy
  10. Wow factor
  11. Memorable name
  12. A clear way to reach the end user
  13. Preferably a patent, a tradename, a trademark – something you can protect
  14. Support materials
  15. Testimonials
  16. About the company launching the product
  17. Independent test results
  18. Social media bait – how to video? beautiful photos? Reason to like?
  19. Instructions for assemble, care and use, battery replacement, etc
  20. High resolution logos
  21. Press release with media contact
  22. Background Fact Sheet
  23. Website with blog
  24. ______________
  25. ______________

Obviously not all the Should Have’s are appropriate for every product.  It depends if you are launching a business-to-business product, a business-to-consumer product or a something else entirely.  What’s your main channel of distribution? Mom and Pop retail stores? Big Box Chains? E-commerce from your website? Amazon or eBay?  Each channel has a unique challenge for your product.

What are the two Key Marketing Should Have’s that I’m missing?  Leave a comment below!
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Launching a New Product? Three Important Legal Concepts for Protecting Your New Product and Business

copyright trademark patentYou’ve got a great idea for a product. You know who you want to market to and have found a manufacturer to help you make the prototypes.

Before you start branding and marketing your product, you’d be wise to learn about intellectual property.

Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer, you should consult an attorney who specializes in patents and trademarks. Patents can help give legal rights to the creator of the product, this can ensure that other people and companies cannot use that idea in other ways. Patents are a positive thing to have, especially when marketing your business to investors, for example. They look even better when shown to investors in a patent plaque too. In order to start applying for a patent, meet with an attorney.

It is surprising how often a company will want to get a logo designed before there has been any trademark or service mark search and after they’ve spent all the time to tweak the logo (as well as the budget set aside to develop it), they find out they can’t use the name or design because it’s too similar to another mark. Don’t let this happen to you!

Before You Market It, Protect It

Do you know the difference between a trademark registration, patent and copyright?

1) A patent only protects your idea in the country that you’ve filed it and only for a specified amount of time.

2) A trademark protects the word or symbol you use (like a logo or name) to trade the product or service. It can last indefinitely as long as you continue to use it.

3) A copyright covers an author’s work, applying to original works of literature, music, software, whether they are published or unpublished. You can NOT copyright your product’s name, tag line or logo… that’s where a trademark comes in.

Learn more from Nolo, LegalZoom, the United States Patent and Trademark Office for patent search, trademark search and the U.S. Copyright office.