So you had a killer brainstorm that is going to be (or already is) a new product. You know that others like you will be so relieved once they see how you have solved that pesky problem. You developed the prototype. You sourced a manufacturer. You borrowed money to build a website (and it wasn’t easily come by) You got your dba and opened a merchant account. You even have a lawyer. Best yet, you are the first to market – no one has done this before. Wooo hooo!
You’re proud of yourself and you’re feeling like a new future lies in front of you. Cheers!
Suddenly, your email box is inundated by marketers selling you super expensive infomercials for “just $60,000.” The call from the remnant advertising guy offering you space in a national magazine for only $15,000 was tempting. Have you started to wonder where the heck am I going to come up with this kind money? Do you know how cost effective one choice would be over the other?
Can you say what kind of marketing would be the best use your money? Panic sets in when you realize that you really didn’t think about marketing; did you? You may been dreaming of how difference your product is and how it will make you an industry hero, but now the reality of getting your to your customer can be overwhelming. I’ve always said that the development of any product or service without knowing who wants it and where you can find them is a terrible waste of money.
Hands down, the most important question any entrepreneur can ask themselves are these: How do I get my customer to actually buy my product? And talking about my customers, where the heck can I find them? After 20 years in the PR business launching new products, I have seen this trajectory of thought many times. I have met with so many excited entrepreneurs, all of whom have truly great ideas that solve real problems.
The truly rare bird entrepreneur — the one with the highest potential for success — is not the one with the coolest mousetrap, but the one who has figured out how to actually get their product to the people who need it.
Are you a rare bird — or not so sure?
You’re not alone.
Many entrepreneurs get to the point of having a product ready for sale and then slip into a debilitating case of overwhelm. You may be saying to yourself, “I know my industry. I know why this important. My product rocks! But, I don’t know the first thing about marketing. “
This is so common.
Author of “The E Myth,” Michael Gerber, portends that 85% of American businesses are developed by “craftsmen;” mechanics who start automotive repair companies, or chefs who start restaurants. He says that these craftspeople spend 100% of their time doing the part of the business they know, but ignore splitting their time doing business development and building operational systems.
So are you spending 100% of your time making your product really bitchin, packaging cool or your retail space irresistibly beautiful? When you start thinking about getting the word out to people who will actually buy your product or come to your store, do you go blank? Is panic setting into your belly at the very words you just read? Are you flushing thinking about how much money you’ve just spent and realized that you do spend 100% of your time just on your product?
Does your mind spin thinking about the time you’ve committed to this dream?
Well, now that I have you in a dither. Calm down. Take a breath. Just get to the bottom of this, and I promise you’ll walk away with a renewed sense of joy. The overwhelm will subside; I promise. The good news is that the answers to the questions above are actually quite simple and won’t require tons more investment of time or money, but simply going through this simple exercise:
The following is a 5 step exercise that will erase the overwhelm you may be feeling, put you in the driver’s seat with a specific roadmap toward the Emerald City of success. This exercise will set out the course of your future. Truly, without going through this exercise, there is no way you will succeed – it’s that important.
First of all, grab a pen and piece of paper. Do it now. Read through each of these questions below first. Then, go back to the first, read it again and start writing down the answers as they come to you. Do not edit your thoughts. Let the ideas come into your cranium, flow through your shoulder, flood down your arm and right onto the piece of paper —-without any judgment or changes.
This is important.
Let the ideas out onto paper first, then you can look at them later, change your mind, if you wish, but the key is to just get them out of your brain first and edit later; here they are:
1. Who is my customer?
2. Why is my product so perfect for them?
3. Where does my customer hang out?
4. What publications, TV shows, radio programs do they read/see/listen to? What places on the internet does my customer congregate?
5. What commonalities do my customers share with one another?
So, now let’s go through what to do with the answers.
Knowing a profile about your customer, even if you are making educated guesses, is PIVOTAL to giving them what they want and need. Chances are you are you developed this product because you needed it. Come on make some guesses about them:
How old are they?
What business are they in?
What are their interests?
What kinds of communities do they live in?
What do they do for fun?
Who are their friends?
What professional associations are they members of?
Getting clear on why your product is perfect for your customer must be established; especially before you spend one more dime. People buy products because they solve a problem for them. Whether it be a bra that eliminates visible bra lines on a gal who is no longer 18 and svelte, or a clip-on cup holder for cars like my Porsche that somehow were built without that fabulous little amenity, you need to know. And you need to know now.
Think about this in terms of solving your customer’s pain and make a list:
What is killing them right now?
What makes them cringe?
What makes them mad?
What frustrates them?
What do they complain about to their friends?
How can they save time and money?
What would make them smile with happiness if only they knew about it?
Those attributes become your “unique selling proposition” and the basis of all your marketing to your customers. Your job as an entrepreneur is to provide a solution for someone else’s problem. Attempt to get your list into less than 5 words that you can use on packaging, press releases and as an “elevator speech” when someone asks you about your product. So now that you know who your customer is, where do they hang out? What do they read/watch/listen to? To what associations might they be connected?
Where do they spend their time and money?
What do they read?
You can get creative here and don’t need to know a particular industry to answer this question. Make some educated guesses. For example, I would bet that fashion designers probably read Vogue and WWD religiously. They probably subscribe to the Daily Candy online might be alumni of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. They probably shop a lot and can be found in malls on the weekends and evenings seeing what else is out there. They are passionate about fashion and can most likely be found in any situation having to do with it.
If you have trouble figuring out where they are, make a list of where they are not.
Using our fashion designer example, I’d say that fashion designers are probably not skiing in the winter and riding bikes in the summer. They probably spend many hours in the mall and make it a pastime, as opposed to a chore. They are probably not at football games or gardening on the weekend. They most likely don’t eat at McDonald’s and don’t watch The History Channel.
Does that make sense?
So, why is this important? Because these are the associations where you might make presentations, the magazines in which you request report about your product and the organizations whose websites you sponsor. For example the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising probably has speakers come in to talk with their students. They probably have a magazine that goes to their alumni. They might even have an intern program. Voila; instant access.
Now the last question really helps to drill down to more about who you customer really is. The value of knowing the commonalities your customers share will help you determine where you spend your time and money, and in what order. Knowing the commonalities your customers share will create the shape of your marketing program. You will find out who your real targets are and if you have other customers who are possible buyers, but aren’t worth spending your highest amount of dollars and time one.
Going back to the fashion designer example, ask yourself of the things that you guessed about them, which are the most common things they share? Of the examples we discussed I’d say that the most common thing they’d share is a subscription to Vogue. Second, I’d say it’s probable they graduated from a fashion trade school like the Fashion Institute of Merchandising or the Fashion Institute of Technology.
So, now that you have all these questions answered, make a list of those customers and split them up into groups of most probable to buy your product.
Order them into a priority of three categories.
1. The first are the most probable customers;
2. the second are somewhat likely;
3. and the third are a decent possibility.
Then match up the commonalities to your target customers.
Now make a list of the professional associations where your customers might be members. Get their websites. Call them and see if they have any in-house newsletters. Ask if they sell their mailing lists. See if they do special events where you can come speak to their members. List the magazines that your customers subscribe to and read. Go buy them. Flip through the magazines and find the sections where they might report about your product. Write down the names of the journalists who wrote those articles.
Make a list of your customers “pains.”
Next to the “pains,” list the attributes about your product that quells your customer’s pain.
Now here’s how this all ties together:
Write a sentence about your product that includes the customer’s pain and how your product solves it. Play around with it. Write it over and over again. Use different words to say the same thing. Take out all extraneous words. Most of all, make it rich and very simple.
Federal Express’ USP was: “When it positively has to get there overnight.”
Domino’s Pizza said, “hot pizza on your doorstep in 30 minutes or less.”
This becomes your “unique selling proposition” and the phrase you lead with when you call the professional associations and press outlets you listed above.
There are THOUSANDS of other marketing things you can do to get your product to your customers, but if you just start here, I promise that you will never feel overwhelmed again. When you know who your customer is, you will never have a question about how to appeal to them. You now know what your customers love, hate and where they hang out; they will never again elude you again.
As time goes on, you’ll refine your customer attributes, the lists of where to find them and continue branching out your marketing programs, but for now, give yourself a pat on the back and put one foot in front of the other. You have lists – a roadmap – just start in the beginning and journey down the road. Success lies with educated effort, not necessarily born talent. One of my favorite quotes from Winston Churchill says: “Education will not. Privilege will not. Experience may not. Tenacity wil
So, how do you feel now?
Has the belly ache subsided?
Are you excited about Monday?
Go get ’em Tiger!
Source by Alyson Dutch