I once had a boss who asked me why we published so many books that were not bestsellers. He wanted to know why we didn’t just publish the bestselling ones and reject the rest. It was a naive question, but one that crops up in every industry. Why don’t we all just launch the profitable ideas and not the mistakes? Shouldn’t there be a way to determine if a product or service or book will succeed before we invest time, money and resources in launching?
There isn’t a truly foolproof solution or we’d all be rich, no book would go unread, every product would have thousands of raving fans and marketing would be pointless. But there are questions that publishers and Fortune 500 companies alike ask themselves before they invest in materials, resources, marketing and everything else that goes into bringing a product or service from the idea stage to the marketplace. And, entrepreneurs need to ask themselves those same questions before they launch because their time, money and resources are their primary investment start up tools.
Is there a desire or a passionate need for this product or service currently in the marketplace? Or, will you need to create a desire or educate a market segment about an as yet unknown solution to an unidentified problem? A product that addresses current need in the marketplace will require a different marketing campaign than that of a product that solves a problem the population does not yet know it has.
Why should consumers purchase your product or service over all others available to them? Do you offer a better price, more bonus materials, faster solutions, direct access to you personally or is your product easier to learn to use? Make sure you know what your competition is offering and make sure potential clients and customers see those differences as valuable reasons to do business with you.
Is your solution to the customer’s problem elegant, easy to use, fast or simple to understand? Identify the words customers are using now to describe their frustration and struggle and target your marketing language to solve their problem.
The time entrepreneurs spend in this product marketability exercise will help them lessen the risk of launching a new product or service and set the course of their marketing and communications strategy for the product launch.
This overview is a simplified version of the steps any entrepreneur or business should take before investing in a product launch. Yet these questions are often overlooked or ignored. Do you have other metrics or questions you ask yourself and your team about any new product or service before you launch?