Phase 9: Sales and Marketing
Paragon Innovations’ Series:
12-Stage Product Development Process
From Start to Success
Phase 8 of Paragon Innovation’s 12-Stage Product Development Course focused on the importance of passing various regulations and why achieving certain certifications can make or break a product. Phase 9 centers on how a product’s successful marketing strategy can lead to sales.
Developing A Product’s Marketing Strategy
In Phase 9, President of The TranSynergy Group, Donna Hegdahl, makes a guest appearance to support developers in their product’s sales and marketing strategy. “Marketing is an important part of new product development,” says Donna. She advises that developers start thinking about how their product is going to be marketed from a product’s inception. Additionally, Donna advises that developers design their marketing strategy by asking important questions like:
- Why does your product exist?
- Why do customers want/need your product?
- What value does your product provide your customers?
- Are there competitive alternatives already on the market?
Developing Your Brand
Many believe that a brand is sequestered to a name, logo, or color that makes consumers think about your product. “What a brand really is your brand promise,” Donna clarifies. Your brand is what you will be known for. When your brand promise has been established, it is time to examine your WIIFM.
W – What’s
I – In
I – It
F – For
M – Me
A product’s WIIFM does not involve the key features and technical aspects of your product. Your product’s WIIFM sums up the key value that your product offers to customers. Examples of key values that a product can possess include time savings, money savings, or other enhancements.
Establishing Your Target Market
Once you have a brand promise and the key value of your product set in place, Donna advises that it is time to define your target market. With new product launches, developers should stick to one or two specific audiences to target. Defining a target market should include groups that will have the “easiest” sales rates. Keeping a fixed target market allows developers to remain focused on the specific people that are purchasing their product. Donna reminds developers that “Over time, you can add other target markets. Eventually, you can have as many as you can afford to market to.”
Launching Your Product
“You have a name, a logo, a marketing message,” says Donna. “Now you are ready to launch!” Prior to picking your launch date, your brand needs to have a comprehensive, user-friendly website that is easily accessible to your customers and has e-commerce capabilities. “You need to develop a professional website that has all of your [product’s] benefits spelled out, as well as your [product’s] features,” recommends Donna. Once a website is live, a brand can build out its social media presence.
A great opportunity to promote your product’s launch is an already established tradeshow or event that provides a pre-built audience. Developers can utilize events to conveniently disseminate their marketing message. Developers should limit their focus to five strategies to promote their marketing message. Ways to promote your product include:
- Email marketing
- Traditional mailers
- Social media
- Networking in groups or individually
- Develop a list of referral sources
- Co-marketing opportunities
Advertising is another great option to promote your product, but Donna is wary to suggest it as an avenue of promotion right off the bat. “People don’t buy the first time they hear something,” warns Donna. “Advertising is very expensive. You want to make sure you have a good plan and that you’re going to invest in dollars six or more times in a year so that [potential customers] see [the advertisement] enough times.”
Maintaining Your Marketing Plan
One of the most important things regarding a marketing plan is maintaining consistency in it. Once established, developers will need to be disciplined in their outreach methods. “You can’t do it once and hope it works,” says Donna. “You need to be there on an ongoing basis.” The sales aspect of your product can be directly attributed to the marketing actions developers take to convince a customer of a product’s usefulness and validity. “You do all of these things and you’ll have a dynamite product,” concludes Donna.
If you have found Phase 9 of Paragon Innovation’s 12-Stage Product Development Course helpful with your marketing and sales strategy, stay tuned for Phase 10 where Paragon provides a comprehensive outlook at Production.