Some “makers” simply enjoy getting their hands dirty – literally and figuratively. Others want to make money with their product. If that’s you – here are 10 questions to explore where you are on the product-to-market continuum. Keep in mind these are not start-up questions. You’ll need to be mindful of these core issues throughout the life of your product and venture!
1. If a stranger purchased your product today – how would they perceive it?
Have you manufactured and packaged to a quality standard? Have you addressed different use cases and safety issues? Does it provide a memorable experience and deliver on your promises?
2. In order to price your product correctly you need to calculate your cost-of-sale.
Do you know how much it costs to produce and market one unit? What margin will assure eventual profitability?
3. You don’t determine the value of your product – your customers do!
Does your product meet an urgent need? Solve a big problem? Help clients feel safe, avoid pain and enjoy more pleasure or convenience? What is the real value in their eyes? HINT: it may be different than what you thought!
4. Only amateurs think there is no competition for their product.
As long as customers have choices for solving problems and meeting needs, you have competition! What is your product’s distinction? Why should someone buy from you vs other options available to them?
5. The more you know about your potential customers, the better positioned you are to engage them.
How deeply do you know your prospects? What are their needs, preferences and emotional triggers?
6. Finding and attracting customers is a Maker’s #1 challenge and expense!
Do you know the most efficient and cost-effective ways of communicating with and selling to your prospects?
7. Marketing can be expensive, so you want to generate as much FREE word-of-mouth and referrals as possible.
How can you be visible to large numbers of potential customers? Where do they shop? What media to the consume? Which social channels do they use the most?
8. In the earliest stages of bringing a product to market, customer feedback is CRUCIAL.
Have you made it easy for customers to communicate their concerns, suggestions and praise to you?
9. It’s much easier (and more cost-effective) to sell a new product OR MORE of the same product to an existing customer than a new one.
Are you prepared to collect and database customer information so you can communicate updates & news with them as you grow?
10. Absolutely no one can go it alone as a product marketer!
Who can help you to continuously improve your product(s), manufacture, distribute, sell, publicize and scale up successfully?
PS By now you’ve noticed that this post does not address Intellectual Property Protection. A deep topic! We’ll be exploring that and other legal issues in future posts.
For now…please share your own questions and wisdom below!