August 6, 2017 Finding Customers

The success of a new product development (NPD) is dependent on the business goals of the inventor, small business, or larger institution. It is a given that priorities across these 3 entities might quite likely differ, but the unifying expectations for any NPD or ‘Innovative Technology’ are the following:

a) When launched: the new product will appeal to a larger-scale consumer base.

b) NPD can be mass-produced, support technological transfer, or might even spark the interests of prospective licensees.

c) NPD will increase the profit potential of the business.

d) NPD will provide leverage against competitors.

Provided these base requirements are met, it may be time to find customers that would be willing to buy the product.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:
A souvenir vendor has chosen to sell souvenirs because of a love for this field and perhaps because of some sales skills she acquired from a previous business venture. It is her belief also that souvenirs are quick and easy to sell, and would not tie her down long-term should she decide to change her career focus. Even for these seemingly easy-to-sell souvenirs, proper marketing is still necessary in order to attract the right type of customers.

Imagine a larger institution, like Samsung Electronics, with a recognizable name and reputation within its industry, and also a record of previous NPD and innovative technology successes. Not even an organization as big as this one would leave to chance that their NPD’s could sell themselves. “Quite frequently it is the new products with the greatest potential that often require the highest level of expertise to market them properly.”(Crawford & Di Benedetto, 2003).

Having determined that marketing is integral to finding the right type of customers for the product upgrade or NPD, the inventor/ business owner must establish a workable marketing strategy for said products.

According to Janet Attard in “The Home Office and Small Business Answer Book” (Henry Holt and Company, 1993): Successful marketing is the realization that four things are necessary for customers to pay attention to your New Product Development (NPD):

1. Get the word out about products and services to as many prospective customers as possible.

2. Keep reminding those customers about the availability of these items through you.

3. Constantly persuade them of the value and convenience of buying from you, rather than the competitors.

4. Deliver a top-notch product with top-notch support so that the customers will give repeat business and refer new customers to your business.

The above recommendations however carry plenty of assumptions. For example the scenario over-simplifies the process of getting the NPD to the stage where it can be marketed: there are many more steps that need to be taken to successfully introduce the NPD to Market. Ms Attard also assumes that a small business owner has the marketing skills and financial resources to, not only find the right customers, but to target them with a “wow-them”-style advertising campaign. More helpful advice to a business owner with little resources and no marketing skills would be to hire an advertising and marketing agency that can help market the NPD correctly and more economically.

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