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Why Building a Better Mousetrap Is Not Enough

New companies must be disruptive on multiple marketing fronts

One
of my favorite movies is “Field of Dreams,” and its popular line, “If You Build
It, They Will Come” is one of the more memorable phrases of all time.

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But here’s the thing–I don’t really buy it.

Anyone
who’s ever launched a new product or company knows–sometimes through hard
knocks–that it’s not just about creating the best new widget. The proverbial
corporate graveyard is littered with robust, high-performing offerings that
didn’t make it. Successful ventures must realize that their potential doesn’t
rest solely on their features and function laurels, but instead by disrupting
their market on numerous levels.

There’s
a big reason why business classes teach the Four “Ps” (product, price,
promotion, placement), because each one has to be functioning while supporting
one another at the same time. So before entrepreneurs kick back and wait for
people to beat a path to the door of their latest product or service, they need
to ask these three questions.

Can folks
FIND your new product?

Nothing
will tick off potential customers more than when a company gets them all
psyched up for a product or service only to not be able to find it. Numerous
reasons may explain this, such as not providing enough inventory for
distributors to meet the demand, the lack of available sales channels for
people, or requiring prospects to complete an unnecessary amount of steps to
buy the product or service. In any case, the organization will quickly turn
from a desired and endearing brand to persona
non grata
.

In
this age of immediate, 24/7 access to products, companies need to ensure that
customers can find and purchase their widget with ease. Otherwise, prospects
may just take a path of lesser resistance and buy a competing offering, even if
it isn’t as good.

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Do folks
GET your product?

Companies
that believe their widget is intuitively understandable by their audience need
to get a second opinion. That’s not to say it isn’t, but the only opinion that
matters to the question is the market. Organizations have doomed themselves by
looking only inward to find the answer.

Here’s
where the promotion strategy comes into play the most. Regardless of campaign,
each initiative must clearly convey the product’s value proposition and
competitive advantage to the right people at the right time in the right way.
The three “rights” are critical, and must come from the customer’s perspective.
The company has little to no say on this, and the sooner they recognize it the
better.

Will folks
PAY for your product?

For many organizations,
pricing is the most difficult of the Four “P’s” to master, and for
understandable reasons. Conflicting factors often cloud the ultimate decision,
including reaching adequate profit margins, pressure from the competition and
cost mandates from distributors. Additional influences, such as whether to
brand the product or service as a premium, value-based or discount offering,
will also determine the final conclusion.

We had a similar dilemma at
TV Ears; one that ultimately led to a dual pricing value proposition strategy in
which a higher priced premium system was sold and distributed through hearing
aid and audiologist practices and a lower priced value based system was sold
through mass retail stores. Companies need to weigh all these factors and be
creative before stamping the price tag on their new widget.

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Above all else,
organizations must come to the realization that the product itself is only one
part of a business’ success. For even the most compelling offering will be
stymied if not priced, promoted and placed in a successful manner.

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