Inventors constantly ask me, “How can I test my idea? What are some of the ways I can determine if my product is a good one?”
They’re smart to ask. Performing market research before you invest even more of your time and energy into a product is intelligent. You should feel confident about your product’s potential and that people really do want it and will buy it. Beyond confirming your own beliefs about your idea, market research will help you lend a licensing contract or find a manufacturer interested in making your product.
Getting this information may still take considerable financing. I am going to devote the next two blogs to presenting you with five options for market research. Choose the one that makes the most sense for your product and your budget.
1. Pull-Through Marketing. This strategy relies on the strength of your sales sheet. Your sales sheet should possess all the elements of a real product, such as nice, clean artwork, a logo, a name, etc. These days, computers can make almost anything appear real. Rely on this fact. Show your sales sheet to a potential licensor. Would they license it? This potential licensor is the end user of your product. If they have a desire to license it (for example, a purchase order), you can use that desire to convince a manufacturer to produce it. This manufacturer would license the product from you in order to sell it to the third party. For example, I used this strategy with Spinformation. I first showed the label to Rexall Sundown to see if there was an interest in having it on their products; I used their purchase order to hook CCL Label and get them to manufacture it. The sample I showed Rexall didn’t even exist. There was little point (and I probably would have had little success) in figuring out how to technically make the idea first if there wasn’t any interest.
2. Focus Groups. This type of market research is usually limited to the big boys, but you can modify the strategy to work for your budget. A focus group brings together the demographic the product intends to sell to and a moderator. The moderator is able to pose such questions as, “Would you buy this product? How much would you pay for it?” and gage the reaction of the participants. However, you can still use target groups to see if people will want your product. Is your product intended for kids? Ask to present to a local school or children’s group. Go down to the mall and ask passing people for their assistance in answering a couple questions. Use your creativity to reach your target audience, whatever that might be.
InventRight: Helping to Bring Your Product to Market