I want to emphasize the differences that exist between an invention and a marketing and/or business idea. Although the two sometimes share similar qualities, the number of inventors who confuse the two surprises me. I am frequently approached by inventors who have created business plans or marketing strategies, rather than inventions. It is less likely, if not impossible, to license a marketing idea. I want to try to illustrate the difference between the two in this blog.
I was recently approached by a woman who had an idea for an advertising campaign for a line of shoes. She did not have a new product idea. This is the perfect example of an idea that may get you a job at an ad agency, but it is not an invention. It’s creative and she designed it, but it’s not an invention. It could be, however, the perfect pitch to land her a job.
Another individual approached me with the idea to change an existing popular line of dolls for kids at a chain store to appeal to boys in addition to girls. The product didn’t use a new talking mechanism and it didn’t have a new articulating arm… No aspect of the idea offered new utility. She was simply expanding upon an already existing product. Again, this is a good idea – but not an invention. It’s a business strategy that the company might love.
Although sometimes the lines between product idea and business idea become blurred, there is always a line. Critically analyze your idea to determine which it is.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.