- by Rory Ramsden
Have you ever launched a new product that you expected was going to be a winner ? Did it bomb?
Truth be told every small business owner or entrepreneur should confidently be able to put his hand in the air and admit that they have been horribly wrong about a launch in the past. I know I have. I was convinced I had a golden eagle on my hands when in fact it was really chicken poop.
Why am I happy to say so so publicly?
Because I am happy to say that I have stepped outside my comfort zone and tried something new. Many well known brands have failed their way to their current niche dominance. Who can forget Qwikster, Netflix’s doomed spinoff DVD service? Or HP’s iPad killer, the TouchPad. If you are not making mistakes, you are not pushing the boundaries. You will never find the lever that will transform your business into a jet propelled rocket ship
One of my mentors, Aaron Botzer, said this to me ” Rory, you make too many mistakes BUT you’re the only damn guy doing anything round here, so carry on doing what you’re doing but remember, never make the same mistake twice. If you do, I know you are not learning from them”
With that backhanded compliment ringing in my ears, I have followed his suggestion as best I could
So here are 3 product marketing lessons, I would like to pass on to you…
#1. Look and Listen before you leap – This one comes straight from the genius himself. Steve Jobs famously never did any market research. He let other companies do that for him. He simply sat back and looked at his chosen market place and listened for cash registers to start ringing. When he found one filling with cash he knew he had a proven market. All he had to do then, was apply Apple’s core strengths – Engineering and Design – to the problem and reinvent the solution.
When you commit to spending time, energy and money on building out a new product, you want to be confident that you are not wasting your time. The one way of having that certainty is to take your idea to market quickly in its most basic value added form.
Method 1 – Buy some PPC advertising. What’s your click through rate? Few or No clicks means that the market is dead
Method 2 – Invite your subscribers to join you on a webinar. How many turned up? Did they ask lots of questions? There is a message you want to listen to if there are lots of empty seats
#2. Play To Your strengths – You know what you are best at so focus on those strengths. If you have a proven market but are short of expertise then hire someone who can give you that edge. There are two types of people out there in the wilds. The generalist whose expertise is shallow but covers a wide range of subjects. And the specialist whose expertise is deep but narrow.
By dint of necessity, most small businessmen are the latter. They are highly skilled in a very narrow niche. Entrepreneurs are cut from a different cloth. They see an opportunity and build a team of experts round them to exploit it. They have a broad knowledge of many business disciplines but know that they are not expert in any of them.
Are you playing to your strengths? Or are you holding yourself back by trying to master every detail yourself?
#3. Become The Trusted Authority In Your Market – Your business peers recognize you as an expert but are you a trusted authority in your market? Here’s the difference. An expert is well known within a very limited circle. A trusted authority is well known right across his market, in all the micro-niches round it and perhaps in other markets too which have nothing to do with his.
How do you transform yourself from being an expert into a trusted authority?
To become the trusted authority in your niche, helping your customers must be your passion. Do this by over delivering on value and under delivering on promises. Word then travels by word of mouth. You attract new prospects like a spring flower attracts bees. And because you are trusted, people are prepared to pay more for your products and services. They know that are going to have a brilliant experience. The risk of failure has been removed.
That’s why people are prepared to pay top dollar for a German car. Or lavish large wads of cash on eating in the French Laundry in the Napa Valley. The experience is guaranteed. Even when things go wrong, they go right because the problem is dealt with quickly and effectively. Quality counts. So does value. Price becomes secondary
Small businesses have to focus on delivering golden eagles. They cannot afford to compete on price. That way lies certain death. Narrowing your niche so you are attracting the 20% of the customers with 80% of the money is the only strategy. Focus on this community. The one that instinctively understand what’s in it for them when you make them an offer.
Three simple simple strategies to ensure that your product launch is a success. Follow them in sequence and you will succeed.
OK, here’s what to do next… In the comments below tell me about how YOU are going to become or have become the trusted authority in your market… share your story!