Let’s assume we have an Idea for a product. What do we do next?
We have to make a prototype of the product we have in mind. Once that is done, we can do exotic research into the market potential of our product type or use the direct approach. As a Subject Personality, I use the Direct approach.
What is the Marketing Potential?
In my Mountain Troll Candle business earliest years, once I made a prototype candle, I headed over to a local Gallery, to discuss the marketing potential. To me that is one of the most important things to do.
My first question to the Gallery owner was “What do you think?”
My second question was “What kind of price points do you think the market could accept.”
Why approximate price point is important?
Knowing the price points of my product would indicate the profit potential. That is why we are talking to a Gallery owner, one who is in this business every day. That would give us a clue about the kind of marketing approach I would choose. As it turned out, there would be enough profit to wholesale it. Wholesale in our area is 50% of retail, but I would get paid on delivery or within 30 days.
I like wholesale for two reasons.
- I can go right to the bank.
- The wholesaler would have a vested interest in the product; ie., would be motivated to sell it. They would probably display it in the best fashion and do other things to market it quickly.
My alternative marketing approach would be to place the candles on consignment. I’m not a huge fan of that approach for four reasons.
- The retailer has nothing as risk, so their motivation to feature my work is diminished.
- I have to wait to go to the bank
- I would have more administrative cost, ie. checking on inventory, etc.
- I WOULD HAVE TO MONITOR THE CONDITION OF THE CANDLES. Yikes!!
- How would the wax hold up – dust particles, etc.
- How would the tags and general condition be holding up.
Now, it all occurred within about two day of getting a prototype together, and we were heading toward the middle of November. I was receiving a lot of GO signals.
I did stop at another place where I knew the shop owner, a craft supply store. Taking my prototype candle in, I plopped it down on the counter, and asked, “What do you think?” “Wow”, she said, “That’s nice.” Asking her about the retail price that might fit, she quickly said “$25.” that was $3.00 more than the first Gallery Owner.
Approaching the Buyer Client…
Which Places do I want my product in?
The first thing I do is personally visit galleries. When I find one that feels right for my product, I look around to see how much they advertise. Is their brochure in local brochure display racks? Do they run a display Ad in any local news papers. How much is their name shown in relation to other places.
If they fit that test, I return to the gallery, but this time with my satchel containing the product. I’ll ask to see the owner. THAT is the only person I WANT to see – THE DECISION MAKER. If that person is not there, I ask when I can see him or her. I may be asked to leave a card. I don’t carry cards for that. I may have cards, but not for my marketing approach. For my marketing approach, I’ll have a reprint of a news article describing my product with a little back ground on myself. In the next blog, I’ll include a photo copy of that article and why it’s important, but for now, let’s stay with the approach.
I have found this method to be my most effective…
Walking into a gallery, meeting with the owner, plop down a candle and asking, “What do you think?” If their reception is enthusiastic, it is usually followed by a question about price, availability, etc. “What is our price?” they may ask. I respond, “50% of retail.” That’s it. They may ask about delivery and then just often place an order. One Owner just wrote it on the back of a business card, others have just said verbally how many of what they would like. We offered three different sizes. It’s nothing complicated, but just direct contact.
Next, we’ll discuss a sure fire effective advertising approach that cost – Zero Dollars.