Finding a Market for Your Product: Market Research Basics

Learn about your markets before you invent or improve a product.

At least once each week someone will write or call my office to tell me that he or she has created a product, has received a patent (or is patent pending) and would now like to know what they should do to get their product to market.

Early on in my solo career I created Masonware(r), the first microwave cookware, patented it and then had to find companies to produce and sell it. The need in the marketplace was obvious and the product was successful. There were other products later on.

In my product development business for the most part, however, we have improved products for companies that hired me to do so; thus eliminating the “finding a market for my product” step.

I recommend that people who are just starting out learn about their markets before they invent or improve a product.

I tell folks in my classes not to invent a product they like but rather to spend their creative energy developing a product or a service they know someone else will like and eventually purchase.

Ideally, invent “for” a company already in the field. The company will have manufacturing facilities capable of building your product, a marketing staff to take your product into the class of trade, the chain of stores, or supermarkets where they already have products being sold.

In short, invent or innovate products for a customer. The “customer” may be a company that will license your product, manufacture it and sell it to consumers in the market.

There are so many great ideas in people’s garages waiting to become the next best thing and there are a million reasons why these great products will never see the light of day.

The desire to improve upon a product you have used can sweep you like a fever; but if there is not a market, you don’t have a product. Maybe the public would think your product is great but a company producing it would find it too expensive to produce and therefore unprofitable.

Before you get too far along in the process take some time to do research. See if there is a market for your product. Figure out how much it would cost to produce what you have invented and find out who would be interested in licensing or buying your idea and then contact prospective buyers.

The easiest way to do this is to pick up the phone and call companies. Find out who is the decision-maker for the products you want to improve.

Once you’ve got the right person, introduce yourself as a product developer and tell them you have developed a product you believe will make obsolete the current model of that company’s product.

Be prepared with numbers and facts about your product and about the company you are contacting. Figures like market share data and cost of goods sold are available in annual reports and on the Internet.

These steps, if taken at the right time, will save you time and money.

Article © Copyright 2001 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.

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