Lately, it seems like the less successful companies right now are in one (or two) of two boats:
1. They have a weak product.
2. They have done a poor job at marketing their product.
I define a weak product as one that does not fulfill a need or want of enough people to make the company sustainable. As follows are the questions I use to measure the companies’ products with which I work (in 2nd person for your convenience):
- How many people REALLY will use your product?
- How many people will spend the time/money to use your company to purchase your product or use your service?
- Do people need your product? (Review Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)
- If they do, do they know that they need it or will you need to sell them on the fact?
- If not, why do you think they will use it?
- Do they want it enough that they will pay for it or spend enough time on the site to make it worthwhile to your advertisers?
- What are the advantages of using your competitors? Do those advantages outweigh your advantages?
- Is something about your website turning people away?
- Is there a reason for people to use your company more than once or will you have to continually replace your customers?
- How much money will people REALLY spend for your product or service?
- How much money will advertisers spend to reach this customer base?
- Do you have another knock-your-socks-off revenue stream?
The strongest products are easy sell and go viral. They don’t require much advertising (if any at all). Not only because of the economy but also because we can easily shop around for products on the internet, we are much more careful to spend money. And, with the current media overload, our attention is pulled in many different directions, so it’s hard to get our attention for long. Sure, companies sell weak products all the time, but it’s a struggle you don’t have to go through. If you start with a strong product and improve it over time, success will come much more easily. And, once you have a strong product, you can move your focus to marketing.
Marketing: If you have a strong product, marketing is the easy part:
- Honestly represent your product
- Determine your most accurate target demographic
- Engage your target demographic where they will feel most positively about your product.
So, there it is – a strong product and how to market it well – it’s definitely a good place to start when you’re writing your business plan. There are so many things to worry about when you have your own business. You don’t want to have to reinvent your product while you’re dealing with accounting and HR and permits. And, you aren’t going to get the revenue you need if you don’t know how to market your product.