How to bring a product to market

Let’s say you have designed, developed, prototyped and protected the intellectual property of a new product or invention. Now you need to bring the product to market and benefit from the commercial success.

It is sometimes said that inventing and developing a product is easy, marketing and selling it is the difficult bit. Now as a product design and development professional I don’t necessarily agree with this, but I do agree that just because a new invention is a good idea, doesn’t mean it will be a commercial success.
Some products are successful almost by accident or because of influencing factors. If you are lucky a media outlet will get hold of your product and it will go viral resulting in millions of units sold in the first year, but for the other 99.9% of start-ups, success is harder earned.

Product Launch Requirements

Bringing a new product to market requires the combination of a good manufacturing partner, good marketing strategy, good business plan, good pricing structure and a good sales pitch. If any of these elements are missing, chances are the product launch will not be as successful as it could have been. Very few start-ups or individuals have the required combination of skills and experience to be able to do all this themselves, so it is important to build a team of specialists that can supply the required skills at the right time in the process.

The first step in the process of bringing a product to market is actually knowing the market. Who is the customer, what competition is already in the market, what is the price point, what are the main sales channels for this kind of product? Once you have a good understanding of the market, then you can build a solid business plan on how to crack into the market and what kind of market share you can expect. Understanding the pricing structure and expectation of the market will affect the manufacturing options and partners to work with. Should you look to manufacture locally and benefit from being able to sell on this fact and enjoy minimal distribution costs, or should you be looking to manufacture at low cost and high volumes in the Far East? Each product is different so there is no right and wrong to this, but knowing the factors affecting this decision is important.

Once you have a good marketing strategy, business plan, pricing structure and manufacturing partner, you now need the right sales pitch to either get orders from retailers, funds from investors or sales from the consumer. The sales pitch is a difficult thing to quantify, it could be a slick professional video or advert or it could be a modest 30 second informal pitch in person, it depends on the purpose of the sales pitch and the audience involved. But be aware having all the right elements in place, but a poorly executed sales pitch can be the difference between success and failure.

Of course if you are lucky none of this will matter as this time next week your product will have 5 million hits on YouTube and customers will be queuing up to get their hands on your killer invention…… or if not you could try crowd funding?