Marketing Your Invention
Marketing Your Invention
Spencer Brown (Inventor And Founder) gives expert video advice on: What do I need to know about my invention and its market?; How can I do market research?; Can 'focus groups' help me market my invention? and more...
What do I need to know about my invention and its market?
I am a firm believer of research, research, research. You can never do enough research and always continue to do your research because we are in a warp drive economy and the consumer is always changing. And you have to be able to understand what their needs are. It could just be a color change to your product to continue sales. It could be integrating better technology. It could be less packaging. You always have to be researching in order to market to your consumer group.But, the first thing is if you are making a product for a fisherman, go talk to him. Ask him questions. Ask him real questions. Just go, "Hey, what do you think about this idea? Why don't you use this type of pole?" You will get more in the trench feedback than coming up with the idea yourself. Talk to the person using the product. Talk to as many of those people as you can, and then take that feedback and write it down and study it. Then go talk to the people making it. Then when you get those two things together, then show them a product and continue that feedback loop cycle until you are ready to make the final product.
Can 'focus groups' help me market my invention?
I believe in focus groups. I think that in the beginning you need to, I call it one-on one focus group, I call it, you know, let me make the cookie, did you like it? Oh, you didn't, ok let me let you try another one and than you keep making cookies. But when you start getting bigger and your projects start to become greater in scope, you need to sit down with people who can give you honest criticism. I think the best way of understanding focus groups is if you've ever eaten at a fast-food restaurant. Remember before you bit into that burrito or taco, 10,000 other people tasted that product to figure out what the exact texture, taste, heat, packaging, wrapping was done before you ever put your mouth into it. Focus groups are also important because it's a group of people that are focused on providing information about your product. They are usually qualified. Paying a firm to find the right candidates to give you feedback can be expensive, but if you're really selling a lot of your product it's imperative that you invest the money because focus groups will give you insight because they're talking to 10,000, and then they bring it down to 500, and they give you 20 people who are going to give you so much focus about your product that you can use that to appeal to a greater audience.
What's a good 'marketing strategy'?
A good marketing strategy first starts with being honest with you, and your product, and your consumer. Why I say that is if you're trying to sell yourself and your product and you're not believable or credible in the space to a consumer, your marketing is going to be flat, it's just going to stop. Good marketing, I always feel, is being really specific with your audience. I also think there is a difference between good marketing, great marketing, and phenomenal marketing. We all want to sell to everybody. I want everybody to rent my boxes but the reality is if you've invented a product, you've invented a product for a group of consumers to solve a problem or to save them time and money. So great marketing or phenomenal marketing really addresses that which is, 'how am I going to save you time and money'? I invented a product, for you, and this is going to benefit you, here is the value, you're going to save time and money. And if you do that customers will understand it and agree with you and purchase your product.
What is a 'product license'?
A product license is if you've designed, invented, a product and brought it to market, and you want to benefit from the sale of this product, but are not able to cover the entire nation. You license the product. So, you give a person outside of your service area, coverage area, the product with an agreement, contractual, that's a license. That says, "I'm going to license you to sell this product. And we are going to, either split the profit, or you will pay me a royalty fee." You can have a license with a manufacturer, or you can have a license with a distributor, you can have a license with a retailer. The point is, product licensing is a way of maintaining ownership of the patent right, maintaining ownership of the idea but licensing out the opportunity for people to sell your idea. They make money and you make money by volume.
What is the secret to product licensing?
For me, I've always looked at a triple win. Number one the consumers have to win. People say, "Wait, I've got to win, it's my patent." No, it's the consumer, if the consumer wins, they're going to buy a lot of your product. Your distributor needs to make a fair amount of money as well as you. I like the 30-30-30 rule, which is the consumer, let's lower the price by 30%, I'll give you 30 and keep 30.