Invention – Anyone’s Marketing Plan

Inventors: Marketing to Everyone is Hard.
Marketing to a select segment of a people is easy. Here’s the plan.

By Jeffrey Dobkin

One of my readers asked “How do I market my invention?” Yea. It’s just that simple. And here’s your simple answer: Invest time, money or energy.
Or just pick two.

American Society of Inventors

Hey, wait…  Maybe it is just that simple. This direct marketing article actually has a solid basis of a real invention marketing plan.  It’s great for entrepreneurs, small business owners and inventors.

First, a few questions about marketing that inventors should take into consideration:
· If you are marketing a product or a service
·  If it’s local (geographic marketing) or national
·  If your invention is best suited for industrial markets, business to business, or consumer
·  Which industries, what segments of those industries, and how many
·  To a wide or narrow niche
·  Or is you invention already a retail product
·  Will you market your invention through wholesalers, then through retail stores
·  Or directly to consumers

Also – how much does your invention cost at retail?
What is the sales cycle?
Is it need-driven? Impulse? Or seasonal?
Is price important?
Then, is your invention needed by everyone?  Because marketing to everyone is difficult even with a large budget.  Or…
Is your invention needed just by a few well defined sets of people?  Because a great plan can be to market to a narrowly targeted niche that you can identify and reach with a small amount of money through a highly focused marketing campaign.

For maximum effectiveness all these different possibilities have different invention marketing campaign strategies.  Its easy to go wrong, and if you don’t know the answer to each of these questions, it’s actually likely you’ll go wrong.  So… stay tuned.

The three most important invention marketing questions I saved for last:
What are your sales goals?
How much do you want to sell in terms of number of units, or your revenue goals?
And last but certainly not least, what’s in your invention marketing budget?
You do have a budget for marketing your invention, don’t you?  Sigh… Anyhow… Here’s how every plan starts.

1. Identify your most likely prospects.
This is the first step in any marketing plan, whether for inventors or for products that are already on the market.  Her best strategy is to go for the ready-to-buy prospects that are holding money in their hands and waving it as you go by!  These are the people that are ready to buy, right now. Primary markets.

2. Create Press Release Campaign:
For a broader market, start out with a coherent PR (Press Release) campaign in newspapers and magazines. I’m not talking about just writing a press release about your invention or product and sending it to a few editors and hoping for the best. I’m talking about a series of press releases: a real press campaign sustained over time that’s well thought out, planned and created up front. What is press release number one going to say? Press release number two?  Three and four, also.

Don’t forget, cover letters for each press release are a must! Make press releases effective: what are you offering in each press release that will make people call?  What do you anticipate your response to be?  You can find how to create and execute this kind of marketing campaign in my book, How To Market A Product for Under $500! so I won’t duplicate the content here – just buy the book.

Here’s an example of one of the tips that can be found in the Press Release Campaign section of my book, How To Market A Product for Under $500!

“To increase effectiveness and make sure your press release gets the most ink, make phone calls before sending each press release and ask the editor “Are you the person I should send my release to?”  This sets up a “Can you help me?” relationship with the editor or media person in 20 seconds, and then alerts them to be on the lookout for your release — especially when your cover letter starts out, ‘Nice speaking with you…’  even if it wasn’t.”

3. Create informational booklets
Give them away for free and offer them in your press release. Since the booklet title is totally responsible for the quantity and quality of the response, make it a great title using the Jeff Dobkin 100 to 1 rule: write 100 titles, go back and pick out your best one.

By offering a FREE Booklet you give consumers a non-threatening reason to call and something to ask for in return for raising their hand and saying they’re interested. Once on the phone the release worked – it’s up to YOU to determine their real interest and figure out how to sell them whatever you’re selling.

4. Keep tight track of the response:
Where did it come from? Then take out ads in the most successful PR media placements.

5. While the press campaign going on, start creating a mailing list of your top 250 prospects.
That’s right – start digging for names and addresses. Yea, it’s hard work. Thankless, too. But your marketing success depends on your mailing list.  If you have a larger firm or larger budget, create a mailing list of your top 2500 prospects…

6. Track everything carefully.
Every call, every inquiry. It’s simple: have a sheet of paper by every telephone and when a call comes in, ask, “And how did you hear of our company?” Write it down and put that slip of paper in a drawer. At the end of a few months count the slips for each, you’ll know exactly what’s working in your marketing campaign.

7. Create quality literature and cover letters.
At one point if you are successful marketing your invention you’re going to need quality literature.  Might as we’ll make up the good stuff right now.

8. Mail to your Top 250.
Mail to your best prospects.  If they really are your most likely to buy prospects, mail to them frequently.  Can’t hurt to mail to them every 4 to 6 weeks, more frequently if you can. If you can’t identify your market and make this mailing work, you’re in trouble.  Big trouble.  Read the section on marketing in my book, Uncommon Marketing Techniques.

9. Test and retest small ads in various media.
Don’t forget to look at low cost unusual advertising opportunities such as association newsletters, church bulletins and so forth.

Successful Low Cost Direct Marketing Methods
Click to Buy!  Best book on low cost invention marketing ever written.  And that’n not just my opinion, it’s… ok, it’s my opinion.

10. Keep marketing
Keep sending letters, cards and whatever you have to wherever the best prospects are and most invention sales are already coming in from. Clone your best customers: Figure out where they came from, what they like, why they purchased your invention – and look for more of the same.

11. Buy my book,
Successful Low Cost Direct Marketing Methods. It’s the update of How To Market a Product for Under $500! (so don’t buy both).  Best $30 bucks you’ll ever spend on invention marketing. I promise you. Besides, I need the money.

Hope these Invention Marketing Tips were helpful. Invention and Marketing are two key spheres of Jeffrey’s knowledge base.

Jeffrey Dobkin, Founder
Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin
Jeff Dobkin has written 5 books on marketing and two on humor. Questions? 610-642-1000 rings on his desk. Write to him at the Danielle Adams Publishing Company, Box 100, Merion Station PA 19066.  Jeffrey Dobkin was on the Board of Directors of the old American Society of Inventors for over 15 years, and was the President for four more years.  He is now the Founder of the Philadelphia Inventors Alliance, the new American Society of