The Inventor’s Initial 10-Step Marketing 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 maybe just pick two.
Or, maybe it is just that simple.
First, some questions: are you marketing an invention, an actual product or a service?
Is it local (geographic marketing) or national; industrial (specific to some industries or markets), business to business; to a wide (all motorcycle owners) or narrow niche (dirt bike owners who ride 250cc Husqvarna motorcycles), or a retail product to all consumers?
Also – how much does your product cost – both to manufacture and at retail; are you selling through retailers and distributors; what is the sales buying cycle, and is it need-driven or wish driven? Impulse? Seasonal? Is the price important?
Most importantly: What are your sales goals? How much do you want to sell? And what’s in your marketing budget, anyhow? Because the plan you’d write would be quite different if you had a $10,000 marketing goal than if you had a $100,000 marketing goal. You do have a budget, don’t you? Sigh… Anyhow… All these different possibilities have different marketing campaign strategies – but they all start here. Here’s how every plan starts.
1. Identify your Primary Markets. Find the people most likely to buy. It’s the first step in any marketing plan. The “most likely to purchase” are the potential customers that are out on the street you’re driving down, and have money in their hands and are waving it at you. They’re ready to buy, right now.
2. Create a coherent PR (press release) campaign. Write press releases for newspapers and magazines. This is a series of press releases: a media campaign that is sustained over time that is well thought out up front. Write each press release headline for now.
Find magazines that you’ll send press releases to in Bacon’s Magazine directory or Oxbridge Communications Periodical Directory. These wonderful magazine reference tools are found in major libraries.
3. Create something FREE as a Response Generator. Create “informational booklets” to give away for free and that you can offer in your press release. The free booklet title is responsible for the quantity and quality of the response, so write a great title using the Jeff Dobkin 100 to 1 rule: write 100 titles, go back and pick out your best one. The 100 to 1 Rule can be found in my book, UNcommon Marketing Techniques.
By offering a FREE Booklet you give consumers a non-threatening reason to call and something to ask for in return for them calling you and showing they’re interested.
4. Track media for successful magazines. When your press releases are published in the magazines and you get response, keep tight track of where the response came from? Then plan on eventually placing ads in the most successful and responsive magazines in your campaign.
5. Build a Mailing List. If your product is expensive, or if you’re looking for wholesalers who will offer it to others, start creating a mailing list of your top 250 prospects, maybe more – at both the wholesale and retail levels. That’s right – start digging for names and addresses. Yea, it’s hard work. Thankless, too. But your further success depends on your mailing list.
6. Track Response. Track every call, every inquiry. Have a sheet of paper by every phone and 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 marketing technique is working.
7. Create quality literature and cover letters. Cover letters are sent with everything – every mailing package you send out should have a cover letter.
8. Mail to your Top 250. In fact for larger sales, mail to your best prospects frequently, every 4 to 6 weeks if you can. If you can’t identify your market tightly enough to make this mailing work, you’re in trouble.
9. Test and retest small ads in various media. Don’t forget to look at low cost unusual advertising opportunities such as association newsletters and so forth.
10. Keep marketing to wherever the best prospects and most sales are coming from. Clone your best customers: Figure out where they came from, what they like, why they purchase – and look for more of the same. Reach them the same way you reached the original group.
Hope this is helpful. Don’t forget to buy my book, “Successful Low Cost Direct Marketing Methods.” Best $30 bucks you’ll ever spend on marketing. Besides, I need the money.
Jeff Dobkin www.jeffreydobkin.com. Jeffrey is a fun speaker, and an author who has written 5 books on marketing and two on humor. He was on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Inventors for over 15 years and the President for four years. To speak with him or order his books call 610-642-1000.