Dapo had just resigned from his lucrative job at one of the new generation banks. Though he had reason to believe that his job was safe despite the spate of dismissals in his department, he was convinced the time was right for him to explore and pursue some of the business ideas he had written down a year before.
With a well written business plan and product validation from his friends and colleagues, Dapo was convinced he could be a multi-millionaire business in a matter of months and finally leave the 30-day rat race behind. Though the business plan had a section for a marketing plan his market research did not extend beyond his friends and colleagues who assured him they would definitely pay for the product once it’s ready.
5 months after leaving his job, Dapo brought the first set of his product – smart watches – into the market and was shocked that apart from his friends and former colleagues who bought the product, many people did not understand or see the need to pay NGN30,000 for a smart watch. He engaged the services of a marketing firm to promote the product, but despite the interest the marketing campaign generated, very few inquiries resulted in sales.
Dapo’s story is similar to that of many Nigerian small businesses and big businesses alike; product decisions made based on personal bias or assumptions that the target market will be willing and able to pay for whatever product is being brought to market. As a result of this, many business owners only bring in marketers when the product is ready and limit the role of marketers to promotion only.
While the most visible part of the services a marketing consultant offers is product promotion, as a business owner trying to bring a product to market, you need to understand that there’s much more to launching a successful product than promotion. A few of the other factors to consider are enumerated below;
Monetization / Pricing Strategy
Product pricing is one of the most important factors in launching a successful product. Traditionally, pricing is done after the product has been developed by simply adding a markup to the cost price. However, a great marketing consultant will help you figure out how much your potential customers will be willing and able to pay for your product, even before you commit resources to development. This greatly increases the chances of your product succeeding in the market.
Knowing how much your potential customers will be willing to pay also informs the decisions you make in the development process – what materials are used (without compromising quality), what features are critical for the users e.t.c
Pricing is such an important part of your product development process because a great product at the wrong price will almost always fail in the market. Bringing a marketing consultant on board will help to ensure that you make an objective assessment of your market and how much your product is worth to them – not just what it’s worth to you.
With an understanding of how much your potential customers are willing to pay for your product, you can now begin to make informed decisions on the features and components of your products and how they benefit your target market. A great marketing consultant will also help you craft a compelling USP / value proposition and how to differentiate from your competitors.
Considerations during product design is not limited to decisions about the form and function but also about the design. Integrating human-centred design principles in your product design process will greatly improve your chances of building a successful product.
Now that your product is ready to hit the market, how will it be distributed? Where will it be sold? How will you get it to your customers and clients. Do you need to get store outlets or build an ecommerce website?
These are important considerations that not only determine the success of your product but also go a long way in determining the long term sustainability and having a marketing consultant on board to help you wade through these different options to select the best option for your product and business.
In conclusion, while no one may understand your product idea or business idea quite like you, it is very important to bring on board professionals in functionals areas of your business to increase the chances of success.
Photo Credit: Diana Eller | Dreamstime.com