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Lorman Lundsten, Ph.D., professor and department chair, Marketing Department,

University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business

www.stthomas.edu/business/faculty/directory/Lundsten_Lorman.html

question

  • December 23, 2012 - 2:06 PM

question

How can we get people to learn about our small business?

We have a small Internet company -- Photonic Developments LLC, www.lowbluelights.com -- that provides products that help people sleep better. We sell glasses that block blue light. They are worn a few hours before bedtime. This lets the body start making melatonin well in advance of bedtime so sleep comes quickly and deeply. How can we get people to learn about our glasses and us?

RICHARD HANSLER

LIGHTING INNOVATIONS INSTITUTE

JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OHIO

answer

The choice of market is a central question. You might choose to raise awareness among the general population, hoping to contact insomniacs. Second, you might try to contact physicians who might provide referrals to your firm for those of their patients who have problems sleeping. Finally, you might try to market directly to those physicians who specialize in sleep disorders.

The best approach might be to provide sleep specialists with product trials. They have the most contact with patients who have trouble sleeping and they could supply the most persuasive endorsements.

The American Board of Medical Specialties website has information on sleep specialists. You should consider how best to provide objective information to sleep specialists. You might want to have a direct mail campaign offering samples to those who have a patient who would be a candidate for your product.

Another good way to contact physicians is to become an exhibitor at a national, state or local professional meeting. This could let your product speak for itself and provide a positive experience for an important source of word-of-mouth. Some professional associations offer an associate membership to suppliers. You might consider joining to get access to a members list.

This same process would be useful to contact family-practice physicians and others who see patients with sleep problems. This would be a larger population and would be a more costly option to implement than a campaign to contact sleep specialists. Finally, you could attempt a campaign directed at the public in general. This is the least attractive because of the cost and probable low response rate.

LORMAN LUNDSTEN, PH.D.

PROFESSOR AND CHAIR

MARKETING DEPARTMENT

UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

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