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Ask the consultant: What's a good way to bring products to market?

  • May 26, 2013 - 11:37 AM

Question

I am the children’s book author of “Saving Up Smiles for a Rainy Day” and the owner/designer of a small business called the Bibocks with Lapkins Co. We specialize in Bibocks with Lapkins. It’s a bib. It’s a smock. It’s a Bibock! We have one patent and one patent pending. If one is interested in bringing more products to market is it best to weave them all together or should they all have their own Web presence? Should one bring to market more products before the first products are fully viable?

Sheila Sewall, The Bibocks with Lapkins Co., andreana@ baldwin-telecom.net

 

Answer

If a new product builds on the brand and customer base of an existing product, it likely makes sense to market it with the existing product, especially if you have momentum with that customer base.

The reason is that your existing customer base already knows where to find you, so making them track down a new product in a different location would increase your customer acquisition costs.

If, on the other hand, a new product has a different value proposition (i.e., doesn’t fit with the existing brand), it almost never makes sense to put it together with the existing product. Marketing them together would likely lead to confusion among your customer base as to what it is you are selling, which weakens your brand.

As far as bringing new products to market before the first products are fully viable, my recommendation would be to focus on your initial products until you have a full understanding of your customer and value proposition.

It’s a difficult task to truly know the market for a product before you are out there selling it. Therefore, I would suggest making your mistakes on your initial products and using what you learn from those to guide the next products you develop.

About the author: Jay Ebben, Ph.D., associate professor, Entrepreneurship Department, University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business

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