A local restaurant is offering an unusual flavour of ice cream: The “Fish & Chip Gelato”. You might like fish & chips, and you might like ice cream, but… combining the two??? Surely that can’t sell (I hear you cry)!
However, the restaurant is a well-known, long-established seafood organisation. They know their market, they know their range of products and they know how to get their products to their market. So it’s not a huge risk for them to offer something new and unusual. So if anybody can make the fish & chip gelato work, they can.
How can YOU know whether a new product will sell?
Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to know whether a new product or service will work. But there are some factors to consider which can help you assess the likelihood of its success.
When you’re thinking of launching a new product, use this 15-point self-assessment tool before you start work on it. For each of the 15 items below, give yourself a rating of 0 (poor), 1 (average) or 2 (good). Don’t be too easy on yourself, either!
- Small, clearly defined NICHE: We are aiming this product at a small, clearly defined, niche market
- Know their PROBLEMS: We have surveyed a broad cross-section of the market to find out their specific problems
- Measure the DEMAND: We have done significant research to measure the demand for this product
- Set the PRICE point: We have tested various price points with our target market
- Understand Your RELATIONSHIP: Most of our target market are past customers and clients customers
- Provide SOLUTIONS: This product provides direct solutions to the specific problems stated by our target market
- Know your EXPERTISE: We have practical expertise in solving these problems for real customers
- Do the PRODUCTION: We already have other similar products and services
- Build high MARGINS: This product has a high profit margin, so it doesn’t matter if our costs end up being a bit higher than expected
- LEVERAGE other products: We don’t have to make a profit on this product, because we’ll mostly be using it as a high-value free gift
- Set your STRATEGY: We have a clear marketing strategy for rolling out this product
- Know your REACH: We know how to reach the people in our target market, because we know where they “hang out”
- Execute the TACTICS: We already have experience with the marketing techniques we’ll be using
- What’s your INTEREST? We’re interested (even passionate!) about this target market and helping them solve their problems
- Manage the RISK: Even if we don’t sell a single product, it won’t be a financial burden for us or our company
How did you fare?
At the end of this process, you’ll have a score out of 30. But it’s not the score itself that matters; what is more important is how you fared in the three broad areas of Market, Product and Marketing.
You’ll find this is especially useful when evaluating a new information product – such as an e-book, on-line course, webinar or membership site. It might be the first time you’ve created this type of product (so you score low in the Product area) or you’re trying to sell online for the first time (so you score low in the Market and Marketing areas).
If you do score low in any of these areas, make sure you build up your skills in that area – or take a more conservative approach. Otherwise, you run the risk of trying to sell fish & chip gelati to people who aren’t ready for them!
About the Author: Gihan Perera is a consultant, speaker, and author who works with smart, passionate businesspeople who have an important message, idea or entrepreneurial business practice. He helps them leverage their products, services and business practices – particularly with their online strategy.