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Marketing a New Product: American Intercontinental Brainstorming Conference

You have been invited to attend the American Intercontinental Brainstorming Conference, a meeting of elite entrepreneurs and marketing executives. You will use this forum to discuss a NEW product you wish to launch and the marketing plan you will develop over the next five weeks. Since nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements have been signed, this venue provides a unique opportunity to share ideas with peers about your product.

Develop a hypothetical new product or service (preferable one that is feasible) you would like to focus on in this class over the next five weeks. Discuss the qualities that make this product new to the marketplace. (At this point, there is no need to discuss the aspects of your marketing strategy.)

The goal is to apply learned concepts and build a marketing plan for your product or service from the ground up. You will not be allowed to mimic plans or ideas from larger or already "in-place" campaigns. You must think on your own two feet.
Critique the work of at least two other participants. You may have some great ideas that can help another individual or perhaps there are some questions you need to be asking about their product.

After the development phase, you'll be focusing on launching your product or service into the marketplace. Keep in mind that this is about marketing a product/service to your target customer group - it's not about operating a company.

Solution Preview

See attachment below for an MS Word document which has better organization and detail.

Short of manufacturing the new product and selling it to see how many people buy, there really are only two ways to answer marketing questions ahead of time. You can find out directly or indirectly.

Let's look at the direct way first. To find out if people like your idea, you have to talk to people and see what they are thinking and feeling. You've probably been talking to people all of your life, so you are familiar with the many different ways to reach them.

You can:

- Call people on the phone
- Talk to people face to face
- Send an e-mail
- Send a letter through the mail
- Assemble people in a group and talk to them

No matter which technique you are using for market research, your goal is to ask a set of questions and get back a set of answers to your questions, and new ideas. In many cases you learn things that you never thought about by talking to people. For example, you might find that no one in the south wants your dry car-washing granules, but in the north, where water freezes in the winter, dry granules are just what people have been looking for. If you had not realized that previously, it can be a big revelation -- it can save you a ton of money that would have been wasted advertising your granules in Florida.

The indirect way to learn about the marketplace is to look at what's already out there. How many companies are making a competing product? What are their products like? How do they market them? The fact that there is a competing product tells you that there are some customers out there, and you can access your competitor's market research by looking at the products your competitor is producing. Assuming, that is, that the competitor did any market research.

Getting Ready to Ask Questions

Three questions about your potential product:

1. Who, if anyone, has a real need for the thing I propose to sell, and how many of those potential customers are there?

2. How much, if anything, are they spending to address that need today [and/or how much would they be willing to spend]?

3. Does my product meet that need in a manner that either saves or makes them substantial amounts of money?

These questions have a business focus, but they can be generalized to handle any product. For example, no one has a "real need" for pet rocks or singing fish, yet these products sold very well. So you might expand the question to include "desires" and "whims" as well as needs.

People often buy things for reasons that have nothing to do with making or saving money. For example, Egyptian cotton sheets either make or save money, but they feel good when you are falling asleep. So we can say, "Does the product appeal to a customer in a way that would cause him or her to pull out the wallet?" The word "appeal" can be very broad -- everything from breast implants to chrome wheels to food processors can fall into that category.

Now that you have these three "big picture" questions in mind, you can start to think about the specific questions that you would like to ask your specific audience. Normally you come up with a set of questions that help you to understand how the audience is thinking and feeling about your product. The goal of all of these questions is to gain intimate knowledge of your customers. You want to know exactly what they are thinking and feeling, and why.

Marketing Strategy and Research

Marketing is an integral part of an organization. Marketing is a process for creating value in and awareness of a product or service, informing and communicating to customers about what a company offers, and engaging customer relationships to reach desired results. Ultimately, marketing benefits the organization and its stakeholders because marketing can drive profits if done correctly. Marketing is an art that requires marketing managers to research, create a strategy and plan based off of this research, understand the desires and needs of the consumer and then show how the company's product fills this desire or need. Successful marketing is not as easy as snapping your fingers. In order to ensure marketing is being maximized, managers should have an understanding of how marketing research and marketing strategy and tactics work together.

Marketing Strategy

An organization's marketing strategy is the backbone of the marketing plan. The strategy should serve to integrate a company's marketing goals, policies, and tactics into a whole picture. An example of a marketing strategy is: "Use a low cost product to attract consumers. Once our organization, via our low cost product, has established a relationship with consumers, our organization will sell additional, higher-margin products and services that enhance the consumer's interaction with the low-cost product or service" (Answers.com, 2006). The marketing strategy provides a foundation for tactical measures to be used.

Marketing Research

Marketing research is comprised of using existing, discovering, or creation of new information and knowledge for the purpose of an organizations need. Marketing research is used to determine many things that an organization needs to flourish such as information about competitors, market structure, governmental regulations, economic trends, technological advances, product innovations, and advertising needs (Answers.com, 2006).

Summary

Marketing research and marketing strategy go hand in hand because the knowledge from research is needed to develop a strong marketing strategy and tactics. In the article: Pursuing a Growth Strategy, the relationship between research and strategy is solidified. The article is a case study of Dixons Group a specialist electrical retailer. The examination was done on this organization to show their ability to maintain a strong growth strategy in spite of its rivals. Dixons level of success is attributed to their emphasis on research. The company has a promise that states, "We aim to provide unrivalled value to our customers by the range and quality of our products, our competitive prices and our high standards of service (The Time 100, n.d., Section 1)" In order to reach this promise it is vital that customer needs are not just merely delivered but that expectations are exceeded. ...

Solution Summary

MS Word Document - Qualities that make this product new to the marketplace; a marketing plan for your product or service from the ground up - 9 Pages; 4041 Words; 7 References.

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