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All posts for the month August, 2019

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2019/08/how-to-launch-a-product-in-retail/

Check out Don Debelak’s New Book at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Don+Debelak+inventions&…

Originally Published as a post in Forbes Magazine’s web site. Written by Linda Murphy

As an inventor, manufacturer or importer, you’ve got a great idea for a new product that should be in every home. Now what?

“Build it and they will come” only works in the movies. A successful new product launch requires specific steps from concept and design, to branding and marketing, to business development and sales and, finally, to revenue and profit.

Here’s how to get your “next best thing” into stores.

Branding, Design And Creative Strategy

Creative strategy is vital to a product launch and sales success. Potential customers develop an immediate perception of your product simply by its name and how it looks. First impressions mean everything, so the words and visuals must be spot-on from the start, including the product itself, logo, packaging and marketing collateral, from advertisements to websites to signage and more.

Colors and fonts can evoke different thoughts and emotions (good and bad) in consumers. Blue conjures up trust; red, boldness; white, fresh and pure. Scrolling fonts convey sophistication; angular ones evoke formality .

It’s clear to see that many factors contribute to the perception of a product, so it is advisable to work with a graphic designer who understands not only the aesthetic importance of marketing collateral, but also the resulting effect on consumer behavior at retail. Cohesiveness across all public-facing messaging instills brand familiarity and loyalty, so having one design team for all creative projects is advisable.

Design To Sales

The fusion between design and sales is undeniable. Just as a design strategy needs to be fresh and creative, so does a sales strategy. An inventor myself, I’ve developed strong relationships with retailers and know what they want. The sales methodology my team created and utilizes has been tested and proven. How do we do it, and how can you do it, too? Here are some tips:

• Hit the ground running, and launch on all fronts quickly: Research. Start personalized dialogues, and build relationships with buyers. Schedule meetings. Request invitations to present products, and prepare materials for the presentation.

• Do your due diligence. For retailers to be responsive, you need to respect them and not waste their time. Walk through their stores; study their corporate strategy, and identify appropriate personnel. Draft an appropriate hit list of key accounts whose white space and strategy fit your products. “What’s in it for the retailer?” should be the vital question you ask and answer.

• Everyone wants their invention associated with the biggest names in shopping. But don’t limit your efforts to only traditional retailers. Consider the audience most interested in your product, and identify specialty catalogs or websites that cater just to them. Approach distributors to use their networks while continuously “selling” to create demand.

• Keep in mind that retail is constantly changing — be prepared for it.

• Amazon is a unique case. Success from the site requires more than throwing up a product page. Partner with an expert who knows the ins and outs of Amazon: how to craft product pages that don’t get lost in the sea of sellers, and how to use Amazon advertising and other techniques to garner visibility and drive sales.

• Think about sales in terms of short term and long term. In the short term, look to build an online presence, replicating on other dot-coms — such as walmart.com, homedepot.com, target.com, etc. — what you’ve achieved on Amazon. There’s no better marketplace, especially if you can sell directly through retailers as a preferred partner. Once you’ve established a sales history, you’ll start to generate short-term income, and recurring revenue will start to churn, with good results that can be brought to new retailers’ attention. Be flexible with your strategy, however — so getting a no means changing your tactics until you get a yes!

The Purchase Order Is Only The Beginning

Getting products on store shelves is only step No. 1. Staying there is the heart of business development.

Engage in product launch marketing services to keep the momentum and continue to generate sales and keep products in the news. If advertising alone generated the stellar results all entrepreneurs dream of, everyone would have a Super Bowl commercial.

Many companies, however, overspend on wasted advertising that doesn’t generate results. A sensible mix of advertising, public relations and other marketing initiatives generates awareness, keeps products top of mind, compels consumers to purchase and instills brand loyalty.

Advertising

Digital advertising is the way of the future — and the present. Compare analytics (costs, click-through rates, audience, etc.), strategically aligning products with those that offer the best opportunities for positive ROI.

Public Relations

Every product, service, entrepreneur and inventor has a story to tell. Tell that story through public relations (PR) to help spur sales.

PR is third-party validation. Instead of you telling the world how great your new product is, someone is championing it for you, providing objectivity that advertising lacks.

• Influencers (think Oprah) have a much bigger audience than you. One word from them, and suddenly, your product is known by millions around the globe.

• Different types of media appeal to different demographics. Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, blogs — which is your targeted audience consuming?

• Trade media is a qualifier for businesses whose products are primarily business-to-business (B2B).

• PR taps into current trends, news stories or holidays, such as gift guides.

• Show expertise by securing a company or employee profile in business media.

• Show off your “trophy case” by entering national awards competitions that recognize excellence in relevant categories.

• Every media hit gives you an opportunity to follow up with a potential buyer and share the excitement and validation of new successes.

Trade Shows

Introduce your products to a large number of buyers at once at trade shows. But setting up a table and sign and waiting for buyers and media to come to you won’t cut it. Actively seek out face-to-face meetings, even before the show starts. Give as much attention to your booth as you would an ad. Again, first impressions count!

The post How to Launch a Product in Retail appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2019/08/did-someone-else-patent-your-idea/

It hit you like a ton of bricks; the stars aligned and you had your eureka moment: you came up with a great new idea for an invention! You threw together a prototype to see if the idea would work, and it did! Then you hopped on Google Patents and started searching to see if someone has patented your idea. You sorted through countless patents and finally found one that looks a lot like your idea. What can you do?!? Fortunately, there is a whole lot you can do and often you can still pursue your idea and succeed, even when someone else has patented the idea.

Your Idea Is Already Patented

The first thing you want to do is look carefully at the patent and see does this patent really describe the same thing my idea does. If not, or not exactly, you will want to consult a patent lawyer to see if you can patent around this existing patent and still have reasonable protection.

But what if someone patented your idea exactly? You want to check to see if the product is available. Check the internet and stores to see if you can find it. If not, try to contact the names or company listed on the patent. Ask them if they are selling their product or if they have licensed their patent. Over 90% of patents never make any money, so there is actually a good chance that they aren’t selling or haven’t licensed this product.

Before we go any further, we should talk about why 90% of patents never make money. Large corporations apply for and receive many patents that they never intend to pursue or aren’t sure that they will pursue, which accounts for part of this 97%. There are also patent trolls who apply for patents to later sue others, which also accounts for part of this number. But the main reason that most patents don’t make money is because it is difficult to bring a product to market. Inventors who don’t look for help can have an especially hard time since many inventors are really good about coming up with creative new ways of doing things but are really bad at running a business or understanding how to set up a sales network. So if a patented idea didn’t make money, that does not necessarily mean the idea is bad. Maybe the business behind the idea was run poorly or the product wasn’t formulated and packaged in a way that would excite customers. This is important to remember and there is a great example of this below.

So if the inventor or company listed in the patent says they aren’t selling the product and no one else has licensed the idea, tell them that you may be interested in licensing the idea from them. Before you agree to anything, make sure you have done your homework. You must know if the market opportunity is big enough to support the product and if people will feel the product is a good solution (if you need help with this, we can provide you with Consulting or Invention Evaluations). If the product has the potential, start licensing negotiations with them. It is impossible to say in an article what terms to work out, because if the idea is almost ready to bring to market, you will need to pay them more, if the idea is just on paper, you should pay them less.

Once you have a deal worked out, just treat the idea like your own: develop it, do market research, hone the idea, do more research until it is ready for sale, and then of course, start selling! Let’s see how Rachel Stephens has done this:

Stephens struggled to get her two children to properly brush their teeth and wash their hands; they were always in such a hurry that they did a poor job. She envisioned a timer that would have the children press a button and then the timer would tell them when they were done. But when she did a patent search, she found that someone had already patented the concept. Stephens decided to approach the inventor and license the idea. She further developed the idea and added the hand washing timer (the original idea only included a teeth brushing timer) and started marketing the product, called the Wash & Brush Timer. It is now sold through a chain of retail stores, JoJo Maman Bebe, at www.trendykid.co.uk and she is working on getting dentists to carry the product too.

What can we learn from this story? Stephens had an idea that was already patented, but the inventor wasn’t successful with the patent. Stephens then transformed the idea into a product that would excite customers and started selling. Having an idea is important–it is the invention–but turning it into a product that makes money is the step that many inventors fail at. Stephens’ success came by adding value, by including a hand washing timer, and by formulating and packaging the idea to excite customers. If you can do this, you can turn an unsuccessful idea into a success! And if the inventor has tried and failed, he is she will probably be willing to license the idea for a low percentage.

What if the idea is already successful and the inventors has sold or licensed the product? That still doesn’t need to stop you. If the product is licensed or is being sold by the inventor, you may be able to license the product for other markets. You maybe envisioned a use for the product that the inventor did not, and you can license the product for that market. You may also be able to sell the product for a commission. Either way there are still options left for you to pursue your dream.

If you have patent questions, Don Debelak is a registered patent agent and can help you. Contact him at info@onestopinventionshop.net.

Don Debelak offers affordable patent work. Check out http://patentsbydondebelak.com/

The post Did Someone Else Patent Your Idea? appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2019/08/press-releases-a-great-tool-for-inventors/

Most trade magazines,
targeted at retailers, distributors and salespeople of a particular industry,
for example bikes, or hardware tools, have new product sections.  You will also find that many consumer
magazines dedicated to a user, such as Bicycling, or Bike magazines also will
carry new product sections. Press releases are a great tool for inventors
because magazine editors may publish information about your product in a new
product section that might be read by key industry people who can help you. Often
you will get inquiries, particularly from manufacturers’ representatives, that,
might help you promote your product. The best news for inventors is that you
typically don’t pay anything to get listed in a news product section of a trade
magazine or a product specific consumer magazine.

You can also contact
hundreds of newspapers through a press release distribution company such as PR
Newswire, https://pr.prnewswire.com/prnewswire, EIN
Presswire, https://www.einpresswire.com  pr PR Distribution https://www.einpresswire.com 

Find the right trade magazine for your product by looking in
Gale’s Source of Publications and Broadcast Media at larger libraries, or
search on the Internet for your product category or industry and the term
“trade magazines”. For example a search for bike retailers’ trade magazine you could find Bicycle
Retailers and Industry Magazine.

After finding the names of the
magazines you want to send information to, find the name of the editor on the
magazines web page and the prepare and send a press release. The web site https://fitsmallbusiness.com/press-release-examples/ has 34 sample
releases you can review.

Key Points for a Press Release

Have an angle.
Every good news story has something to get people’s attention. An example of
people using the product, solving a ling existing product, or something fun and
exciting are all angles.  Write
your headline. Your headline should grab the
attention of your audience. Write up four of
five possible headlines and show them to friends and relatives. Then ask them
if they can think of something better. A Headline can’t be dull. Write
your lead paragraph. This paragraph
needs to have a compelling reason for people to read more.  Again, it pays to write three or four lead paragraphs and then get input
from friends and relatives about which one they find compelling. Do this before
writing the body of the release as you need to know what angle you will follow.
Check this site for more details http://work.colum.edu/~amiller/leads.htm. Write two to five strong body paragraphs
with supporting details, which means you can document your points with actual
examples of how it works. Focus group testing, consumer tests and real world
examples are the type of documentation you want to have. The press
loves quotes from real users, or from people in the distribution chain. Getting exciting quotes from
users will dramatically increase the number of publications that will use the
press release. Don’t just have the user say the product is great. You need them
to explain the problems, or the benefit that your product gave them. For
example, with this new bicycle accessory I can keep up on long rides with younger
members of the bike club.Include photos of you, your product, and your product in use by an
actual user. Make
sure the photos are high definition photos suitable for publication. You can
also send lower definition photos but refer the editors to a web site where
high definition photos are available.Have a high quality web page set up. Interested editors will go to your
site, and they will be turned off by a poor- quality web page.  Include contact
information including your
name, phone number, email and web page. Include boilerplate copy about your company. A company boilerplate is a few paragraphs of text about the company that goes at the bottom of all its press releases. This text
describes the company, its purpose, and often, its
size, presence, and chief locations. Go this site https://www.criminallyprolific.com/company-boilerplate/ for information
writing boiler plate information.

Press Releases – A Great Tool for Inventors

Most trade magazines,
targeted at retailers, distributors and salespeople of a particular industry,
for example bikes, or hardware tools, have new product sections.  You will also find that many consumer
magazines dedicated to a user, such as Bicycling, or Bike magazines also will
carry new product sections. Press releases are a great tool for inventors
because magazine editors may publish information about your product in a new
product section that might be read by key industry people who can help you. Often
you will get inquiries, particularly from manufacturers’ representatives, that,
might help you promote your product. The best news for inventors is that you
typically don’t pay anything to get listed in a news product section of a trade
magazine or a product specific consumer magazine.

You can also contact
hundreds of newspapers through a press release distribution company such as PR
Newswire, https://pr.prnewswire.com/prnewswire, EIN
Presswire, https://www.einpresswire.com  pr PR Distribution https://www.einpresswire.com 

Find the right trade magazine for your product by looking in
Gale’s Source of Publications and Broadcast Media at larger libraries, or
search on the Internet for your product category or industry and the term
“trade magazines”. For example a search for bike retailers’ trade magazine you could find Bicycle
Retailers and Industry Magazine.

After finding the names of the
magazines you want to send information to, find the name of the editor on the
magazines web page and the prepare and send a press release. The web site https://fitsmallbusiness.com/press-release-examples/ has 34 sample
releases you can review.

Key Points for a Press Release

Have an angle.
Every good news story has something to get people’s attention. An example of
people using the product, solving a ling existing product, or something fun and
exciting are all angles.  Write
your headline. Your headline should grab the
attention of your audience. Write up four of
five possible headlines and show them to friends and relatives. Then ask them
if they can think of something better. A Headline can’t be dull. Write
your lead paragraph. This paragraph
needs to have a compelling reason for people to read more.  Again, it pays to write three or four lead paragraphs and then get input
from friends and relatives about which one they find compelling. Do this before
writing the body of the release as you need to know what angle you will follow.
Check this site for more details http://work.colum.edu/~amiller/leads.htm. Write two to five strong body paragraphs
with supporting details, which means you can document your points with actual
examples of how it works. Focus group testing, consumer tests and real world
examples are the type of documentation you want to have. The press
loves quotes from real users, or from people in the distribution chain. Getting exciting quotes from
users will dramatically increase the number of publications that will use the
press release. Don’t just have the user say the product is great. You need them
to explain the problems, or the benefit that your product gave them. For
example, with this new bicycle accessory I can keep up on long rides with younger
members of the bike club.Include photos of you, your product, and your product in use by an
actual user. Make
sure the photos are high definition photos suitable for publication. You can
also send lower definition photos but refer the editors to a web site where
high definition photos are available.Have a high quality web page set up. Interested editors will go to your
site, and they will be turned off by a poor- quality web page.  Include contact
information including your
name, phone number, email and web page. Include boilerplate copy about your company. A company boilerplate is a few paragraphs of text about the company that goes at the bottom of all its press releases. This text
describes the company, its purpose, and often, its
size, presence, and chief locations. Go this site https://www.criminallyprolific.com/company-boilerplate/ for information
writing boiler plate information.

The post Press Releases – A Great Tool for Inventors appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.