The Inventor’s Initial 10-Step Marketing Plan
by Jeffrey Dobkin
One of my inventor friends asked me, “How do I market a product?”
Yea. It’s just that simple.
And here’s your simple answer: Invest time, money or energy. Or… actually, just pick two.
Or… maybe it is just that simple!
First, some questions: are you marketing a product or a service?
Is it local (geographic marketing) or national?
Is it consumer, industrial, or business to business?
To a wide or narrow niche market?
Or is it a broad-appeal retail product?
Also – how much does your product cost; what is the sales buying cycle, and is it need-driven?
Impulse? Seasonal? Is price important?
Most importantly: What are your sales goals? How much do you want to sell? And what’s in the marketing budget?
Yea, I know – you want to sell a million of them. Keep in mind reaching your sales goal will be determined in part by your budget. You can’t sell a million of anything when your advertising or marketing budget is geared to sell 10,000. Tiny marketing budget = tiny sales. Good to start, but to sell a million of anything right out of the gate is costly. So, again tell me: how many did you want to sell?
Considering first of all that you do have a budget, don’t you?
All these different possibilities have different marketing campaign strategies.
Fortunately they all start here in some common ground:
Here’s how every marketing plan starts:
1. Identify your most likely prospects.
The first step in any marketing plan. Go for the ones standing by the side of the road, waving money in their hands at you – and are ready to buy, right now. If you can identify these people and reach them, half the battle has been won!
2. Create a Coherent PR (press release) campaign for newspapers and magazines.
This is a series of press releases: a campaign sustained over time that’s well thought out up front. Write each press release headlines for now, the write the first press release. You’ll write the body of all the other press releases later.
Find magazines in your markets and industries in Bacon’s Magazine directory or Oxbridge Communications Periodical Directory found in major libraries.
3. Create an “informational booklet” to give away for free – and offer them in your press release.
The booklet TITLE is responsible for the quantity and quality of the response, so write a great booklet title using the “Jeff Dobkin 100 to 1 rule”: Write 100 titles, go back and pick out your best one. Hey, I didn’t say you’d like the “100 to 1 rule”, I just said it’s the best way to get the highest response.
By offering a FREE Booklet you give potential customers a non-threatening reason to call and something FREE to ask for – in return for showing you they’re interested.
4. Send your first press release to your magazine list.
For the complete and detailed instructions on how to do this, please see my book, “How To Market A Product for Under $500!”
Keep tight track of the response: where did it come from? Then plan on ads in magazines that had the most successful PR media placements.
5. Start creating a mailing list of your top 250 prospects.
That’s right – start digging for names and addresses.
Yea, it’s hard work.
But… your success depends on the quality of your mailing list!
6. Track every call, every inquiry.
Have a sheet of paper by every phone and ask, “And how did you hear of our company?”
I know, you think you’ll remember where they came from, but just to be sure, write it down and put that slip of paper in a drawer.
At the end of a few months count the slips for each, you’ll know exactly what’s working.
7. Create quality literature and cover letters.
Send cover letters with anything and everything. No piece of literature goes out without a cover letter. Any questions?
And don’t say, “Enclosed is our brochure…” in your letter. They can see that!
Offer additional reasons to buy, more product benefits, a brief sales pitch – and give a BIG PHONE NUMBER. Ask readers to call several times in the letter.
8. Mail to your Top 250.
Mail to your best prospects frequently, every 4 to 6 weeks if you can.
If you can’t identify your market tight enough and make this mailing work (a mailing to your very best prospects!), you’re in trouble. Big trouble.
9. Test and retest small ads in various media.
Don’t forget to look at low cost unusual advertising opportunities such as association newsletters and so forth.
10. Keep marketing to wherever the best prospects and most sales are coming from.
See if you can clone your best customers: Figure out where they came from, what they like, why they purchase – and look for more of the same.
Hope this is helpful. Don’t forget to buy my book, “How To Market A Product for Under $500!” Best $30 bucks you’ll ever spend on marketing. Besides, I need the money.
Jeffrey Dobkin Bio —
Jeffrey is a fun speaker, and an author who has written 5 books on marketing and two on humor. He has been on the on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Inventors for over 15 years and the President for 3 years. The American Society of Inventors is a 501c3 organization that helps area inventors who are members free of charge. To speak with him call 610-642-1000. Visit The Bookstore to order his books, tapes and videos – and for more articles on invention, marketing, advertising, PR, direct mail and more…