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Inventors Initial 10 Step Marketing Plan

The Inventor’s Initial 10-Step Marketing Plan

by Jeffrey Dobkin

One of my inventor friends asked me, “How do I market a product?”

Here’s a simple answer: Invest time, money or energy. Or… actually, just pick two.

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?
Are you marketing to a wide or narrow niche market?
Or is it a broad-appeal retail product?

Other questions to consider:
How much does your product cost;
What is the sales buying cycle?
Is it need-driven?
Impulse purchase? 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 a good degree by your budget.  You can’t sell a million of anything when your advertising or marketing budget is five hundred bucks.  Or if your 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 takes a costly investment.

So, again tell me: how many did you want to sell?

What exactly is your budget to support this sales number?

Considering first of all that you do have a budget, don’t you?

All the different sales goals have different marketing campaign strategies.

Fortunately they all start right 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 possible purchasers 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.

A campaign is not a single press release.  A press release campaign is a series of press releases sustained and sent over time.  It’s well thought out – up front.

Write ALL the press release headlines for now. This will show where the press release campaign is headed.

Then write the first press release.

Don’t worry – you’ll write all the other press releases later.

Find magazines for your markets and industries.  

Research in Bacon’s Magazine directory or Oxbridge Communications Periodical Directory.  These great media reference tools are found in major libraries and are actually quite easy to use, even if you’ve never used them before.

3. Create an “informational booklet” to give away for free – and offer them in your press release.

Keep in mind your booklet TITLE is responsible for the quantity and quality of the response!

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 calling you and 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, I’ve already written this plan, so I’m not going to write it again here.  Please see my book, “How To Market A Product for Under $500!”

Keep tight track of the campaign and the response: what magazines or newspapers published your release?  Where did the response come from?  Later in the campaign you will plan on running  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.
Thankless, too.
But… your success depends on the quality of your mailing list!

6. Track every call, every inquiry.
Have a pad 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 you won’t.  And is six months you’ll wish you followed my advice. 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 magazine or newspaper working to bring you response.

7. Create quality literature and cover letters.

NOTE: 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.  Readers can see it’s enclosed.

Offer additional reasons to inquire, call, buy, and show more product benefits, offer a brief sales pitch and make a great offer – and give a BIG PHONE NUMBER.  Ask readers to call several times in the letter and brochure.

8. Mail to your Top 250 prospects.
If you’re a large firm or have a big budget, mail to your top 10,000 prospect.
Mail to your best prospects frequently, every 4 to 6 weeks if you can.  Hey – they’re your BEST prospects – who better to mail to?
If you can’t identify your market tight enough and make this mailing work (a mailing to your very best prospects!), you’re already 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,”  meetings, trade shows 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 Dobkin

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 was the President for 4 years. The American Society of Inventors was a 501c3 organization that helped area inventors free of charge.  To speak with him call 610-642-1000.  Visit The Bookstore to order his books, tapes and videos – and look around this website for more articles on invention, marketing, advertising, PR, direct mail and more…