My new product is not setting the market on fire. Why?

Hi Aunty B,

Mmm, product development. Thought I was a good boy scout and followed the checklist but something has gone off the rails somewhere.

I have:

  • asked our clients what was a gap in the marketplace;
  • researched current offerings and pricings;
  • developed a differentiated product;
  • marketed to our existing clients in all channels (at events, printouts, newsletters);
  • marketed to new clients at events, via Google Ad words and LinkedIn; and
  • worked on SEO to increase the ranking on a dedicated page about the product.

Thing is, numbers are nowhere near what I thought they would be. When I discuss the product everyone raves about what a good idea it is but the wallet doesn’t open.

This product has been my baby and I have driven it all the way and now I am wondering do I need to drop the axe on it and admit defeat (before the boss does) or am I missing something?

Pulling out the sharpening stone,



Dear Pulling out the sharpening stone,

As my good friend always says, “A better mousetrap depends on an absence of smart cats and a combination of the right cheese.”

First of all, it’s back to the drawing board to look at your product through fresh eyes. If your new product didn’t exist, what would they use? What are your competitors offering?

If you can at the end of this process say hand on heart that customers have a compelling need to buy, that it is different, that it is correctly priced, and there are no other smart cats around your neck of the woods, then let’s move to the next set of questions around the type of cheese you are using i.e. distribution and marketing.

How are products like yours usually distributed? You see, you need to get your product in front of intended target customers in large enough volumes to make your numbers. And I suspect this is where your problem lies: in your distribution and channels to market. Your typical customer is used to getting this product direct from their own lawyer who can then follow up. Or they get it from a debt collection agency.

So, in effect, the channel where you want to sell is tied up with existing relationships with other players. In other words, you are trying to sell one thing into that channel owned by others.

But all is not lost. Your marketing material has to work through some key issues.

First it must address some key concerns. For example, why do people really need your product?

Who else has used it and how has it worked? As you admit, there is no certainty that the product will have the desired effect. So then what happens? In other words, you need extremely simple case studies of testimonials emphasising how easy it was and stressing the price differentiation.

Lastly, you need to market the products where your potential customers are. So you are looking for online sites where businesses looking for solutions might gather. (Not Facebook.)

And one more thing. I look at that offering and would like to know there was an added service. What happens if it doesn’t work? Can you then follow up? How much would stage two cost?

Be smart,

Your Aunty B

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