Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Yesterday I had an experienced businessman/entrepreneur call me to discuss helping him advertise a new product he invented. Since my communication style is built around asking a lot of questions we talked about how he came up with the idea, what he was anticipating for production costs, and what type of research he had done before getting to this point, among many other things. The inspiration was solid and made sense. He wasn’t really sure about production costs at this time, but because he owned the business that would be producing it, he wasn’t overly concerned about it (should be though). Not surprisingly however, was the fact he did not do any research. Zero. Zilch. Nada!

Within 10 seconds I found over 200,000 search results for the product he just “invented”. There were basic, inexpensive options. Advanced options that were very user-friendly and more technological in nature. There was even a product that was designed almost exactly like the way he described his product. From Amazon to eBay to big box stores and small online companies, the light bulb that lit up for him at home one day apparently lit up for others across the country months and years before.

Needless to say this gentlemen was bummed to learn he wasn’t the only one to have thought of this. Having said that I tried to give him some legitimate hope about possibly penetrating the local market since neither of us have ever seen this product in use. That could mean that demand isn’t there or that the companies that offer this product are just not advertising it very well. If he wanted to find out if there was an opportunity here, I recommended that he invest in specific, strategic tactics to spread the word.

For less than $10,000 we would design his logo, develop a simple e-commerce website, create and manage Facebook campaigns, and launch a local direct mail campaign (his invention had to do with mailboxes so we felt this would be a perfect tactic). Somewhat to my surprise, he was shocked at the price to get everything up and running and launch the initial campaign. NOTE: We work with a lot of small businesses at The BLU Group so we’re used to having to stretch a dollar, but we always tell our clients and prospects what we think they need to realistically spend in order to achieve their goals. He just didn’t have any idea what things cost or what he intended to invest at this point.

When all was said and done, he was extremely appreciative of the conversation, advice, and insight he was given during our phone call. If nothing else, he said I opened his eyes to a lot of things, the most important being that he should have done some research before going so far down this road.

The moral of the story for people looking to launch a product or start a new business…do your homework! In addition to research, be sure part of your homework includes creating a budget for developing a marketing plan, creating brand components, and advertising.

I love helping people look at things from different perspectives, achieve their goals, and make their dreams come true. Sometimes that means being the bearer of bad news, but you know what they say, “a penny saved is a penny earned”. I think I just saved this gentlemen a lot of pennies.