Do you have something you want to sell? How you go to market depends on two primary questions. What is your product? and Who are your customers? Once you can answer these questions, then you can get the ball rolling on the rest of the details, such as costs, pricing, how to get your customers to learn about your product, and how can you put it into their hands (and take their money).
What is your product?
It’s important to clearly define your product before deciding how to go to market. It stands to reason that the best way to sell baby clothes is very different than how to sell photography art prints. A seller of baby clothes will want their product to be on the shelf of clothing stores and baby boutiques. A photographer, on the other hand, will want to list their prints in art shops, reach out to interior designers, and sell on art-centric websites like Etsy.
This is a vital first step in the marketing process. Until you define your product — what it is and what it does — you won’t be able to determine who it’s for and who will give you money.
Who are your customers?
One of the most important steps in developing a marketing strategy is to define your target audience and potential customers. Who are the people who want your product and will give you money for it? Sometimes, extensive research is required to determine your target audience. Other times, it can be more obvious. If you sell baby clothes, it’s very likely that your customers will be younger parents, especially mothers. A manufacturer of a high end computer video card will likely try to target video editors and gamers. Photography prints will attract people who want to hang art on their walls. Who are these people? Likely homeowners, business offices, and interior designers.
When defining your potential customers, the price of your product matters as well. After all, mass-produced photography prints in Walmart will have a very different target audience than the art galleries selling expensive prints in high-end frames.
What are your costs and prices?
Many factors come into play when deciding how to price your product. How much does it cost to make your product? What overhead costs are associated with running your business? Do you work out of your home, or do you rent office space? Do you have employees and pay for their health insurance? What do your competitors charge for a similar product?
It also comes down to the basic economics of supply and demand. How badly do people want it, and how much of your product is available? Hotels charge more for a room during the holidays since demand is up and fewer rooms are available. Likewise, airlines charge more for holiday travel because seats are limited and the demand is high. A one-of-a-kind photography art print can be sold at a premium, compared to the low price of massively produced prints which are available everywhere in stores like Walmart, Target, and Amazon.
Product marketing is a complicated process and being an expert will certainly help. But there are basic concepts that can be applied without requiring an advanced business degree. When you have defined your product and its purpose, determined who your customers are, and calculated a pricing model, then you can set a marketing plan in motion.
Once you know your customers, you’ll know where to promote your product to make them an offer. If you can increase their demand while making it appear that supply is limited, you’ll be able to sell your products at the right price to make your business profitable.