December 2013

Pilot, Pilot, Pilot

December 7, 2013

I see so many new product marketing plans, and so many of these people have the big splash, or national launch, and associated exponential sales ramp built into their plan right out of the gate. It just gets tiresome. I appreciate the enthusiasm and passion, but it simply it not that easy, and acting like it is, is naive. Nine out of 10 times it won’t work the way you draw it up. Big launches take big money. Why bet your credibility and others money without more data?

So my advice is Pilot, Pilot, Pilot. Work like crazy to get a prototype with simple, non-final marketing materials and packaging, into a trial commerce setting (think lemonade stand) somewhere in a store(s), region, small group and test key attributes like: pricing, take rate, display/demo, user experience, durability, and the great unknowns that you have never thought of. Get some sales. Do it on a level where you can make mistakes and not have the public domain flog you (note: this is a downside of early online commerce). Iterate two or three times.

And do some of this before spending all your effort on a fancy website. The website won’t help make your product better in the early days. The website will, however, give the idea to others and if you have some unprotected intellectual property, then you have not helped yourself. Just build a simple site for landing, educating, and collecting interest.

After piloting you can now craft a bullet-proof business plan & strategy that is based on killer data and proven sales. Wishing & hoping is not a business strategy. Piloting gives you wisdom. You can pitch to your investors and stakeholders with confidence. You can hire employees with confidence. You can go for it with that big splashy launch. You become credible. So go pilot first …