One of the hard parts of ideation and product development is being objective about your idea. Great ideas are not necessarily profitable ones. What really makes an idea or product profitable is that enough people agree that it’s great.
Understanding marketability will help you see how much it’s going to cost to inform the market that your idea is, in fact, great. You might find that a few adjustments to your product or business plan can make your product much more marketable.
Or, you might find that the cost is so high, your idea isn’t profitable. But finding that out is a good thing; if you found it out later, it would cost you a lot more in time, money and pain.
What, exactly, makes a product marketable?
The short answer is that it provides value to somebody — ideally, to a lot of people. Even better, that value would be very self explanatory, so you don’t have to spend time and money educating consumers.
A baseball bat, for example, has high utility. Those in the market for a long, round, durable club know exactly what they’re looking at. However, in a market saturated with baseball bats, it becomes much harder to sell. Now, you have to educate the consumer on what exactly sets your bat apart from the rest.
This is a doable task, if your product truly has upside. What you need to realize is that marketing is going to be more difficult, and probably more expensive.
Does your product have an ideal customer?
Every marketable product comes with an ideal customer: a customer that 1) needs your product, 2) is easy to access, and 3) is easy to communicate with.
In a perfect world, this customer is conscious of the problem your idea solves and is looking for a solution. When they see it, they immediately know what it is. But even if this isn’t the case, your product can still be marketable.
There are many successful products that need to be explained to the consumer. Perhaps the consumer hasn’t identified the problem you’re solving, or doesn’t recognize the solution for what it is.
The thing to be aware of in this situation is that there is going to be a cost to educating them.
How does effective marketing work?
Simply put, the goal is to communicate the value of said products to said consumers, and give them a specific call-to-action they can follow in order to either 1) obtain more info about the product, or 2)obtain the product itself.
The more marketable your product is, the easier this task becomes. The perfect product all but sells itself. But you don’t need perfect. You just need one that’s marketable enough. Enough, in this case, means that educating the market will cost less money than you can make. The easiest way to achieve enough is to have a product with a Unique Selling Proposition.
This can be almost anything. It could simply be that you’re the most accessible supplier for a geographical area. It could be that your product outlasts the rest. It could be the lowest price of all available options.
For your product to be marketable, it needs to have a reason people should choose it over the alternatives. You may or may not need to explicitly state your Unique Selling Proposition, but you do need to know what it is.
That way, you can both learn to communicate it better, and refine your business/product to strengthen your USP.
During ideation and development, it’s important to assess marketability through market research. This will help you get past your own bias about your idea. Challenge your own assumptions. Don’t bet the farm that other people are going to see your idea the same way you do.
To read up on conducting market research for your idea, you can click here