Help Determining Feasibility of a Business: Is Your Product, Service or Event a Good Idea?

In this help tips series on how to start marketing your business, event, product or service, we’ll cover some of the basics first like feasibility and determining who your target demographic is and then move in to some more advanced areas like how to create your marketing message and even some things to consider when buying media or advertising.

I see a lot of articles on this and many of them hem and haw, trying to colorfully expand as if you have time to read the Ernest Hemingway version of a “How to” piece. At the risk of sacrificing entertainment value, I prefer to just jump right in to the issue.

The first thing to consider about marketing your project is whether to market it at all. There are a lot of tools available to help you determine the feasibility for success and while some great ideas have seemed to defy the odds, the vast majority do not and remain bound to the some of the obvious considerations we’ll observer here.

While I admire a passionate effort behind bringing a product or idea to market, I have to say that as with many aspects of life, passion can severely hinder the objectivity necessary for an accurate assessment of probable success.

That aside, we’ll need to first define your target market to determine if there will be market support for your idea. Is this an idea that can realistically be served worldwide or locally? In either case, try to find any existing, successful products, services or ideas that are similar to yours. A comparison between your business model and the successful, similar models is highly recommended for obvious reasons, we can see what types of approach are working and how different or similar ours might be. Take close notice of aspects of the successful campaigns, like the type of people featured in images, the colors and shapes used in the marketing materials, the type of offer in the call to action and perhaps most important, the price points. A lot of money and effort can be wasted trying to reinvent the wheel. As a simple, initial study, use internet searches and resources like Alexa web information to see traffic and interest data for those efforts, similar to ours that appear viable or successful.

If there are no examples of similar efforts, that’s ok or even fantastic, depending on the circumstances. Another way to determine the level of market interest is by using keyword search data. There are many, free resources available that will allow you to simply search terms and phrases related to the nature of your idea, that will give you an accurate indication of the level market support for your idea.

Another area of media presence I often observe, if relevant, is the frequency of different types of infomercials airing at a given time. The companies that air infomercials on television usually keep a close eye on the profitability of a given infomercial and the type of offer within. Most often, you will not see an infomercial air that has not quickly proven itself profitable for the media buyer, so you are seeing it broadcast often, you can bet that it is a marketing success.

Some other considerations for the feasibility of your marketing idea relate to the individual, target customer. A primary consideration is that women dominate the majority of all retail activity, so even products intended for men should take the tastes of women in to consideration. I always say, as it relates to a product or service’s message or story, we need to know who we are talking to before we can determine what to say or how to say it. Focus group studies and marketing history have framed some standard marketing approach principles behind campaigns as they may be directed at a given demographic group. No matter who your target, there is a set of elements (colors, shapes, font type, etc) that might be more specifically suited for the marketing materials. An again, we can look at the supporting materials for successful similar campaigns to get a direct view of what works.

Another area related to gauging probable success is whether your idea presents a convincing case for its need. How easily convinced of the need for the type of product or service will people be? And when convinced of need, what makes your product a more valuable choice? These are two, key questions whose answers form the core of your message.

Cost analysis is another critical area but one that presents too many variables for there to be a generally advisable approach. I would only say that when bringing a campaign to market, there should be enough capital to drive it for at least four quarters, without seeing any return. Too often , a great product or idea is brought to market with all of the necessary support except the funding needed to achieve proper saturation and stalls. While there are some exceptions, a general rule of thumb in direct response marketing is that even those who order your product, needed to be exposed to it 7 to 10 times before actually buying it.

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