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BRINGING INNOVATION TO MARKET

If You Build It, Will They Come?

Here are three simple steps to see if there is a market for your new product or service.
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So you've come up with the next big idea--in this case, an eco-friendly rubber chicken. Before you walk into your boss's office and tell him or her what they can do with this job, you'll want to be sure there is a market for your chicken. Can you competitively price your premier poultry? How will you position your bird to be the head hen, so to speak?

Here are three simple steps for every aspiring entrepreneur to quickly ascertain whether your chickens will come home to roost.

1. Google AdWords

You want to find out if there is a market for your product. Look no further than a simple search on Google. By searching for keywords (i.e., words that you would use to locate your goods or services online) you can instantly be informed as to whether or not potential competitors are paying to have their ads appear in Google's sponsored results.

Why is this relevant? Because it instantly tells you whether there is a market for the product you are researching. In short, if someone is paying money to have an ad on Google for a product you know right away there is a market for it. How big is the market? Well, that is another question. But generally speaking the more ads that show up for a given keyword placed by different competitors the larger the market is.

This does not mean that if no one is bidding on the keywords you select there is not a market for your product. Perhaps your invention has never been conceptualized or is unknown to the general public. If this is the case, other research may need to be used.

2. Price Points

The next market research you must consider are the price points at which your potential competitors are offering their goods or services. Only by understanding what they charge can you determine whether you will be able to be competitive in the industry in which you seek to gain entry. Again, Google is a great place to start.

When you conduct your keyword research through Google's sponsored listings dig deeper into your results. Go to the websites of those who are offering similar goods or services and see what their price points are. Can you compete at these prices? Can you beat these prices? Although price point is only one consideration in a consumer's decision to purchase goods or services, it is one of the most important factors.

3.  Distinguishing Your Goods or Services

Finally, now that you are two-steps into your simple market research, always consider one final thought: Now that you know your competitors and their price points how will you win the battle for business? What feature, function, or characteristic of your goods or services will attract customers over and beyond similar offerings by others?

Perhaps you will compete on price by offering consumers a new low-cost alternative to that which is already on the market. Perhaps you will compete by offering superior customer service or a better product. Whatever the point of distinction, you must have one to enter any marketplace so that you can easily distinguish your goods and services apart from your prospective competitors. Otherwise your business, and your product, is just another face in the crowd.

IMAGE: iStock
Last updated: Mar 27, 2013

MATTHEW SWYERS | Columnist | Founder, The Trademark Company

Matthew Swyers is the founder of The Trademark Company, a Web-based law firm specializing in protecting the trademark rights of small to medium-size businesses. The company is ranked No. 138 on the 2011 Inc. 500.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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