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News from International Mgm't Consulting Associates
Hit the Market with Everything You've Got!
Part One
September 2008
In this issue
-- "It's all in your mind."
-- Positioning a Frog as a Prince
-- Moral of the Story.
-- Revision and the Ford Edsel
-- Where Does Your Innovation Fit?
-- What is a Great Product?
-- How is your product or service going to reach the customer?
-- How many versions will you offer?
-- One Brand Name or More?
-- How about packaging? Will the packaging be as innovative as the product?
-- How do you package a service?
-- Installing an elevator in an old building?
-- Exercise

"It's all in your mind."
"It's all in your mind." That statement is especially true when it comes to positioning in marketing; how customers and prospects perceive your offering determines their feelings about them. Notice I said "feelings" rather than "thoughts." Why? Because, no matter how intellectual or presumably logical the buying decision may seem to be, the bottom line is that it is primarily emotional. Determine how you want your product or service to be perceived then appeal to the corresponding emotions. The following story illustrates that point

Positioning a Frog as a Prince
frog Two young women were backpacking through a beautiful forest. As they came around a bend in the trail, they came upon a lovely pond. Sitting at the edge of the pond, however, was the biggest, ugliest, meanest-looking frog they had ever seen. Before they could react to it, the frog leapt into the arms of the nearest woman, smiled and said, "KISS ME. I AM A PRINCE!"

With one hand, the young woman raised the frog up to her face. With the other hand, she slowly reached behind her shoulder and opened her backpack. Then quickly, she put the frog into her backpack and closed it!

Stunned, her companion asked, "Aren't you going to kiss the frog? After all, he is a prince."

"No," the young woman responded. "Princes are a dime a dozen these days, BUT A FROG THAT CAN TALK --- WE CAN MAKE A FORTUNE WITH THIS!!!"

Moral of the Story.
The frog did not position himself properly; he misinterpreted the young woman's dreams and priorities. He was pitching an outdated romantic image; she was seeing economic opportunity and the luxurious lifestyle she might enjoy by marketing a talking frog.

On the other hand, the young woman might have done the frog a favor by positioning him economically rather than romantically. As a prince, he would have been exposed to court intrigue, plots, and possibly a violent "coup d'etat." This way, at least, he would be well cared for and protected economically for the rest of his life. Bottom Line: It is amazing what the right positioning can do. He should have offered her a job as his Marketing Manager.

"Revolutionary products don't fail because they are shipped too early. They fail because they aren't revised soon enough"
Innovation Revolutionary Guy Kawasaki

After "The Three T's of Innovation: Test! Test! Test!" comes "The Three R's: Revise! Revise! Revise!"

What good is testing if you don't use the feedback to revise and shape the final features and benefits of your innovative product or service? The customer is your best guide as to what will work or won't work in the market.

Revision and the Ford Edsel
One of the most prominent new product failures of automotive history was the Ford Edsel. Actually, it was a very nice car, and might have sold better under another, more attractive name. What most people don't know is that Ford Motor Company tested the market extensively beforehand by conducting extensive opinion surveys of a list of possible names. They were able to narrow the list to about 20 really hot names; in fact, they were so good that Ford executives couldn't make up their minds as to which was the best. but it was most likely suggested by someone who was looking to earn points with the CEO. Edsel was the name of Henry Ford II's father, who had died in 1943 of cancer.

Obviously, that name was not on the list of suggested names from the survey. Further, the name was not tested in the market, so there was no feedback that might have indicated its lack of oomph and the need for revision.

On September 4, 1957, the Edsel was launched with great pomp and bombast. It bombed, and the rest is history.

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."
Winston Churchill

Where Does Your Innovation Fit?
In which quadrant does your product fit? The competition's products?
Note: Dots represent positions of competing products. image

Home mortgage, vacation, cosmetics, and chewing gum are examples. Buying a vacation has emotional value for most families, but does not carry as much emotional value as a home mortgage. However, both are expensive products, and require research and analysis, which makes them more important than cosmetics and chewing gum (at least, for most people).

It is important to determine how your innovation products or services rank in terms of their importance to the customer, and how much they appeal to customer emotional needs and desires. As you evaluate the feedback from testing and analyze revision options, your decisions should match customer expectations.

As you look at the quadrants above, you may also be able to identify gaps in the market for additional innovative products and services. You should also consider what perceptions you wish to create in the customer's mind, and how your revision decisions might impact them. Depending on which quadrant your product occupies, you may wish to emphasize its importance in terms of economics or quality of life. On the other hand, if your product or service is purchased mainly on appeal, you may want to concentrate on increasing its attractiveness and even sub-conscience influence.

What is a Great Product?
As you conduct this analysis, think in terms of what could make your product great one; here are some of its qualities:
  • Does it satisfy needs and wants you didn't even know you had when you bought it
  • Is it far more than the least you would have been satisfied with?
  • Does it perform much better than you expected?
  • Is everything about it delightful?
  • Is it well-designed even elegant?
  • Does it touch your "hot buttons?"
  • Does it generate strong feelings?
  • Does it cost more than you planned originally, but you feel it is worth it?


How is your product or service going to reach the customer?
Will you
  • Sell directly?
  • Sell through agents?
  • Sell through wholesalers?
  • Sell through distributors?
  • Sell by direct mail?
  • Sell by telephone?
  • Sell on line?
  • License others to sell?
  • Sell by Multi-Level Marketing?
  • Sell by franchise?
  • Sell by piggy-backing with Alliances?
  • Sell to everyone?
  • Sell only to major customers?

Why not several of the above?

How many versions will you offer?
Small, medium and large?
Premium, mid-price, and economy?
Professional, home, student?
Beginners, proficient, expert?
Local, regional, national?
East, West, Mid-West?
City, County, State?

Consider establishing different versions of your innovation; that's what Microsoft does, and so do many other companies in a wide variety of industries.

One Brand Name or More?
Will you have only one brand, a separate brand for the premium product, or separate brands by type of distribution and region?

How about packaging? Will the packaging be as innovative as the product?
Remember, first contact comes through the senses. What qualities, features and benefits should your packaging offer? Do everything you can to make that first impression truly impressive!

How do you package a service?
You may ask, "But how do you package a service?" Again, first contact is important. If the service is personal, appearance counts. If it is by telephone, quality and tone of voice are major factors. If it is by mail or online, design can have an enormous influence.

Installing an elevator in an old building?
A famous American resort hotel was built before elevators were available. In time, however, despite its beauty, splendor, fame, and wonderful location, customers began to go elsewhere because they didn't want to climb several flights of stairs to get to their rooms.

Engineers were called in to design a viable elevator system that would take care of the problem without any major restructuring. The engineers concluded that the only solution would be to destroy a complete block of rooms to make room for the elevators and their equipment.

The hotel owners declared such an approach unacceptable; it was too costly and would detract from the elegance and style of the hotel. Yet, a solution was found. Can you guess what it was? (The answer to the elevator question appears at the end of the newsletter.)

I strongly suggest you try the following exercise; it will help you to truly think out of the box.

Years ago, a professor at MIT challenged engineering students to design a vehicle for aliens who physically resembled long-legged birds. The winning design was an "Eggmobile,: a car that had physical and psychological characteristics that made it attractive and gave comfort to bird-like creatures.

This exercise is designed to get you thinking differently about things that are conventional. Think through the following question then apply the lessons learned to your product.

What qualities, features and benefits does an egg offer as a package? Write down your thoughts; you will be surprised by how many things you never thought of become vital to the egg performing its job.

"Hit the Market with Everything You've Got!" Part Two will appear in next month's newsletter.

IMPORTANT FOR THE HEALTH OF YOUR IMAGINATION. From time to time, we all have problems creating new ideas, concepts, products, and services. There is no fertility pill that will help with " Creatile Dysfunction." However, there is a cybernetic equivalent of one. It is called 71 Creativity Triggers, a wonderful creativity stimulus and e-book that you can get by clicking here.

The 71 Creativity Triggers are designed to help you break out of your creativity block, or Creatile Dysfunction when the imagination just plain refuses to produce new and exciting ideas and alternatives. Each of the 71 Creativity Triggers will get your imagination going by giving you a new way of looking at the problem you are trying to solve. Want to come up with lots of ideas? The 71 Creativity Triggers will open new doors and windows to different and better ideas. The more you use them and practice the suggested techniques, the more creatively productive you will become. They work especially well when you are trying to brainstorm with others.

The 71 Creativity Triggers will not only arouse your imagination, but you won't have to consult a doctor if the stimulus lasts more than four hours. I know because I use them myself (testimonial).

But wait, there's more! As a special bonus for purchasing the 71 Creativity Triggers, you can download a FREE E-BOOK, INNOVATE!!! 10 Keys to Successful Innovation. This Free E-Book will take you through the 10-step process that leads to wonderful new ideas and products. As someone once said, TRY IT - YOU'LL LIKE IT... and it's free!!!

Answer to the elevator question.

As the hotel owners and the engineers were arguing while trying to find an acceptable solution to the elevator installation problem that wouldn't eliminate valuable room space, a hotel housekeeping employee was mopping the floors nearby. Hearing the discussion, under his breath he said, "That's dumb. Why don't they just put the elevator on the outside?" He was overheard, and that turned out to be the solution. If you visit the hotel today, you can see that the solution still works. Did the employee receive a reward? Nobody knows

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