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Smaller, often technical, businesses misjudge the difficulties and importance of marketing

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Summary: Smaller, often engineering and technical businesses frequently misjudge the difficulties and importance of marketing in the new product development cycle. They assume that the technical development of the product is the hard part and that taking it to market will be easy. Quite the reverse!

Main thought: I have been researching, writing, coordinating and editing a book on the inventing process, how to successfully develop new products and bring them profitably to market. This has been with a group based at the UK’s Southampton Solent University and the illustrated book has taken a long time to complete but it is now almost ready for launch. The “Practical Book of Inventing” examines every phase of the new product development (npd) process, from idea generation, through design and intellectual property management, raising financial investment, all the way to successfully arranging sales and distribution. But, looking through the work to produce the book, a couple of salient points emerge about the whole process of successful npd for individual inventors and smaller businesses. These are that-

  1. Licensing is a great way to get the product to market quickly if you own robust intellectual property for the product eg a patent. Life is only too short and obtaining 60% of the profits quickly through a licensing deal is much better than trying to obtain the 100% that may never materialise;
  2. Marketing is critical in the npd cycle. Smaller businesses misjudge the difficulties and importance of marketing and very often assume that the technical development of the product is the hard part and that, once developed, the world will beat a path to their door to buy the product. And then they wait, and wait, and wait…..for the orders that never appear in the quantities expected. From first contact to research market needs and to create the product’s specification right through to taking orders for the finished product, reaching out to prospective customers is critical – get a professional involved from the start in the npd process!

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