NVBC Seminar on Market Research and Product Marketing

What do entrepreneurs need to consider in marketing their product? New Ventures BC hosted “Market Research and Product Marketing“, their latest seminar in a series providing essential business education, last night at the SFU School of Business in downtown Vancouver. Rocket Builders Senior Partner Dave Thomas provided some critical information and exercises for business startups to consider in getting their product to market. Some key messages:

On finding your marketing niche:

Most entrepreneurs search for a market niche rather than going head to head with an established giant. After focusing on one market and succeeding, this makes it easier to move organically into other markets later.

Begin with the end in mind!

Example of photocopiers as a case study. For photocopying, first there was Xerox. IBM tried to replicate them, followed by Canon. IBM was less successful, but Canon figured out the niche markets — they fit where Xerox was weakest, focusing on specific products. Today, Canon does not make a full suite of photocopiers because they didn’t want to be Xerox Number 2. That’s why they met success.

Dave also covered essential market research questions that businesses must ask in order to get an accurate reading on their product’s potential in the marketplace:

Key Market Research Questions

    * What is your target market?
    * How big is it?
    * Who buys your product? (Financial buyer and technical buyer are two different people!)
    * Why do they need it? (Eg. Is there a significant problem you’re solving? People will pay a lot more for a painkiller than a vitamin).
    * Who pays for it?
    * Who uses it?
    * How does the customer fix the business problem you are addressing today?
    * How much are they willing to pay?
    * Why would they buy from you?
    * What business problems are more important to them than this one?

The session also included some great self-assessment exercises that can be done quickly and can be very eye-opening. As an example, I really enjoyed the “acid test” for differentiating your company in the marketplace. If you can insert your main competitor’s name into your positioning statement and it still rings true, you haven’t done your job.

If you’re interested in checking out a seminar, or even the whole remainder of the series, here’s the full schedule of NVBC seminars.

BONUS: If you’re interested in checking out Seminar #2 on Managing Your Intellectual Property, NVBC has made the video of the presentation available here.