It sounds a little backward, the concept that you could sell a product before it even exists, but the reality is, it could be the best way for you to create your next successful product or service.
You’ve probably seen this method before, though you may not know it. Kickstarter is a prime example of creators selling a product that doesn’t exist yet, or if it does exist, it’s not in production.
Kickstarter is based on the premise that a business will create a fundraiser and set a fundraising goal. People who pledge money to the company will receive the product being pitched and maybe more depending on the amount of money pledged. The company only gets paid if it reaches its fundraising goal. The goal gauges customer interest in a product.
These creators are selling their product to an audience before the product exists…and it works!
Presell Your Product
If you’re not looking to go the Kickstarter route, there’s still a way to gauge customer interest, presell your product.
Think about what Apple does with all of its new devices. It gets customers to buy the product before it’s even available. Now Apple has established itself as an industry leader, so it can charge full price for a product that isn’t even out yet.
However, many smaller and less established companies have found that preselling their products at a discount can gain customers before a release. While on a smaller scale, preselling a product works for a lot of companies.
How to market a new product or service before you make it
If you don’t like the idea of charging money for a product or service that’s not out yet or not created yet, then there’s still a way that you can test the market.
Mark Randall, the former VP Creativity for Adobe, talked to TNW about his methods to sell a product that doesn’t exist yet. Here are the key steps:
Create Ads — Randall says the first step you take is to create ads. Come up with some advertising ideas for your fictional product and then make those ads. Create them as if you were going to sell this product on the market.
Create a Website — Create a website where you’re going to sell this fictitious product, but make sure that the website is honest about the product. Let people know that the product is not available now, but it is in development. Randall tells TNW the point of the website is to register a customer’s interest, so ask for an email address so that you can contact the person when the product is available.
Advertise — Use social media to target a small group of people. Randall says 100–200 people is a big enough sample size to determine if your product is marketable or not.
Analyze the Data — Look at the results. Is there enough interest there to warrant creating the product or is it an idea you should forget about?
What is the benefit of selling a new product or service before you make it?
Whether you choose Kickstarter, presale, or the marketing plan proposed above there is one major benefit to selling a new product or service before you make it. By choosing one of these methods, you get to see customer reaction and response before you create. That means you’re not pouring hours of time and possibly thousands of dollars down the drain in the development of a product that no one wants.
Remember, you may think you know what the customer wants or needs, but only the market can tell you the truth. If you found this blog helpful be sure to check out some of our previous posts.
Written by Erika Towne