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Problem Solving is Key to Realizing Success In the Hyper-Active Consumer Product Marketplace

by: Geoff Ficke

Many of my students and prospective clients often ask a similar question: “What is the key to successfully launching a new product or service”? While there are many elements that allow for market success there is one that stands out. That is the ability for a product to provide a solution to a problem that consumers readily are able to recognize and understand.

A few years ago a direct response marketing company launched a product called the Snuggy. Initially the short form infomercial that introduced the Snuggy was considered a bit silly. The product after all is a blanket with sleeves and it looked a tad cumbersome to wear. However, as the campaign took hold, and the benefits of the Snuggy became apparent sales took off. Since launch, the Snuggy has sold well over 25 million units and has resulted in the building of a brand that regularly expands with new product
introductions
. The Snuggy offered comfort and freedom of motion.

Direct response marketers are constantly looking for products that solve problems. The items they most prize can seem almost mundane. But, if a better mousetrap can be discovered, and the product works as promised and can be built at the right price, deals will get done.

The best ideas we review almost always are generated from the creator’s personal environment. Work, a hobby, or special interests act as laboratories for the flowering of ideas that enhance the inventor’s tasks. Avid cooks devise the most useful food handling items and kitchen implements. People involved in fashion and design create interesting beauty products, jewelry concepts and other related products. Most of the useful hardware and DIY products we have reviewed evolve from a handyman, or craftsman’s drive to improve their end work product. This truism applies to every area of endeavor.

I have, on many occasions, discovered really clever problem solving gadgets being used in an acquaintances home. The item is almost always jerry-rigged, homemade, often crude but able to solve a specific problem as the creator intended. The designer usually has never considered commercializing and launching their item as a consumer product for sale in the retail marketplace. They simply built the device to solve a problem and are happy that their effort has provided the appropriate solution.

There are numerous variables that are involved in the ultimate success or failure of any consumer product or service. Design, packaging, branding, a customized business
plan
and marketing strategy, research, cost of mass production, and many other elements enter the equation that decides the success or death of a product. However, the one factor that will offer the greatest potential for a successful outcome is the ability of your project to provide a solution to a readily recognizable problem. Does your item solve a problem?