BMI3C – Introduction to Marketing Determining Your Product/Service The concepts covered in your Marketing textbook will be easier to understand if you can relate them to something tangible such as a product or service you can visualize. Your Culminating Activity will require you to progressively develop the many components of a detailed, professional Marketing Plan. The critical first step is to identify a product or service you can focus upon for your CA. Here are several possible approaches to ‘get the wheels turning’: The Needs Approach: This approach is where you identify, often from personal experience, a need for something. Clues are often seen in asking yourself ‘Why hasn’t someone made or thought of….?’ You could be that someone, and many others may also share your question. Many people simply observe and make connections that elude the non-observant public. Look around and see where a product can meet a need; history is full of ‘sliced bread’ examples, and many peoples’ reaction is ‘Now, why didn’t I think of that!’ If you fill a real or perceived need, people will pay you. ‘Nuff said! There is the possibility that the product has already been made but the marketing either was not done right OR the need simply wasn’t there at the time. (It may be different now!) The Imagination Approach: This approach is where you brainstorm the possibilities of creating something totally new. Recognize that there are functional limitations on this: The product must be plausible – it must use current or emerging technology. If it is ‘too far out there’, your potential investors will be very skeptical of your ability to deliver, and you will have a much more difficult time selling the breakthrough concept to your consumers. The beauty of breakthrough products in the real world is illustrated by Apple: you have the opportunity to create a market where none existed before. The Competitive/Gap Approach: This approach centers on improving an existing product by identifying the ways it can be modified or re-positioned in order to create a ‘new’ and more marketable product. Note that for this class, you may NOT simply take an existing product and tweak it using the existing positioning. You can, however, pattern your product on an existing product’s features, improve it a bit, and market it in direct competition with the existing product. You will have to determine the existing product’s target market, and see ways you can be more competitive against an established brand. How to Start: Decide on which of the above scenarios will work best for you. If you start with areas you are familiar with (i.e.: technology, fashion, music, food, retail, etc.) you will leverage your personal experience and knowledge. As a consumer in these areas, you will also have insight into the target market – very valuable information! Don’t get ‘hung up’ on product names or specifics at first; as you develop your marketing plan you will have ample opportunity to expand on details. In the event you start with one product and find it is a ‘dead end’, try to apply what you’ve learned to a replacement product as soon as possible. The teacher can help you brainstorm, and there are many on-line sites that can be used to research potential products, and identify what’s already been done.