Discover the secrets of how to market an invention.

Secrets of How to Market Your Invention

Where to begin? There are so many exciting opportunities if you want to learn how to market your invention today. “How to market an invention” is a big field, filled with plenty of room for opportunities and missteps.

One of the challenges inventors face is that inventions are new. Of course, you say, that’s obvious. But, it produces particular difficulties for inventors that an average run-of-the-mill product doesn’t face. Take a mop, for example, an ordinary broom. How do you market it? One way to get started is to look at how similar mops are marketed, and more or less copy it.

That isn’t going to work for a brand new product, that by its very nature is untried, not entirely defined, hasn’t yet been accepted and isn’t settled in the public mind. Inventions are new in a way that is challenging but also exciting for marketing.

Of course, before you set out to patent, develop, prototype and manufacture your invention you did plenty of market research as part of the invention process. You should already have a good idea of what the target demographics for your product are, and what price points are acceptable to the public. This research was necessary to determine if your invention could be worthwhile financially.

But, those were probably pretty basic demographic studies. Now, to gear up for a marketing campaign, you are going to have to do a deep dive into that data.   You need to build a marketing plan that is designed for success from square one.

At World Patent Marketing, we see inventions every day, and we know that most fail. But, we also know that one of the main keys to success is a great marketing program. Particularly in the early stages of your invention release, before people all over the country are using it and talking about it, you need to explain and sell your invention product to people who have probably never seen anything quite like it before. How do you describe and explain your invention and what it does? Think about it, is, in fact, one of the hardest things to do when something is entirely new, there are no reference points. And new, by definition, is what an invention is.

Not to worry. Hold tight; we’ve been at this for a while. We’re going to explain all of the marketing essentials and steps to you. And we’ll even throw in a few tricks of the trade that we have developed over the years at World Patent Marketing.

Market Research

Your first and most important step are market research. You must determine who your ideal customer is. Undoubtedly you have a vague idea; that’s the easy part. Now you need to learn everything about them, where they live, what they watch on television, how old they are, what kind of car they drive, how many kids they have, if there’s a dog or a cat in the house, and what they had for dinner last night.

In short, you need to know everything. The key to great marketing is knowing your customer as well as you know your close family.

Professional marketers call this the field of demographics, which for our purposes can be thought of as a study of the people who will buy the product you are trying to sell. When it is time to market your product you want to know everything about your customer, as you can see from this list which includes some of the questions you should be familiar with..

  • What is the age of your customer?
  • Are your customer’s men or women, or is it likely to be used equally by both males and females?
  • What is their education level?
  • What is their average income?
  • Do they live in a particular region of the country?
  • Do they live in a house, apartment, or college dormitory?
  • Are they suburban or rural?
  • What kind of music do they listen to?
  • What professional or trade associations do they belong to?
  • Are they members of alumni or volunteer organizations?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • Do they watch television, listen to the radio, or surf the internet?

While this list may seem exhaustive, it is just the beginning. The better you know your customer, the easier it will be for you to create a compelling message and get it in front of them. Demographic profiles are included in the World Patent Marketing cost to patent your invention.

Demographics is important to how you market your invention.
Test out taglines and brandnames for maximum marketing performance.

Branding and Taglines for Invention Marketing

Once you have an accurate understanding of your customer you can begin to craft your message. Many inventors make the mistake of assuming that their best customer is just about themselves and their friends. A lot of the time that isn’t far from the truth, because most inventors create products through their experience, to solve real everyday problems. But, many times that means they create a marketing campaign which they like, forgetting that it may have to appeal to a broader audience. This can be a big mistake and result in lost sales and revenue.

Your message should be designed for the most likely purchasers of your product. Note, we said ‘purchaser,’ not just user. For example, parents are the ones who buy products for younger children. Especially when it comes to inventions for toddlers, your marketing should target their parents. And women still do most of the shopping in most homes, so even if it is a kitchen gadget that is likely to be used by men just as often as women, don’t overlook the fact that women are most likely to be the final purchasers.

Creating a message begins with giving your product a brand name and a tagline. Ideally, you want that name to be distinctive and to indicate within moments exactly what the product is. For example, “Easy-grip-bottle-opener” tells what the invention is; while “Doug’s Thing-a-ma-jig,” is just confusing. Clarity is a better choice than cleverness.

Taglines are an additional statement, usually six words or less, that says something more about your product. An example would be from BMW, whose tagline is “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” or World Patent Marketing’s Safety Blade, which has the tagline, “The Safest Blade on the Planet.” Taglines are memorable and add to the information contained in the brand name.

These are two of the most important pieces of the invention marketing package. Your brand name and tagline should be on every piece of marketing material you create, on your website, on every blog, in every press release, on your letterhead, in your print ads, brochures, packaging, signage, and in television and radio scripts.

You want to take your time on choosing them and test them out. Print them out and see how they look on paper. Show them to friends and see if they get the idea right away. Make sure people aren’t confused. Make sure it doesn’t look odd and is easy to read and pronounce.

These days, you also want to do an online search before you invest too much time into your name and tagline. You need to make sure that the name and slogan are not in use, and also that they are not registered trademarks. You can do a search with the USPTO to be sure that your chosen brand name is available. And you also want to check online to ensure that you can purchase the domain name, for your online marketing presence.

Crafting a Compelling Message

Once you have settled on the perfect brand name and tagline, you now want to begin to create your invention message or story. This isn’t the point where you start writing ads; it is the back story of the invention. Why did you invent it? What problems does it solve? Who do you know who thinks it is great? These are the kinds of questions you want to brainstorm; this is where the marketing gold lies.

Think about not only what it does, but why people would use it. A lot of marketers just start making lists of all the situations where the product might be utilized. And then they create short stories around those situations that give them insight into what the person is thinking, how they are feeling, and how the invention solved their problem or made their life better. This is all part of understanding the customer’s motivation.

Pay particular attention to emotional motivations, which are often stronger than pure logic. “It works great” is rarely as compelling as “It will change your  life.”

A compelling message should speak directly to the customer. It isn’t about you (at least not necessarily) and it isn’t about everyone. The best marketing is directed toward some particular person. They are of a specific age, live in a particular place, drive a specific car, and they have a favorite brand of beer, or they prefer wine, and trust us on this red or white matters.

This is why car companies don’t make a single television commercial for any one of their cars; they create explicit ads for the exact same models, that are filmed in different regions and for different income groups. Same product marketed to different types of people.

You can start to craft your message by noting down in a short paragraph what your invention is and why it is important. Then try to shorten that to one or two sentences. Now you have both long and short forms of copy, which will get you through the initial stages of the marketing process.

A few words about messages in general, keep it short and keep it simple. Don’t tell the customer ‘everything’ about your product. Stick to the top three features. You can list all of the details on the packaging or page two of your website, don’t make a dozen features your main points. People don’t need or want to know everything; they want to know something that is important. The top three are all that anyone can remember.

Also, ‘why’ sells over ‘what.’ This is a mistake many people make in their marketing efforts. Sure, I want to know what your product is, your advertising needs to make it clear exactly what you are selling. But that won’t make the sale. Your marketing must tell the customer why they need it. That’s why aftershave commercials show men being chased by women, rather than listing the ingredients that went into the product. Nobody cares about the ingredients, what they want is sex appeal.

Find out how to craft a compelling message for your invention marketing.
Market your invention online, at tradeshows, and in traditional media.

Where to Market Your Invention

By “where” we are referring to, should you advertise on the internet, in newspapers, on billboards, television, radio, direct mail, or one of the other dozens of possible venues. In marketing, these are referred to as media and markets.

Media are the different formats, like television, newspapers or brochures. Even door-to-door or telephone banks are a form of media. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. For most inventors the two most important factors are price, and as always, your customer.

No matter what the cost, you have to advertise in a way that reaches the customer. If your invention is for people who are seniors, advertising on the internet is a waste of time, even if it is relatively inexpensive. Seniors read newspapers, watch television, listen to the radio, and open their mail. They are perfect candidates for daytime television ads and direct mail.

On the other hand, if your customer is a 22-year-old male, online is the way to go. For young women and mothers, mobile can be your best and cheapest bet.

You can find out the profiles of users of different types of media through online research and by talking to media sales representatives. They can give you data that will help you to understand who uses their media and what the profile is so that you can better target your customer. This data is readily available from all legitimate media markets. One tip, if they don’t have this data, they aren’t legitimate. When you buy media, you are buying impressions and “eyeballs.” All companies selling media have data about their audience at their fingertips; it is part of their sales package.

Of course, most inventors are on a shoestring budget. Many times they aren’t trying to sell their invention directly to the consumer, but rather to stores and distributors. In this case, one of the best places to market your invention can be at trade shows and in trade publications.

Often the investment in a booth at a major trade show for your product category can result in an entire year of orders, in a few short days. When marketing at trade shows, create a booth that is appealing, with lots of visual posters. And have it well-stocked with informational brochures and fliers for interested buyers to take with them. Plus, it is often good to have live demos periodically through the day, or some particular activity at your booth, to get people to drop by and check out your product.

Read on for tips on Internet and Television Marketing.

Internet Invention Marketing

Marketing on the Internet is often the first choice for new businesses. In most cases, it should be the first step. Even before your invention has been fully produced, you should set up an internet site to establish a business presence.

To set up a site, you will have to acquire a domain name which can be done online. Most small businesses use WordPress websites, which are easy to use for beginners and allow you to create a professional looking site in a few hours. With plug-ins and widgets, you can even turn your site into an e-commerce site and begin selling immediately.

The tricky part is not creating a site, but getting it seen. A well-planned email campaign can help to get the word out, and you can use social media to help it get established as well. In the end, most businesses have some form of paid advertising for their websites.

These advertising campaigns are often called pay per click advertising, although there are many varieties, including pay per view and pay per conversion. They all help your website to be seen on the front page of search engines. Representatives of online marketing companies and Google can fill you in on all of the details.

In short, there are no magic bullets. Invention marketing on the internet can be a less expensive way to get started, but to get your invention off the ground, it isn’t going to be free. That is why, the first criteria for where you advertise should not be which media is cheapest, but what media your customer use.

If your target market is internet savvy, great, get your online presence up and running and watch the sales role in. If not, you need another solution, such as television or radio.

Learn how to market your invention on the internet.
Market your invention with direct response television.

Direct Response Television

This form of advertising may be out of reach for many inventors when they first launch their inventions, but we want to bring it up for discussion because it is so relevant and efficient. It is the opposite end of the spectrum from internet marketing. Internet marketing is part of almost every campaign, primarily because it is cheap, but it is not always the most effective media. It all depends on the consumer. But in actual dollars and results, the most efficient, the king of them all, is television.

“Television is unique,” said World Patent Marketing Scott Cooper, CEO and Creative Director, “partly because of where and how it reaches customers. When customers are at home watching television, they are more relaxed; their guard is down, and more likely to be open to messages for products.” With Direct Response TV, where they can immediately call or go on their phone to order that product, it allows them to act right away. It is extremely effective.

There is no lag time, where they can change their mind, decide to wait for the next paycheck, scan for lower priced options online, or just completely forget about your fabulous invention. They can buy it right here, right now, without leaving the couch.

If your invention has mass appeal and fits the price point for Direct Response Television, this could well be the most compelling advertising format for you. Some companies specialize in creating this kind of advertising, such as World Patent Marketing, whom you can contact to have your ad made and aired.

Invention Marketing Know-How

The basics of invention marketing come down to common sense. Know your audience, choose media outlets in which they participate, and craft a message for why the customer should use your product. Execute on those points, and you are on the road to invention success.

Market your invention for success.