You are important!
A most important factor in product rollouts: It’s customers! And how can inventions or rollouts catch on when there is no frame of reference to compare. When we consider our spotlighted invention, we start with one man’s need, the head of a company who loved opera and wanted to listen to it on long flights. But the thing about most needs is that they are often universal, and if you find a way to address the personal need, you’ll find that there’s demand out there.
Even when they had their new device, the process of invention wasn’t done.
The marketing was the brilliant move to show how the device met the need— that did the rest. This is a lot like our friend with the shopping cart who hired people to push the thing around stores so that they could see how it worked and why they should adopt it themselves.
Show the target market how you meet the need.
The point here is this: whether you are branding a small business, your career, or virtually anything else, the thing itself must meet a need, but then you’ve got to show the Target Market just how that meet has been met by you, your product or your service. Bottom line, it’s about sampling, and sampling is by far the most effective form of marketing.
Let people try something that meets their needs effectively, and you will likely get a customer. This means getting yourself in the door (career-wise) or getting them, the potential customer, in your door (business-wise) to sample.
One of the very first lessons I ever learned about sampling was witnessing the opening of Joe and John’s pizza in my neighborhood back in the mid-sixties. What did they do opening night? Free pizzas for everyone! There were lines around the block. Joe and John knew the marketing truth about sampling (the place is still around all these years later), and so did Sony!
One final note on invention and marketing.
The invention is about refining and responding even after the initial push. It turns out that Sony executives whose love of opera kicked off the Walkman absolutely hated the name of the product he inspired… But he was a wise marketer because when he was told that the people loved it, he let it stand.
The audio version is embedded below, and for the readers in the group, here it is. Enjoy.
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
This is Dr. John Tantillo asking Did You Know That?…
The year was 1978. A Japanese executive wondered if there was a way to listen to his beloved operas on the long trans-Pacific flights he frequently took. He turned to his top engineer, Nobutoshi Kihara, for a solution.
What Nobutoshi delivered was groundbreaking: A lightweight cassette player that could produce extraordinary sound quality.
The executive recognized that what had begun as the solution to a personal need would have universal appeal. But right off the bat, he had a big problem. People weren’t used to wearing earphones and carrying their music around with them. The device risked becoming a flop. His team took to the streets, parks, and subways of Tokyo. They got people to try the device. And when the people did, they bought.
The product was its own best advertisement.
Within a year, the player was flying off the shelves around the world. The company was Sony. The player? The legendary Walkman. One of the best-selling audio devices of all time and the one that kicked off all those gadgets that we now make a part of our lives. And now you can say: Yes, I know that.
Why not contact JT, aka John Tantillo, branding and marketing expert, to chat about branding, marketing, and of course, how best to “GO BRAND YOURSELF!” firstname.lastname@example.org