by: Geoff Ficke

How to Market a New Consumer Product Idea-The Mindset Required

This will be the first in a series of self-help articles that will be of use to aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses who seek to market a consumer product, idea or service that they have conceived. As a Product Development and Marketing Consultant I am approached every day by people desirous of, but not knowing how, to open the myriad doors that they must confront in order to get an idea, concept or prototype to store shelves. The process can appear overwhelming. It is not, but it is not for the faint of heart.

The first issue any driven entrepreneur must confront is their personal reality. Do they have they temperament, drive, fearlessness and creativity to get into the most competitive game on earth; a game played with the goal of influencing consumers to buy their product and not the competitions. What is their current home and financial reality? Is the wife, husband, or significant other on board with the project? These types of questions must be answered honestly.

If the above realities are not truly roadblocks, then another major issue must be addressed. Does the owner or conceiver of the product want to self-market or need to secure help in order to achieve stated goals? This is another “reality” consideration. Consider each option:

The main reasons to pursue a self-marketing option is that there are no, or limited resources available to pay for professional guidance and the entrepreneur has a history of successfully overcoming challenges that would halt others. Ask yourself a question: If you are not mechanical, would you attempt to give your car a tune-up? Or, are you a person who knows nothing about car engines, but decides to read a book on the topic and learn how to complete the task? If your answer is the latter, you are a candidate to possibly become a successful self-marketer.

Consulting Help
The benefit of hiring competent, experienced Marketing Consulting and Product Development help is to save time, money and mistakes. In order to successfully get a consumer product to market dozens of steps must be undertaken and successfully addressed. Professional help in any field is paid to perform services. Whether you engage a plumber, accountant, landscaper or Marketing Consultant you will pay for service rendered. In every case you need to vet history, experience and references before contracting for services. Always speak to at least three candidates before deciding on which to use. Never hire without receiving a Gantt Chart with action items that will be accomplished in specific time spans.

After you have carefully considered all of the aspects addressed above you will have a better idea of the best course open to you. You should know at this point whether you are ready to plunge into this exciting, but intimidating world of entrepreneurship. I have one further caution: put your dreams in storage!

During my 35 years of working with micro-businesses and inventors the one predictor I have found to be absolutely solid is what I term the “dream quotient”.
This is easily spotted, usually during the first phone or e-mail contact. It goes something like this: “Let’s make $50,000,000 together”. Or, “I have a billion dollar idea”. Another goodie is: “I have an idea that I want to sell (or license)”. How about, “I don’t have any money, I want you to be, or to find me a partner”.

The person that leads off an introductory meeting with this type of statement is a dream merchant. Successful entrepreneurs do a bit of dreaming, but they convert dreams to reality by hard work and commitment. There are no shortcuts allowed on the road to success. Grandiose projections, licensing an idea that has not been developed or selling an un-worked concept to a funding source is the cluttered thought process of a person with no prospect for success.

No matter your financial reality, there are options and routes that can lead to success. They will take hard work, some outside of the box creativity and total commitment. Keep focus on your goals. Do not dilute effort with multiple ideas or products. Always know and understand this: you will hear many more “no’s” than “yes’ “. Marketing success is achieved only by those who do not let the plurality of “no’s” overwhelm their lust for the paucity of “yes’ “.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, Inc. ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.