by: Geoff Ficke

How to Self-Analyze Your Consumer Product Idea To Facilitate Bringing It to Life

Today I was approached by a person with an interesting Consumer Product concept they hoped to bring to market. The idea potentially has considerable utility. I say “potentially” because it is still only an idea. I am often asked how to gauge whether a new Consumer Product idea, service or concept has real viability to be successful in the contemporary volcanic Retail Marketplace. Here are three rules to use to self-screen your concept before attempting to build and market the idea.

1. Is the Product or Idea “Doable”?

I review hundreds of New Product submissions every year. Very few will make it from concept to store shelf. The reasons for this low success rate are many and varied. One of the biggest eliminators is that many of these projects are not “doable”.

I recently reviewed a product that was beguiling for a number of reasons. The design was sleek. The engineering concept was advanced. The potential for consumer acceptance seemed to be present. However, the cost of tooling was going to be astronomical. The client did not have sufficient resources to build molds. SLA one-off prototyping was not possible. There was no simple, affordable way to demonstrate the products Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to investors. Venture Capitalists typically do not invest in ideas that do not offer confirmation of product performance. After much consideration it was determined that this project was not “doable” under current circumstances.

If the cost to produce the product is too high you will not succeed. If there are unusual, exotic or rare components involved in manufacture you will have a difficult time in Marketing the product successfully.

2. Is the Product Idea Valuable?

You will love your product idea. You would not being pursuing the opportunity if you were not infatuated by it. The question to be confirmed is whether others will find it “valuable, and be willing to pay for the resulting product.

There are a number of methods that can be used to confirm the intrinsic “value” of an idea. This can be accomplished by conducting a formal or informal Focus Group. Survey friends and associates whose opinion you value and ask whether they would buy the described product? At what price? What improvements would they suggest? Etc.

There are professional services that provide Sales and Marketing Consulting, Branding, Product Development and Engineering. Often these types of firms offer Free Product Evaluation programs.

It is important that others whose opinion is unbiased be consulted and you receive a positive response to confirm the real “value” your product might offer consumers and retailers.

3. Is your Consumer Product or Service “Saleable”?

Nothing happens in business until something is sold. Selling is the engine of all commerce. Is your product saleable? Do you have the ability to sell? If not, do you know how to recruit professional Sales Representation? Is your Consumer Product priced properly? Is there a Customized Marketing Strategy that will enable the item to be placed in front of Retail Buyers and Decision Makers?

You must address these questions. If answers to all three are in hand, then you have the green light to proceed to the development stage of the project. Success is not yet insured. But, at least, you will have confirmed that your idea has sea legs and the idea can be brought to life.

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, ( 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.