Boundless Innovations and DreamLand Productions, founded by Darrell Fertakos, a three-time award-winning social entrepreneur, prolific inventor, innovation scholar, consumer insight specialist, futurist, ideation, and invention expert, continuously inspires the world to invent together without limits. Inspired by the Thomas Edison Papers and famous inventors, Boundless Innovations is now recognized as one of the world’s most innovative companies by www.Innovationsoftheworld.com. To learn more about Darrell, who The History Channel named a Modern Marvel out of 4,200 review press: https://innovationsoftheworld.com/boundless-innovations, https://thetop100magazine.com/darrell-fertakos and promo video: https://youtu.be/QkGElavK-G0.
Today, Darrell is sharing insights to help new inventors and startups to develop winning new consumer products.
Harvard Business School, Invention History Research, and The Journal Of Product Innovation Management teach that most products fail about 36% to 95% of the time, depending upon the industry. The loss is billions yearly.
So, how can we increase the odds of developing winning products?
Research recommends creating new products that solve a common problem, appeal to the masses, and are affordable. Successful consumer products such as- clothing, TVs, phones, shavers, and shoes are often used and sold year-round. They are not seasonal items; multiple demographics, genders, and generations use these products frequently to help creators accomplish sales objectives.
Developing a new product is costly and risky, so when deciding what to put limited financial resources into, it is best to pick a product concept one is truly passionate about with the highest chance of producing an ROI rather than reinventing the wheel, which can be good to do at times, however, more expensive for R&D, market testing, and higher costs to acquire new customers. If trying to design/invent a new product for the first time, I recommend creating a simple and affordable new product or creating an enhanced product that improves upon past products already validated and thriving in the market.
However, to succeed, ensure this new or enhanced product now helps users more by what you design/invent. If so, the odds of success increase. Before developing a new product, it is important to conduct an internet search to see if what you dream of creating is already out or not, then perform a US and worldwide patent search to ensure this new product concept will not infringe upon the patent rights of others to limit risks of having legal conflicts. To accomplish this objective, visit a patent agent or IP attorney to perform a – freedom to operate prior art patent search or contact: [email protected] for a fair price by alliances working with.
Sure, some feel it is best to take a risk and go to market fast– why bother doing a patent and prior art search? By conducting a patent search, a new entrepreneur will gain valuable insights into what was created in the past- prior art and what is currently out in the market today. This market intelligence will help you develop the same product in mind, change product features to avoid patent infringement, improve what you created to increase the odds of new product success, or if it is best to pivot.
Remember, a new product often needs a point of difference in the market. So, ask yourself what is novel/unique about this new product you are creating. Plus, one needs to consider a product’s unique selling proposition – all the features and benefits that make a new product better than the competition to increase the odds of success. Especially for new product developers, I highly recommend conducting a patent search and competitive landscape analysis of the market to identify competing products with and without patents. Doing so helps designers understand what their product offers vs. the competition. This vital information is required to understand the full value creation by what you make to help sell, license, raise funds, and effectively market new products.
Make sure the product you design offers novel or more user benefits than what is already selling, or why would anyone want this new product? In the market, one can compete on price, improved product marketing, enhanced customer service, more product features, and never-before-seen novel innovations. Aim for all to create an- overall improved product, purchasing, and customer service experience to further increase the odds of developing a winning new product and brand. To win in the market, it is often not enough to have a superior product, financing, stellar marketing, sales, logistics, intellectual property and team, is essential for venture success. Yes, one can consider licensing, strategic partnerships and co-development deals with bigger companies as well.
Forbes reports that 90% of funded startups fail – I often ask founders why they want to build a team ? The team should be the best company, executives, investors, and minds you can work with. I’ve been criticized in the past for not raising funds or forming a team in previous ventures as many do, and my answer to this is why raise funds–when one can get a meeting, close a win-win deal and work with a top company who has far more risk capital than most investors will offer and the best teams already in place to bring your products to market? As Steve Jobs taught, “think different” by doing so one can increase the odds of success.
Remember, with limited costs, it is possible to work out a win-win deal with a market-leading company to bring your product to life. However, forming these relationships can be challenging at times, primarily due to no-unsolicited idea policies many creative companies still have that don’t but should practice open innovation. This Harvard research-supported policy encourages companies to work out win-win deals with entrepreneurs to bring products to market, not invent just in-house. Doing so increases the odds of earning more together while discovering and helping new talent to benefit companies, the community and the economy.
Yes, it can be fun to grow a venture with friends or from the ground up with new and old talent, and sure, one can succeed this way – however, history proves most products and startups fail. Why? There are many risks- one could invest $10 million into developing and marketing a product, then a billion-dollar company in China develops something similar and spends 100X more capital on sales and promotion, so you may go out of business, earn less or hope this new competitor acquires you. In situations like this, one needs to respond to competitive threats in the market by pursuing a new strategy or raising substantial funds fast to level the playing field.
Don’t think you can stop a competitor who infringes patent rights just because you have a patent. Sure, you can sometimes; however, it can become a long, expensive, stressful, and drawn-out legal war that takes years. No, we can’t live in fear; to build a venture intelligently and increase the odds of developing products that win in the market, one needs access to capital, top talent, and rapid injections of substantial money to be able to pivot and respond to competitive threats in the market, that may emerge at any time.
The good news is that there are many ways to succeed and produce an ROI. For instance, inventor Lonnie Johnson invested in R&D, a patent, then licensed his product to earn over $75 million dollars in royalties as the inventor of the Super Soaker water gun. Sadly, Lonnie experienced a breach in his contract, so he had to fight for his rights and payment at times. Still, Lonnie proved he did not need to raise millions and form a team to succeed. He required a patent application, prototype, a great deal of persistence, and meetings with toy companies to find and close a deal to create a massive ROI for himself and others.
If it is your first time developing a new product, avoid developing me too copycat products. They frequently do not sell as well unless the product offering has a substantial competitive advantage. Google invested over $500 million into Google+, and the product failed. Google+ was too much like Facebook, a noticeable copy/a me-too product. Microsoft invested in Zune, a product similar to the iPod, and it did not do so well, as a noticeable copy and attempted improvement to the iPod. Too often in product launch history, an increase in product failure rates often emerges when creating me-too products. Why? The public often values something new, so innovate and copy less. Do you want a BMW car or a new WMB copycat?
If one plans to copy or improve products created in the past – make sure there are unique product offerings – in design features, marketing strategy, and overall customer experience. If a new or improved product cost less is marketed in superior ways, and has more product features, user benefits, plus innovations–the odds of success often increase even if priced a bit higher.
Remember that products that copy other well-known brands often turn a percentage of customers away, which can be risky if this is your first time developing a new product. Most people like something new, innovative and original to use rather than a copy. Notice Meta/Facebook created Threads. At first, it grew fast; however, many viewed Threads as a noticeable copy of Twitter, and users began to dislike that and used the Threads app less because of this fact and the market saturation of apps with similar features.
It is also essential to understand the first mover advantage. The first to market often does best, however not always. Apple Inc. was not the first to invent a portable tablet or touchscreen phone. IBM Simon did in 1992, and others, even LG. So, is it best to be first to market, second, third, or enter the market years later? It all depends upon what you create, the total offering, and at what price –plus how well one can market a new product. It is not always easy to dominate markets and earn billions.
So, set realistic expectations and take a risk. Staples Inc. proved that when a great team works together, even a product that does not do much but says, “That was easy” can still sell well with sufficient funding to execute an extraordinary marketing plan. As Thomas Edison taught, marketing and public relations is sometimes more important than the invention, especially if the ad campaign successfully creates product desire.
If more than 60% of strangers of all demographics, friends, and family like the new product you create and genuinely feel this new gadget has many user advantages to make life easier, more fun, and solves a problem in a better or faster way compared to other inventions in the market – I recommend taking a risk to develop and go for it. To help decide what is best to do…
Experts in the industry recommend conducting a detailed patent search to gain new insights and develop enhanced product features and designs to accomplish what the US patent office recommends, the goal of creating the very best version of a new product. If you have not researched similar products in the past and what competitors are developing for the future, are you doing your best to create something new for the market to add value and increase the odds of success?
Start smart by de-risking a new product/business rather than risk being sued for patent, copyright, trade dress, or trademark infringement after going to market. Therefore, I recommend doing a prior art patent, copyright, and trademark search to limit as many risks as possible by discovering granted intellectual property to ensure your new product is not the same device, brand, or design as others to infringe intellectual property rights.
Why do I stress conducting a patent search so much? Imagine investing your life savings in developing a new product for the market, then earning $25 million. Life is good. Sadly, suddenly, you are informed of being sued for everything made while not even being allowed to sell your product anymore. If accused of patent infringement, this can happen. So, be smart, conduct intellectual property searches, and do market research. How? Start with a competitive market analysis study (SWOT)- where you analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats this new product may have by analyzing prior outcomes of similar products and patents, throughout history and new patents granted to see what others are developing soon for the same market category.
Doing all this preliminary data gathering helps product developers understand what worked well in the past vs. what did not. With additional market intelligence, one can now move forward with more confidence or less about their current product, tweak and improve what they planned to develop, or pivot.
All this product, patent, branding, and market intelligence helps a new product developer to put forward their best effort to increase the odds of success. This data will also help, especially when approaching investors and retailers you plan to sell to or receive help from. A patent search and market research study can also help a new entrepreneur/inventor find- co-founders, companies to license to, potential businesses in the future that may want to acquire this new product, possible manufacturers, and investors. So, dive deep, collect data, and move forward more intelligently to increase the probability of success.
With so many new products constantly entering the market, futurize a new product with an array of product features and benefits to create as many competitive advantages as possible over prior products and what may soon be entering the market. Aim to create products that elicit a wow/awe emotion upon seeing and using the product while ensuring a new product is easy to operate and demonstrates well on TV, online, and retail shelves. Most importantly, customers need to understand what a new product is and does in seconds. It is important to note that multi-functional products that solve several problems and pain points often sell best.
Just think of the PC, smartphone, all-in-one printer-copier-scanner, fax, and smart TV. These products solve several consumer problems while filling various needs and wants with just one product upon purchase. The Journal Of Product Innovation Management recommends creating products that fill needs, not just wants. Needs come first. I need a pair of shoes. I do not need costly leather shoes since only a small percentage of people in the market can afford high-quality leather shoes. This does not mean one should not create high-quality products to compete with the best brands in the world. Gain experience developing and marketing new products with success. Learn to walk in the market first, then run and aim to dominate next.
It is essential to study fundamental market trends and facts, such as 60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. As a result, if the product is too expensive to make, market, and sell, then only a small percentage of people can afford to buy what you create, so the odds of success decrease, however still possible. Aim to develop products for the masses, not just niche markets. Study the four to six main buyer types to understand consumer behavior – then create a product that has the highest odds of appealing to all buyer types rather than just one. To learn more about buyer types, do an internet search.
Here is a quick example of two buyer types and creating a product to appeal to both. A spontaneous buyer will purchase a new product because the product looks fantastic as a grab-and-go inexpensive item –. In contrast, the analytical buyer may examine all the benefits and features of a new product and will not purchase unless the customer feels the product is superior compared to other products currently used. So, the solution is to create a beautiful, eye-catching product to appeal to the spontaneous buyer and ensure your new product has many unique features and benefits so the analytical buyer will also want to purchase this new product. When ideating and designing a new product, create product features that offer multiple user benefits. Why ?
Do you want a car without- AC, radio, or power windows? More product features with several user benefits for each feature increase the odds of a sale. Too often, we read develop a MVP- minimum viable product, known as the most basic version of a product that solves a problem and may succeed. However, studies show that most MVP products fail in the market.
It can be good to start with an MVP product, gather data, and then improve the product design and feature set. Remember, winning products often need more user benefits and innovations- never seen before in the design to create more than one competitive advantage upon product use. The majority like products with more bells and whistles, don’t they? Would you buy a new car with- no sunroof, windshield wipers, radio, power steering, or automatic windows, or spend a little more to have all these car features most people want? ** Create multifaceted products that solve more than one problem, with multiple features and benefits, variety of uses and beautiful in design plus packaging while making sure the product has a cleaver/wow factor- so upon a first look, you think, wow, why did I not think of that to increase the odds of getting consumers excited to buy and use the new product you create. Do you remember being a kid and getting a unique gift you could not wait to use and play with? Try creating a fantastic product that customers are excited about and cannot wait to see, use, and recommend. How do you do this?
Ask yourself if my new product solves an important common problem, makes life easier and more enjoyable, saves time, and fills a need and want. If so, you are on the way to creating exciting products that customers cannot wait to use, share and recommend. Complicated products do not sell best. Ensure a new product is easy to understand in seconds upon looking at the retail packaging and will not cause frustration upon trying to learn how to use it. Products that win in the market often have a FUN-FACTOR, meaning using the product is fun; if unpacking or learning to operate the product is complex, one is less likely to have product fans.
Products that are so good and easy to use– become winning products that customers can’t wait to tell their family, co-workers, and friends about it. So, create products that exceed –customer expectations by being simple, fun, understandable, and easy to use while offering superior user features and benefits. Next, create innovative marketing that is different and the same as the competition in the marketing mix while easy to see, read, and understand in seconds. If the competition is not running TV ads, it is time to. The average person sees 5,000 ads daily, so it is critical to stand out by creating something new while marketing in bold and different ways than others. Just remember, the success of products is at least 40% dependent upon the success of the advertising campaign.
Winning products are often disruptive innovations that stand out in the market in numerous ways to catch customers’ attention –by offering a compelling reason to buy the product. That convincing reason is the new innovative design features you create–that offer the customer a substantial benefit compared to existing products. It is all about creating competitive advantages – why this new product vs. others? When you design a new product, consider each feature’s competitive advantages, develop the core product features customers like most, and market these core features aggressively, online, in person, on TV, print and radio. How to do ?
Conduct focus groups, collect product feedback from multiple demographics, and complete customer discovery surveys. Review and document this information for market validation. As Steve Jobs taught, “the customer does not know what they want. You must teach customers to want what you create with effective marketing strategies.” Sometimes, you must trust your gut and ignore what some customers say. What consumers will buy in NYC they may not purchase if living in Kentucky, so please keep in mind that if only a small percentage of people like the product you create, it is still possible to do well upon learning how to market successfully and cost-effectively.
Not only does a product need to be marketed well, it needs to be sold direct to consumers by professionals. The most effective form of advertising is a referral so deploy an in-person sales strategy at events and tradeshows. (Nelson Media) All the work a team does in ideation, design, IP, manufacturing, sales, marketing and shipping increases the odds of creating winning products.
Keep in mind companies create products, then product lines to extend the life and total revenue generated for the brand in the market. How so? By creating a new accessory or product feature, one can buy to enhance the original product. An example is a new mobile phone that enables users to purchase and install a more powerful branded battery sold separately to make the phone shock and water-resistant. Creating this innovative new battery with unique features and user benefits is a product line example for the brand to increase the likelihood that one will buy this new phone, not others. Since this new phone feature is exclusively available to this brand and requires the purchase of a new battery for additional benefits, the product now creates an upsell option upon battery purchase to extend the product life and sales cycle by long term value, creation. Start with a product, then offer new accessories under the same brand to extend the product life and sales cycle to increase brand equity and to generate more revenue.
Retail stores often want to do business with a company that has more than one product offered for sale to earn more revenue from the brand. Doing so increase the odds of finding shelf space in stores. So, create a new phone, then provide a new battery, phone case, screen protector, and a unique tablet. However, if you risk creating new products and innovations never seen before, a company will be viewed as more innovative, increasing the odds of attracting more fans and customers; but, doing so can be riskier at times. Read books on product development, business and patent laws, network with product developers, keep learning and develop a continuous improvement mindset to be on your way to successfully developing winning new products and brands.
To conclude, make sure a new product gets customers excited to buy, use, and recommend while ideally being easy and cost effective to manufacture and ship, with enough profit margin to share with retail/online sellers, and is capable of IP protection, such as a patent, copyright, or trademark. If you follow these steps and a new product meets all the criteria in this article, the odds of success often increase by 20% or more, which could be the difference between success and failure. I also recommend reading an old book, Entrepreneurs: The Men and Woman Behind Famous Brands Names and How They Made It, by Joseph Fucini and Suzy Fucini.
What else can you do
If possible aim to create products
With a $9.99 to $39.99 price point
Max $49.99 to $99.99
Affordable products for the masses
Higher Probability Of A Sale Especially For An Unknown Brand
Hire Darrell for a 30-minute to 1-hour or longer consultation
$65.00 to 150.00 for new inventors/startups and established companies, price TBD.
Contact Darrell today to learn more.