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Too Much Of A Good Thing

As the resident marketing expert on Science Channel’s new series All American Makers, I get to review and give my opinion on different products and inventions that are being presented for investment.

There is something about the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity that goes into taking an idea from concept to prototype to sellable product. The ideas presented on the show run the gamut of those stages. Regardless of the blood, sweat and tears that an inventor pours into their baby, sometimes they are too close to actually see areas for improvement. Some have specific issues that need to be addressed, whether it be the validity of the claims, to the branding or packaging, and very often price.

On the first episode, I was asked to review a product called the Bug-A-Salt. It is a plastic gun that shoots a pinch of salt at a high velocity, killing the fly on contact. The salt makes it safe to use around food, a place where flies are always buzzing around. This product was a labor of love for it’s inventor Lorenzo. He’d spent many years and a lot of money developing the gun fueled by his burning desire to kill flies effectively and without mess. I really admire him for his persistence in bringing the idea to life.

The challenge with the product was price. At $44.95 it was literally overkill. Though some people might shell that out, and his successful Kickstarter had plenty of backers, the average retail buyer is literally not going to bite.

In certain parts of the US this would be a seasonal item only and it is going to be merchandized as such. A mom in the picnic or summer aisle at a big box store or supermarket, would be inclined to make an impulse buy, which this is. But that price point is a deal breaker. If her kids picked up the Bug-A-Salt and she see’s $44.95, she’s prying it out of their hands and putting it back on the shelf

However, price this at 9.95 or less, and she’s tossing it her cart, the kids are happy, and she’s off to buy some chips. So my suggestion was to have a smaller version, perhaps a pistol size that can be a nice entry point for people to discover this product. Make the big one more of a deluxe version.

Sometimes as entrepreneurs we want to put out the absolute highest level version of an idea or product. However that just might be too much to break into the market, especially for a novel idea that isn’t a necessity. Before going too deep, get feedback and insights from people who might actually be your customers. Step back a second and always question if there’s another way to do something, and be open to the possibility that there is.

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About the author
Tommy Spero
CD @SoulNYC Founder @MixLuvCollab @MusicMy1stLang Hubby/Dad / #Drummer / Speaker / Writer / Marketing Expert on All American Makers premiering January 2015 on @ScienceChannel



2015-08-19 19:28:31 Reply

600Hi all. What an interesting diuissscon and one I came to by way of a search on Google for low prices on Etsy because I have noticed more and more of that.My main product is handmade glass beads and the market for them has dropped in average price over the last 6-7 years dramatically. This was due to Ebay and heavy competition which lead to lower and lower prices for handmade glass beads. I resisted lowering my prices because my overhead costs have been high and I try very hard to make a quality product which takes me more time that some other beadmakers.I then attempted Artfire as an alternative for more web exposure. So far, no sales there however I’m hopeful. I have done better on my own personal web store which I’ve had since 2000.So I guess the bottom line here is this: people want cheap. Creators want to sell their product and if they don’t rely on it as a business income they will continue to drop prices in order to capture a larger part of the market. I believe this is a sad thing for Handmade from anywhere in the world. I just hope enough people try doing handmade so they will understand the time and effort it takes. I will continue to attempt to educate more people but it is hard at times to make people understand.Thanks for this extrememly interesting diuissscon. Sylvia

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