Before developing any product, it’s essential to determine the difference between whether your target market will view your product as a need vs. a want. This question needs to be addressed from several angles, which we’ll explore in this piece:
1. We’ll discuss the distinction between wants and needs.
2. We’ll examine the role of product development in successfully translating the first into the second.
3. We’ll look at the sales and marketing piece of the equation.
Market Demand vs. Sales
While demand corresponds to wants, sales correspond to needs. (And growth comes from understanding the relationship between the two.) Market demand represents the products your customers aspire to buy. Sales are the products they buy. Once this distinction is pointed out, it makes perfect sense, so why can it be easy to confuse the two? Industrial and medical market research is much harder to conduct than consumer research due to smaller and highly variable sample sizes. This means that standard statistical techniques for sample-extrapolation do not necessarily yield insight into the market in question.
To overcome this challenge, the individual or team leading the market research effort needs to have a strong technical understanding of industrial or medical products. Without it, it’s impossible to conduct interviews and gather data that gets to the bottom of industry needs and particular customer concerns.
Translating Demand Into Sales
Say that you’re confident in your research and have accurately identified market demand. You’ve gained a solid understanding of not only your target customer base but also your competition. But now, you’re facing even bigger challenges.
For instance, how will you establish proof of concept? How will you ensure that you’ll be able to develop your product and remain within your budget? How will you ensure your product not only looks great on paper but is optimized for both UX (user-experience) and DFM (design for manufacture)? How will you navigate the complexities of certification and compliance for your product? How will you distribute it?
At Pivot International, we are a one-source global product design, development, manufacturing, and supply chain partner that helps customers translate market demand into successful sales. We bring nearly fifty years of specialized experience across fourteen industries and 320,000 square feet of manufacturing capability across three continents.
Our integrative, end-to-end business model means we can help you throughout any individual part of the larger product development process. Our teams will work closely with you to take your product from proof-of-concept to distribution. Using our top talent in UX and DFM, we elevate your product design to result in an innovation that not only looks and performs flawlessly but that can be cost-effectively manufactured at scale.
Clearing the Final Hurdle
No matter how innovative or impressive your finished product may be, it’s not going to sell itself, which brings us to the final hurdle you’ll need to clear to translate market demand to sales. As we discussed earlier, industrial and medical markets pose very different challenges than consumer markets. While there are many sales and marketing principles that apply equally to all three, we’ll focus on a few key differences. Here are some things to keep in mind when crafting your sales and marketing strategy for industrial or medical audiences.
Expect your audience to be as knowledgeable and savvy about your product category and market as you are. Those in your target audience are likely to be equals with your salespeople, and possibly even industry peers. While consumer audiences often need “vertical” education since they may have limited familiarity with your product category, industrial and medical audiences need “horizontal” education. Focus on functioning as a partner and expert resource for helping your prospect gain the insight they need into your product to inform the broader buying-decision.
While consumer products come with price tags attached, industrial and medical product sales involve bids and quotes. Be prepared to receive a request-for-quote (RFQ’s) that essentially provide specifications for every nook and cranny of your product in minute detail. Although it may appear otherwise, RFQs are not made by individuals, and it is not individuals you are targeting. Sales (buying) decisions for industrial and medical products are almost always made by dedicated buying teams that will be sifting with a fine-tooth comb through your product’s benefits compared to your competitors. Because industrial and medical buying decisions involve extensive analysis of cost vs. investment thresholds and projected ROI, the final decision-makers for industrial and medical sales are rarely found among the buying team but rather on the board of directors.
Understanding the difference between demand and sales, working with a proven product development partner, and effectively marketing your product are all essential to your product’s success. If you’d like to learn more about how our teams at Pivot can help you grow your business with our one-source solutions, contact us today for a no-cost consultation.