Posted: September 18th, 2017
It is an exciting moment for any company when a new market can be found for an existing product. Obviously, the development of completely new products is also a reason to be happy, but with completely new products, there are often extensive costs.
When a company is able to find a new market for an existing product, the opportunity to earn profits is often more easily attainable than for entirely new products.
In some cases, a product does not need to be altered very much to be useful to new types of customers. For example, many people involved in outdoor activities like to utilize Global Positioning (GPS) devices to know their location, remember a location, or to find a particular place. The GPS devices used by people who fish may be packaged differently from the devices used by people who like to go hiking, but often the essential abilities of the product are inherently similar.
Finding new markets for a product may take some creative thinking. The idea of tasers being marketed as self-defense products for women is one that probably took some brainstorming, but in a few years, even that idea may seem completely commonplace. A few tactics can be employed to help spark creative thinking when trying to find new markets for existing products.
Another interesting example of finding a new market for an existing product comes from video games. Video games are typically thought of as a product to be used by youth. Nitendo’s Wii, however, has become increasing popular with people well past the age of the typical video game player. In particular, the Wii bowling game has become popular in retirement communities. Nintendo attempts to increase this by showing people of this demographic playing Wii bowling in their TV commercials for the product.
There are a few tactics that can be employed to help spark creative thinking when trying to find new markets for existing products.
First, analyze and list the ways the product provides value to existing customers.
Then, with the first list as a guide, use brainstorming techniques to come up with many different types of customers who have similar needs.
Brainstorming should be a process where you sit down with a piece of paper or at your computer and literally type up as many possible ideas as you can, without initially disregarding any of them.
Once a list of potential types of customers is created, you can sift through it, to determine which customers might be most likely to adopt the product. At that point, you can do marketing research to determine if the product would be a good fit, and if so, what modifications might be required.
Remember, many products may not initially seem to have any other possible markets. An example of this includes ski resorts and snowboarding. Although the concept of snowboarding has been around since the mid-1960s, the thought of snowboarders even being allowed on the same hillside as a skier was foreign. Most ski resorts simply didn’t allow snowboarding until the early 1990s. If a person who worked at a ski resort had been taking this class in 1980, my hope is that they would have realized they could make more money if they looked for new customers to use their existing product.
If a ski resort is looked at from its most basic variables, it is essentially a recreation facility that provides access to snow-covered mountains, and provides a way to easily get back up to the top of the mountain. If a ski resort employee taking this class in 1980 were working on this final project, they probably would have initially never thought of snowboarding. But, after brainstorming a list of potential customers, it is pretty clear that snowboarders would have been on the list.
This project can be an exciting way to utilize and enhance your creativity. As you work on this project, remember that not all ideas are accepted in the marketplace. Be creative in your thinking related to this project, even if the idea you are considering would challenge much of the way things are currently done.
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