This is our annual product testing and photoshoot.
Every year at about this time we go on a trip to some exotic tropical locale, this year it is Costa Rica.
No some of you may be reading this and thing, “what kind of product testing are you really doing on the beach, isn’t this just some wacky tax write off?”
Well, yes it is but it really is a way to get closer to understanding the product.
You see, we work incredibly hard for 11 months of the year. The home office team working with clients and the factories in china while the product team goes to tradeshows and spends time online and in odd ball retail places trying to spott the next trending product or 2.
During that product search we usually come across 12-20 product ideas that we think are a good match for our clients, can easily be logo’d and can also be sold for a more than fair price.
These products we find during the 11 months are ones that have caught our eyes, seem to fascinate others when we show them and of course can be logo’d so you can put your brand identity on them.
The problem with the 11 month period is that we are so damn busy marketing, working with clients and the factories that we really do not have the time to immerse ourselves in the new products.
So, each year at this time I go off with a big bag of swag and take 3 weeks to unwind, play with each gadget and to assess if I think it will work for you.
We have a few criterias.
I really do not like electronics for a promo for a few reasons.
Firstly they often come with apps. These apps are generally poorly written and a little clunky. Its all well and fine to give someone a digital key tracker but if the phones app is written in Chinglish (poorly transcribed Chinese into English) it looks tacky and to be honest if you give it to a customer they will not use it.
Secondly, I fee we are already overwhelmed with our digital lives and adding another app seems like adding gas to a house fire.
What I look for
I look for 2 main things, ok maybe 3.
1.It must be eye catching. By that I mean when you first see it or give it to your customer or tradeshow attendee they go “wow..that is soooo cool!”
“The reason this is important is that when they are looking at it and showing their friends they are also showing and looking at your logo. And isn’t that the point of this?”
2. It must be new or be on a trend upswing. A few years ago we sold over 1,000,000 fidget spinners in a 3 month period. We saw the trend when only 12 year olds knew what it was. We quickly got the factories in line to produce and hit the market before anyone else. We effectively set the market.
However, within 7 months the trend was over. Kaput. During that time millions of people saw your logo on what was the hottest trend at the time and associated your brand with the idea of it being ahead of the curve. That is a good thing for you!
3. Got to be priced right. The must be a discernible ROI for you on the product if you are giving it away at a tradeshow or on a b2b giveaway.
A good example is our folding straw. It comes in at under $5 including all logos, freight to your door etc. There are nearly identical ones that they are trying to sell for nearly $30! Are they out of their minds?
The math is simple, if you have 500 $5 folding straws ($2500 investment) you will give them to 500 customers and prospects. If you only have 90 $28 folding straws (2500 investment) the most you can give to is 90 customers and prospects. Even if the $28 folding drinking straw was “slightly better”, and I mean “slightly” it still makes absolutely no ROI sense.
So, without further adieu here are our first 3 new ideas from the 2019 product research trip.