Product Marketing · Influencer Marketing

New product category - how to get a head start?

Anonymous

July 9th, 2016

Next year, we will launch a new product which will establish a new product category within the wellness market. Due to its novelty character and its capacity to address a current health problem, my immediate thought was to send it to Oprah. What would be other options for me to take advantage of the uniqueness of this product? Thank you for your suggestions!

Sharon McCarthy Chief Marketing Officer

July 9th, 2016

Oprah and team will want to know 2 things:
  • Is there proof that consumers LOVE it;
  • Is there proof of concept -- does it do what is says it will do.
So I would wait until you have what they need, and If the product is that good, you shouldn't have trouble getting it. Good luck!

Bill Lennan Red Rope Social - everyone is an influencer.

July 9th, 2016

I'm betting Oprah gets a bazillion unique products. 
I'd make some actual sales, talk to real people, make sure the pitch and product match the market's desires. 

Jennifer Fortney 20+ years’ experience in PR & marketing comms; Founder of Cascade PR, Chicago firm for small business & startups.

July 13th, 2016

I agree with about everything already said.

When it comes to new products in new categories, you need to launch it, get out and sell it (or obtain some solid retailers) and then work to attract media attention.

I have worked with "new category" products in the past and this was our path to gaining media attention. Actually, we just needed one credible retailer to pick it up (not in-store, but online) and it was enough for many media to be interested. We ended up achieving 70 B2B and B2C media/blogger stories, including the Today Show and Woman's Day, in under 2 years. Our efforts in building up credible third-party endorsements (media stories) helped them shore up three major retailers and many boutiques.

The one thing about media these days is that they want to know your product is manufactured and credible (i.e. sales). There are so many out there that have gotten press and then never actually "came to life". No wonder some media feel burned. Also, they will want samples. Since you only have one chance with media, you want to make the best first impression possible with the best possible version of your product. Otherwise, you risk negative reviews or them tossing it.

Getting to Oprah is always helpful, but the reality is that it's about getting to her staff who are the ones who put together the magazine.

Let me know if you have further questions. Happy to tell you more.

Rajiv Menon Founder at Informulate

July 12th, 2016

Second what Sharon said. PR is not validation. Even funding is not true validation. Even a small number of paying customers is better validation than that. If you're launching next year, send to Oprah or TechCrunch or Hacker News after the launch with success stories attached. I'm advisor/mentor to startups so let me know if you need help with getting real validation that is set up to maximize any PR/funding you may get. 

Ivan Fortuna

July 13th, 2016

Agreed with above.

You need to launch it at first generate conversion and a lot of active users. After this Oprah will be interesting to talk about your product.

As for the plan for your app after launch, I would suggest to work on your marketing and make noise with social networks before launch (to heat users up).

Ask some video bloggers to review your app. And sure, send to TechCrunch and Hacker News with representing your conversion.

Hope this will help.

Paul Garcia President at TABLE

July 14th, 2016

I worked in the healthcare products space for over ten years (devices, drugs, and nutritionals). Are you sure it's truly novel? Remember your claims cannot be used if it's a treatment, you must go through FDA approval for any "novel" claims. If you only make structure/function claims, then there's nothing to stop someone bigger from immediately copying you and taking the same ride. I'm just saying to be cautious about your enthusiasm and be wise in how you present your product's capabilities. I've seen hundreds of companies get squashed by the FDA for being overzealous with their utility claims, and dozens get wiped out by larger competitors who overrun them with a similar product. Competitors are often the ones who report over-reaching claims to the FDA to investigate. And if your product really is that great, it will be quickly copied. If it's something you can protect, you only have a year from invention to file a patent. And you can't tell anyone about it or sell it before you file. I don't want to stop you from promoting your exciting product, but I also don't want to see your effort go up in smoke by making a preventable mistake.

Remember, Oprah doesn't have a talk show anymore. She only has the O Store, and it's a very different animal than TV was.