How Can Product Life Cycle MBA Theory Help You With Online Sales In Your Small Business?

The other day I was speaking with an entrepreneur who sold her wares on eBay and Amazon. Her business is going well, but she'd really like to get to $ 10K per month in sales without taking too much more of her time, as she is a believer in multiple income streams and wants to expand those other business models too. My suggestion was to introduce new products constantly, but on a strategically timed basis. Okay so, let's talk about this.

Have you ever looked at a Product Life Cycle graph in a Business Text Book? Well, if so what you saw was the traditional teachings of 'product life-cycle' which they teach in MBA school, retail merchandising, and marketing classes. Still, we can take this concept and use it for online sales and new product scheduling, consider this concept.

Now then, picture the 'mound curve' and as it starts up at its steepest point, that's a great time to introduce a new product and get it started because eventually the first product will be plateau'ing. If you do that properly the new product will start to go hyperbolic and dissect the first product's life-cycle peaking. If you want to stay hyperbolic you need to continue to introduce products in this fashion, which is kind of what companies like Proctor and Gamble and GE try to do.

An especially interesting case study would be INTEL and Apple as they try to stay in the high-profit sweet zone, it does wonders for their stock price. If you have a great product that is really cooking but has a shorter life-cycle (examples: cell phones, chips, and perhaps social networking add-on or new features) then you can keep the price high and go for the 'early adopters 'of tech or companies that buy your products so they can stay on the bleeding-edge in the case of an AMD or INTEL.

In looking at that concept, you can see that concept working for someone who sells many different products online. You maybe can tell when you have a meteorite product which will move fast, but burn out, so you launch your new product when your sales are blowing it out, because soon they will burn out, and you don't want your per month sales to tank, and leave you in a cash flow crunch. See that point from a strategic standpoint.

I think you can use some mathematical formulas to figure this out, and I imagine someday some Oracle or SAP software connected to a corporate digital nervous system (Bill Gates book; "The Road Ahead" reference) where an Artificial Intelligent system which tracks all outlets and sales, inventory in real time will be able to do this with 90% accuracy, and that will give executives information needed to plan and strategize for capital spending, innovation exploits and cash flow. But you can do it long-hand using the same math, since your small business is not so complicated; yet.

Best of all you can break your business into components and product categories and then you'll have a great picture of what you are doing and plot a course of EXACATTACKILY where you want to go; where you will go! Think On It.

Product Launch Campaigns – The Lifeblood Of The Business

Few company events are more critical than launching new products and services. Many firms just go through the motions during product launches, repeating the same worn-out formulas they've always used-but every product launch is an opportunity to turn a new page in your company history, and it can make the difference between rags and riches.

Any new product can be directed toward an existing market (a set of known prospects and customers) or it can tackle new markets. But when introducing a new product or service, you need to innovate, going beyond what has been done in the past. You have a choice-let your product get lost in the noise or launch it differently.

The introduction of a new product requires a major launch effort if your company is marketing a new family of products (or services) towards a new target market-a different class of user or a different application emphasis than you have worked with before. You might also be trying to revitalize sales of an existing product or service, which requires a launch to sustain revenues, attract new customers, and ward off competitors.

In either scenario, avoid limiting the product launch campaign to a single, big-bang event with no plan for follow-up. You are positioning the product for its life cycle. Successful product introductions are company-wide events. They must be the focus of your entire organization.

Setting the Stage for a Product Launch

Long before product launch happens, you need to spend time on pre-launch activities that build the opportunity base. This pre-launch research will provide insights on the validity of the product, the features it needs, pricing and packaging considerations, and so on. Think in terms of projected revenue (at 12 to 18 months after launch, for starters), the profits you will need to break even, and the potential return on your investment.

Front-end research and analysis is the process of gaining insight and collecting data that will shape the product launch campaign. You are not simply collecting information, but interpreting it. Avoid focusing simply on the launch – consider the product life-cycle in your planning. Chances are, the data you gather to support your launch campaign may be a year or more old by the time the actual product hits the market. In the words of the Great One – Hockey Legend Wayne Gretzky, make sure you are going where the puck will be, not where it is. Otherwise, your launch campaign may miss the mark.

Elements to research during data collection

Market-based

– Competition for your product or service
– Potential customers' buying influences and attitudes
– Market readiness and demand for your product

Product-based

– Key applications, features and advantages (from the customer's viewpoint)
– Service and support components your product will include
– Packaging considerations

External-based

– State of the economy – by Industry Sector, Area or Region
– Regulatory changes in your Industry
– Technological considerations (current and future)

Developing the Right Concept for Your Product

Creativity is essential to a product launch-but balance it with the sobering thought that the concept you choose will be critical to launching a product that must generate revenue. Avoid the temptation to be clever in your campaign-it could lose the audience, diminish your credibility or worse, be a source of entertainment.

A good theme for a product launch campaign focuses on the problem solved, not merely the product's use. Just as important as choosing the right concept is selecting the right launch vehicles for your campaign. Consider media and PR, direct-response pieces, catalogs, e-mail communiqu├ęs, Web site promotions, industry guides, e-casts, and telemarketing. The vehicles you choose will depend on what works in your specific business and what your appetite and budget can tolerate.

Choosing Your Message

The essence of your whole campaign will be its message. The right message captures your audience's attention, explains your new product or service, distinguishes it from its competition, creates action, and has the ability to perpetuate the theme of the campaign (for the product's intended life). Themed campaigns tend to do better than product-focused ones. They can also be perpetuated for a longer life.

Your message must be expressed in the attitude, tone, and language of your intended customer. It must also speak to your product, and your product alone. Put your message through the logo test. If you can replace your company logo with your competitor's logo, and the campaign message still makes sense, go back to the drawing board. Work at it until you get it right.

While You Are Waiting

While campaign materials are being produced, you can be readying your company for the formal launch. Use this time to talk to media sources, investors, and other interested parties. Create a written campaign action plan that describes key tasks you must complete, target dates for their completion, the resources you require, and how you will measure your progress.

Promote and publish early-stage successes for your new product frequently. Whenever you can demonstrate customer acceptance for the new product, it will breed confidence with your Target Audience including your internal company employees.

After the Launch

Done correctly, the work you put into developing a successful product launch will stay with your product for its entire sales life. But when the product reaches maturity, you may need to revisit this process, innovating new uses for the product, repackaging it, adding value, finding a different distribution mechanism, introducing new incentives, and so on to ensure that it continues to generate revenue.

Once you have mastered the process of a successful product launch, you can extend the marketability of any product and give it new life.

Your launch methodology can make or break you in the competitive business jungle.
Is your launch method keeping pace?

Are you confident that your upcoming launch is positioned for success?

Copyright 2007

Performance Marketing Group

Grow Your Avon Business – 21 Tips For Fast Success

Are you interested in growing your Avon business? Becoming an Avon representative is super-easy and there are many resources to help you grow your business and meet your personal goals.

  1. Use Avon products yourself. One of the best ways to sell a product is to know everything about it. Your regular discount and demos allow you to save money and try the products yourself first.
  2. Ask your customers for product reviews. When you pass out orders, ask your customer to let you know how the products perform. This is a great way for you to learn about products so that you can offer more information to other customers.
  3. Share your products. If you work in an office, make sure you have hand lotion to share with your co-workers. I have gotten several orders just by letting others try the lotion sitting on my desk. Another Avon rep keeps extra tubes of hand cream for on-the-spot sales.
  4. Educate yourself with training. Make the most of your business by taking Avon’s online training courses. Every new representative should start here first as courses include everything from money management, to launching your business, to entering orders. Most of the classes are 30 minutes and have downloadable text sheets. You get a certificate after completion of each and special recognition for completing certain courses.
  5. Become an eRepresentative. Curious about becoming an eRep? Customers can order online and have product shipped direct to their home. There is usually a free or discounted shipping code on the website. I tell my customers that if they don’t see one, to let me know and I will get them one! Once you become an erep, you also have access to other customer management tools. You can set up an email marketing campaign to let customers know about new products or campaigns. My customers love the “little reminder” because they often include free or discount codes. 
  6. Use your network. Share your excitement about your new business and people will be excited with you. Most of your friends already are familiar with Avon products and so they will be your easiest customers. Everyone is a member of some organization or workplace. You have an extended network of soccer moms, hairdressers, delivery people, doctor’s office workers, etc.
  7. Wear Avon jewelry. I get so many compliments when I wear a new Avon necklace. Most jewelry comes in sets, like a necklace and bracelet. They are designed to compliment fashion or seasonal colors. I have had a few tell me they were not sure if a necklace would match their outfit, but with the no-hassle return guarantee they were not afraid to return it if it did not. Oh, and I haven’t had any jewelry returns, yet!
  8. Invest in great-looking business cards. Make sure your business cards look professional, even if you buy from a discount supplier. Include a customer reward program on the reverse side. I have mine printed with a “buy in five campaigns, get 20% off your sixth campaign order” coupon on the back.
  9. Share your business cards. Leave one with the tip for your waiter, hang them in the community bulletin board area at the grocery store, give to the checkout clerk at the mall, etc.
  10. Personalize your business cards. When I hand out my business cards, I write a free shipping code offer that is good on my website. I also mention the Avon Opportunity: do you want to earn extra money by becoming an Avon Representative?
  11. Order plenty of brochures. Brochures are really your “store.” They are designed well, colorful, and cheap. The photos are very clear and often show how the makeup looks on a real person. In every campaign brochure, Avon includes their famous scratch-and-sniff perfume circles.
  12. Keep brochures handy. I keep the latest campaign brochure in my purse, as well as an outlet sale flyer. I always preview the campaign brochure so I can target market: for example, I may say, have you seen the new Avon line of mineral makeup? There is a buy 1, get 1 half-price deal on page 32 for Smooth Mineral Makeup. Wow!
  13. Buy stickers for the backs of brochures. My stickers match my business cards and large print makes them easy to read. Stickers include my name, phone number, email address, and website address. Brochures, stickers and business cards are powerful sales tools!
  14. Don’t forget special offers. Everyone loves a bargain! Use your imagination to come up with catchy ideas. How about free wrapping for Mother’s Day? Birthday and anniversary reminders? BOGO – buy one get one? Recommend a friend and get 10% off your next order? Print out Avon Bucks and include in their bag when you hand out orders.
  15. Always upsell. This is a key sales tip that really works. Say your customer buys a certain fragrance; draw her attention to the lotion. Got an order for a necklace? Point out the ring on the same page. Did your customer choose a skincare product for aging skin? Make sure she knows about the eyelift cream.
  16. Attend sales meetings. Your district manager or DM will hold sales meetings every few months where you will get an opportunity to meet other representatives, see and try new products, share your successes, and discuss sales techniques. These meetings are encouraging and fun make sure you attend.
  17. Make samples and demos work for you. Attach a sample on the page of the newest brochure where the item is listed with a paper clip. Encourage your customers to try the product. Buy a demo and either use it yourself or give to a faithful customer to try.
  18. Holiday and special days. Remind your customer that holidays and special occasions tend to sneak up on us, and you have great gifts for just about anyone.
  19. Don’t forget the male customer. We tend to forget about the guys – but they have daughters home from college, wives who love to great makeup, and mothers who love to be treated to a thinking-of-you-mom gift. Avon has some great products especially for men. Check out the after-shave conditioners and the foot care line. Don’t forget about Bug Guard for camping, hunting, and working in the yard.
  20. Use the no-hassle Return Policy to close the deal. Avon promises, “If you’re not happy with any purchase, just return it for an exchange or your money back. No questions. No fuss. No problems.” Even if the makeup is opened, if the customer is unhappy Avon will give a no-stress return. You will take back the item and use e-Z Returns for a credit. No-hassle for reps, too!
  21. Grow your team. Be ready to share your success when someone asks about the Avon Opportunity. Some of your customers may tell you they are interested in earning extra money. Avon is so successful because of people like you and me who love the products and work on growing their business.

Focus on what attracted you to Avon and build strategies to communicate that to your customers. Were you already a customer who loved the skincare products? Your testimony can be a great asset to your business. Are you excited about the earning potential? Share how you met a financial target. Avon offers training, great products, customer service, and a support network to help you meet your goals. Becoming an Avon representative is a personal growth opportunity that is also lots of fun!  

10 Ways to Use Other People’s Product Launches For Your Own Business

Product Launches – The Goldmine of Internet Marketing Tutorials

Now recently I wrote an article about product launch spamming and I stick true to the article in regards to the saturation of these launches into our email boxes 24 hours a day.  But I am also aware of the pure gold that these launches provide in the form of

  • tutorials,
  • strategies,
  • ideas,
  • and blueprints,

for your business when creating your own product launch.

Some of the most recent successful launches of late are Frank Kern’s Traffic Geyser.  I love this guy, he keeps it simple, tells it like it is and has branded himself brilliantly as not only being a smart and knowledgeable guy with regards to internet marketing, but also someone who is just like you and me. 

Another recent launch was John Reese’s product. John pops his head up every 12 mths or so with a new product and then disappears and you don’t hear from him for a while.  This is also a brilliant strategy as he leaves everyone wondering what he is doing, creates anticipation and always comes out with some amazing strategy or launch idea that is always worth waiting for. People love him including me. 

One of the his most recent comments in his video prelaunch was about creating and owning more of your own online real estate.  It was a brilliant analogy which basically means ” the more links you have, articles you create, blogs you write and videos you upload the more you are increasing your online realestate”.  It is so true, backlinks are the gold nuggets of this industry and those who understand this strategy make money online.  Every time you create something online you own another little piece of cyberspace and the beauty of this is that there is no limit to what you can own!

Currently there is a brilliant product launch with Dan Kennedy called Info Riches.  This man is the GURU of GURU’s when it comes to internet marketing.  If Dan Kennedy introduces a new strategy, idea or product launch, you can guarantee there will not be one internet marketing Guru who will not be participating, watching, studying or listening to find out about this launch.

With that being said, here are some ways you can use other people’s product launches to improve your own business success:

  1. Keep your eyes and ears focused in the Guru forums for whispers of upandcomming product launches so that you can be ready to watch, listen and learn.
  2. Once you start getting ‘ pre launch’ emails create a folder and keep them, these make great study tools for when you’re ready to create your own product launch.
  3. If you can sign up as an affiliate for the launch, I highly recommend it to get a clear understanding of the process and the set-up of a successful launch.  You will be amazed at how much free tips, tricks and strategies are given away in the backend to help you promote the launch.  These are fantastic tools to help you with your own launch down the track.  (The Gurus study this material with a fine tooth comb to ensure they understand the full blueprint of the launch strategy).
  4. Watch to see the implementation strategy for reeling people in slowly, building anticipation without too much hype. eg How many emails, video’s and lead ins are there before the actual event?  How long does the teaser last before the product actually launches? These are all strategies and tactics that have been studied and split tested. 
  5. Watch to see what type of mediums are they using for their teasers eg videos, email only, tutorial samples, free giveaways etc
  6. Take a note of how many Gurus are sending you promo emails?  If most of them are participating you can guarantee that they believe it is a good product launch that is going to make them money ( they compete against each other to see who can make the most money of another Guru’s product launch).
  7. Look for their scarcity tactics? eg  Dan Kennedy is allowing those who are part of the pre-lauch sole resell rights to his products after it launches ( great strategy to ensure ongoing sales after the launch).
  8. After the product has launched, see how long you keep receiving emails and keep these emails to study as well.  People are still making sales off their lists sometimes weeks after the actual launch.
  9. Then keep an eye out for the success stories that always follow a successful product launch.  This is all part of your marketing and positioning of you and your brand plus strategies for continuing ongoing residual sales.
  10. Now go and study what you have seen and create a blueprint for your own business.  Why reinvent the wheel, use tried and proven strategies, learn from them, tweak and keep learning.

Don’t forget, most of the

  • information,
  • tools, 
  • tips and,
  • resources, 

you need to get started online is staring at you everyday in your inbox.  Starting tomorrow I highly recommend creating your own ‘cheat sheet’ folder and join the rest of the smart internet gurus out there.  Also if you have not signed up for Dan Kennedy’s latest product launch, I highly recommend you do this will probably be one of the best launches to study this year!  If you want to know more visit the home page of my website to sign-up for your emails.

To Your Success.