QUESTION ON Marketing Strategy for a New Product
I want to market and sell a gadget to universities worldwide. These institutions can then resell the product to their students. Via the Internet I can possibly get thousands of e-mail addresses, telephone, fax numbers, and postal addresses. But whom should I approach and how should I best go about it? Any suggestions, ideas etc. will be appreciated.
Advice by Yvonne Buchanan
For your question regarding email marketing, you can check out my advice to another subscriber. https://www.powerhomebiz.com/guide/cases/cush.htm
Here is Expert Yvonne Buchanan’s advice:
Not knowing what your gadget is limits my comments somewhat, but let’s assume it’s a study aid. If your primary market will be universities, you should approach each one directly. Find out who manages the student store for the university. Once you’ve identified this person, you’ll want to send him or her a free sample of the product, and a marketing letter detailing your proposal.
If you can gather a good list from the Internet, fine, but you’ve probably noticed that a lot of web sites are not kept up to date (shame on their owners). The information you get may be out of date, and you could waste a lot of time and effort contacting the wrong people. Your best bet is to telephone each university directly and get a name and address.
Don’t send broadcast e-mail to anyone, ever. It’s call spamming, and people hate it. Unless they’ve specifically given you permission to contact them by e-mail, don’t push that “send” button.
Look at email lists being sold by third party vendors. You can also rent the lists of publications that cater to university students. However, be sure that the quality of the list is good and that the folks on the list actually agreed to receive messages from third party sources like yourself.
If you get nowhere with the student stores, you may want to consider marketing to the students directly by advertising in the student newspapers. The cost is minimal and you get good exposure. You might also consider selling the products from your web site and placing small ads on sites frequented by students to generate traffic to your site.
Social media sites such as Facebook also allows you to reach university students easily. Facebook allows for detailed targeting for their advertisers. Try it — while making sure you carefully monitor your return on investments.
Good luck, Otto. Let us know if we can help you further.
Recommended Resources on Marketing Strategy for a New Product
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- Inside the Tornado: Strategies for Developing, Leveraging, and Surviving Hypergrowth Markets (Collins Business Essentials)
- Marketing in the Age of Google: Your Online Strategy IS Your Business Strategy
Article originally published in June 2006. Updated March 5, 2012
Yvonne Buchanan is a 20-year veteran of public relations, marketing and advertising. She teaches public relations courses online for career changers, freelancers and students through The PR Academy www.learnpr.com and is co-founder of Real-World PR www.realworldpr.com , a public relations information provider for small businesses. Real-World PR offers public relations toolkits (manual/CD combinations) that allow small business owners to create and maintain their own public relations programs.
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