Promotional Campaigns & Intellectual Property

Promotional campaigns are an invaluable source of marketing. Crafting the proper value proposition is a make-or-break task that can yield immediate returns or leave the business owner spinning his/her wheels in frustration.

An over-looked aspect of crafting the value proposition is digging deep into the product or service and into the mind of the target consumer. Many inventors or innovators are so married to the "idea" that s/he has concocted that the real value is not properly vetted or discovered. While the inventor/innovator may have solved a problem, the bigger question is whether s/he solved the right problem for the right number of people. And a major step in understanding the real problem and the real market for any product or service demands that the inventor/innovator get inside of the invention and see it as a consumer would see it and use it.

Understanding the need(s) and the key benefit(s)/advantage(s) provided by the product allows the business owner to properly evaluate the feasibility of the business as conceived, and allow for adjustments as demanded by the feasibility and/or market analysis. Developing levels of differentiation not only expands the potential markets available, but provides the focus necessary to craft the value proposition(s) needed to hit the segmented sub-markets and develop a sustainable business.

Consider Facebook. Most "users" of Facebook are individuals and businesses maintaining free profiles that are interconnected and integrated with family, friends, and professional or business colleagues. Many might consider Facebook's "product" as a social media platform so individuals and/or businesses can interact. But tha is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

In fact, if one drills down and gets at the "core benefit" of the total product Facebook offers, the real "core benefit" that Facebook provides is the data collection, information, and analytics that individuals or businesses are interested for their own marketing purposes. While Facebook users (generally) are purchasing no product (or service), the information that is provided has allowed Facebook to construct a profitable business based on algorithms that map the profiles of each individual user that may then be sold, interpreted, and used by other businesses for marketing purposes.

This is a good lesson in understanding or appreciating that a product is more than the commodity being consumed by the masses. The profitable product being commodified by Facebook is the collective information from the profiles of hundreds of millions of non-paying users. Much of this commodification protected through proprietary techniques in data gathering and sorting, possibly some patenting, and with a large emphasis on branding and trademark usage.

In understanding the depths of the core product, a business can properly flesh out its profitable markets, and then craft the value proposition(s) and marketing campaigns to capitalize on these segments.