Marketing your physical product

Once you've built a physical product, it's time to market it to the world. This takes some unique marketing strategies. We'll give you an overview.
Feb 3, 2020 • 6 minute read
Gauri Gautam @GauriMelb
Technical Co-pilot
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If you've built a physical product, you'll market it much differently than you would a digital product

There are a whole host of considerations in marketing a physical product, and some are easily overlooked.

Before your product becomes a brand that fans associate with or become loyal to, you have to work hard on its positioning, marketing and launch. These strategies can range from showroom demonstrations to distributing brochures and pamphlets. The key is to identify which strategy will work best for your audience so that you can maximize brand popularity and recall value. Of course, the end result must be an increase in sales.

Promotional products

Gift giving or distributing promotional products to not just your customers, but also your staff members, is a great marketing tactic. To begin with, it instantly creates a positive sense of gratefulness and improves your relationship with your clients. Secondly, it's a constant physical reminder of your products, brand and business, ensuring that you're never out of sight and out of mind.

Interestingly, buyers who receive a physical promotional product with your brand name are more likely to form a positive opinion of your organization. This is because the recipient is more likely to remember your company’s name and you end up increasing your recall value. Other than generating more leads, the distribution of promotional products also results in better customer response rates.

The importance of your logo

The physical branding of your product plays a very important role in permanently establishing the image in your consumer’s mind. Over 90% of the information that gets processed by a human brain is visual. However, an average person has only an eight-second attention span in which you can generate interest for your product. This is where the logo comes into play. The creativity with which you can design and market your logo is directly proportional to the likelihood of your product being noticed.

A logo also plays a key role in spreading your name. You can use it in any channel to promote your business since it's the most basic visual representation of your product and company. So, make sure that it represents your image, and is also relatable to the clientele you're trying to target. Doing this at the beginning of your business is imperative because it's difficult to change the image once it's been established. Modifying a reputation or a rapport that consumers associate with a logo can be a tedious process, and one that may not end up garnering the expected results.

Read more: Logos and corporate branding

Incidental advertising

Incidental advertising, as the name suggests, is the process of transferring visual brand information through a physical image, while the consumer’s conscious attention is somewhere else. It's actually much less complicated than its definition. Popular examples of incidental advertising include staff apparel, displaying logos or an offer on your car, packaging, etc. Incidental advertising works at many levels. While you're not directly taking out an advertisement, you can still use your intelligence to directly market your product creatively. For example, renting a booth at a trade show that's likely to attract your prospective customers, or holding a workshop. Launching competitions or having a rewards program that consumers will associate with your product and brand are also effective promotional ideas. These can be excellent publicity tools provided they're executed well.

Direct advertising

Even though we're surrounded by digital technologies, direct physical product advertising will never go out of fashion. Physical reinforcements of your products and brand are an essential component of your marketing campaigns. The methods range from business cards to banners, flyers, billboards, brochures, etc. Since you're advertising to your existing as well as prospective clientele, it's important to have the right message in your ad. In other words, the message must balance between being concise and clear, and warmly inviting. Get creative and test your ads before you launch them.

Read more: The importance of great ad copy

What marketing messaging should you use?

While we all strive for brilliant marketing messages, very few of us are able to master them. So, read on to find out the 5 most important ingredients for designing an effective marketing message.

Relevance

A strong marketing message needs to address what's relevant to the customer. Otherwise, it'll become impossible to generate customer interest. Instead of talking about how you see your brand and product, try to convey how the client wants to perceive them.

Originality

Make your marketing message as original, unique and exclusive as possible. You don’t want to send out a marketing message that may just as well belong to any other item or product.

Language

Use appropriate language to make your message sound natural. To achieve this, the language should be informal and without any vague technical jargon. Plain and simple words work brilliantly.

Clarity

Get to the point and get there quickly. And once you've conveyed it, there shouldn't be a need for further explanation. Unclear and confusing phrases can lead to a weak marketing message.

Humor

A dash of humor can be an excellent touch to your marketing message creation strategy. Just make sure it's actually funny. Poorly executed humor is worse than none at all.

Marketing channels

Every business today has multiple marketing channels, and this does not vary if you are marketing a physical product or a digital product. There are over a hundred marketing and delivery channels that producers are required to market through today. It's likely that not all of these channels will be suitable for your marketing requirements, as one-size definitely does not fit all. So, let's find out how you can select the most appropriate marketing channel for your product.

Physical attributes

Not everything can be shipped, stored, and marketed in a similar fashion. How you determine the marketing and distribution of your product has a lot to do with the physical attributes of the product itself. For instance, perishable goods require a different marketing strategy from, say, bulky goods. Depending on your product type, you can figure out whether you want to consider a long marketing and distribution channel to keep the costs low, or do you require a short one to ensure that your product stays fresh and marketable.

Brand image

Consumer buying experience plays an essential role in deciding how your brand image is perceived in the market. Opt for the marketing channels that are in line with the brand image that you want to create. For instance, you can certainly reach more customers at hypermarkets like Walmart and Costco. However, if you have exclusive and luxury products then you may not find enough sales through these channels. Instead, opting for a more exclusive retailer might just do the trick as you'll be marketing the uniqueness of your product and brand.

Target audience

Are you selling to businesses or individuals? Is your target market geographically big or small? How diverse is your target audience? Before you select your marketing channel, make sure you have all these answers and know how many people may want to buy your product. The area that you want to cover and your target market segment’s buying pattern are equally important. For instance, if you run a small business with a product that's locally relevant, then it makes more sense to set up a shop in the main business district of your locality rather than launch a national marketing campaign.

Product technicality

It's critical to know the level of your product technicality as it will be decisive in selecting the correct marketing channels. For example, if you have a simple product that's easy to assemble and use, then you can opt for any marketing channel. On the other hand, if your product is technically complex then you should keep your marketing channels short. In fact, direct marketing is the best option here as you can interact with the clients and satisfy their queries first-hand. It'll make your product seem less intimidating and complex.

Physical product marketing vs. digital product marketing

It is nearly impossible to escape the digital world today. We don't rely on TV and newspapers to learn about the world anymore as almost everything is available online. However, different principles apply to market physical products and digital products.

The consumer can hold a tangible physical product and view its attributes. This gives it an upper hand in the marketing sphere. A digital product can’t be held or seen. Therefore, your marketing techniques require considerable adjustments in both scenarios.

Description Physical Product Digital Product
Reach Local with limited geographic reach. Increasing reach will increase the budget. Excellent reach as you are not bound by physical and geographic limitations.
Value Perception Their tangible nature results in higher value perception with consumers and buyers. Since they aren’t essentially "real" to the buyer, a lower value perception is attached to digital products.
Delivery & Distribution Shipment and packaging add to the delivery costs of physical products. Delivery is not just instant, it's virtually free.
Demonstration Fairly easy to demonstrate value and benefits to buyers. Selling requires more planning and effort as the product can’t be physically demonstrated.
Scalability Physical products are more difficult to scale, and it can become a time-consuming process. Digital products are not just easier to scale, but they can reach scalability at hardly any additional cost.

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