Before you create your new coffee product or service, figure out the marketing.

October 7, 2015 by

Cart before horse in marketing.I talk with a lot of people who are working on launching some kind of coffee business.

Some are launching a roaster or coffee shop. Some are launching a coffee subscription service. And some are launching a new coffee maker or grinder.

Many of them have one thing in common.

They put the cart before the horse.

In other words, they do everything – including launching – before they give much thought to marketing.

This is a problem, because marketing is everything.

In fact, before you even start developing your idea, you would do well to find a group of coffee lovers who really, really want what you’ll be creating.

Don’t start with what YOU want to create. Start with what a good chunk of coffee lovers really WANT.

This way, you know your marketing plan before you start building your business. You create a business that is focused on customer demand instead of on your own wishful thinking.

Figure out what coffee lovers want, and can’t find, and then fill that need with your own product or service.

For example, the folks at Keurig might have sat down, before they built the first K-Cup brewer, and thought, “There are ton of coffee lovers out there who like gourmet coffee, but can’t be bothered to deal with all the fuss and mess. Let’s make coffee-making a whole lot more convenient for that group of people”.

I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened. But if it is, it’s a classic example of doing things in the right order.

First you identify an unmet demand, and then you fill it.

Do it like that and marketing becomes easy. Before you open for business you already know what people want, why they want it and where they are.

You even know what you’re going to say, “Gourmet coffee without the fuss and mess.”

How does this match up to your own experience?

If you are working to launch a coffee product or service, did you first figure out the marketing? Did you identify an unmet need? Do you know who your prospective customers are and what they want?

One more thing to do before you invest a ton of money in developing your coffee business...

Do some basic competitive analysis.

Who else is feeding off the same table? If you are going to launch a coffee subscription service – for example - how many other companies are doing the same thing? If there are a lot of them, how are you going to compete?

You don’t want to compete with brute force. That just costs a ton of money. You want to compete by finding a gap in that market.

Maybe you differentiate yourself, and find that gap, by offering a lower price. Or with a faster delivery time. Or by focusing on a particular type of coffee. Or by offering your services only within a particular city or area.

Whatever that differentiating factor is, make sure it’s not just something that you find interesting. Make sure it’s something that strikes at the heart of what your prospective customers want.

Put simply…

You have to figure out your marketing first. You have to match your business to a real and unmet need.

And both your marketing and your product or service have to be different in some way. Find a gap in the market. Differentiate yourself.

Get that done and marketing becomes a whole lot easier.

Without it, marketing is a struggle, because you’ll always be pushing that cart instead of pulling it.

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