Product Marketing

How to market an innovative product

written by Tim Berry of Palo Alto Software


First, start with the benefit of innovation. Innovation works in business only when it creates a benefit. That benefit could be a cost savings or efficiency that benefits the producer or distributor, or a cost savings or anything else that benefits the customer. So your first step is to understand and demonstrate the benefit.

Some people talk of it as a pain point. In this context, the innovation has to solve some problem. Who has the problem it solves? How many people or organizations have it? How much is it worth to them?

Second, after you demonstrate the benefit (or the pain point), then you can start counting the target market that results: as above, how many target customers, why and how do they benefit, where are they, etc.

The third step is to figure out what message to send them and how to send it. That is about target marketing, segmentation, etc. This too is a classic process, the process of developing a marketing strategy.

The same basic process applies to a new innovation as well as to most other business plans: what message, what media, etc.

The fourth step is the estimate of how many of those target market points will adapt this technology and how fast. Put it into numbers.

Look for the classic research on adaptation of new technologies through defined groups, which we refer to in our book On Target: The Book on on Marketing Plans (available with Marketing Plan Pro at This is where they investigate the pattern of early adapters, opinion leaders, etc.

Make your estimate based on adaptation, quantify it into units and prices, and you have solved the problem. I don’t mean to imply that it is easy, because it is not. But it is a well-known path, the same one followed by many businesses that have introduced innovative products.

Tim Berry

about the author

Tim Berry

Founder and President of Palo Alto Software and a renowned planning expert. He is listed in the index of "Fire in the Valley", by Swaine and Freiberger, the history of the personal computer industry. Tim contributes regularly to the bplans blog, the as well as his own blog, Planning, Startups, Stories. His full biography is available at Follow Tim onGoogle +


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