Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to Create, Develop, Test, Produce, Market, and Sell a Unique Product

I would like to welcome "guest blogger"—Bobette Kyle—whom I have mentioned many times in The Writing Life as a marketing and Web guru, among the many hats she wears. If you are interested in "living your best day, every day," read on.

Four St. Louis women recently started Daysteps LLC, where our mission is to help women live more balanced and fulfilled lives. The company is very nontraditional in that all four of us balance work and personal time independently--and very differently--according to what works best for each of us. Additionally, our "office location" changes continually; meetings are held wherever our lives intersect (whether that be at one of their homes, online, or a local restaurant).

• How this day planner for women is different from other's in the market today

In a broad sense, Daysteps is a lifestyle. It is the personal desire to become more accepting of life right now while achieving life balance, self-improvement, and personal fulfillment. It is the process of making these changes part of a daily routine and integrating them one day at a time, one step at a time.

Our first product--the Daysteps Personal Lifestyle Planner--helps women do this. This planner is different because it combines lifestyle, appointment tracking, and goal setting features. It encompasses many key aspects of life and is designed to motivate the user to become the person she wants to be.

• The target market for Daysteps

Our ideal customers are women who run households and have significant other responsibilities (a home business, for example). Yet, it is flexible enough that each woman can "make it her own" by using each section as she prefers.

Daysteps empowers women by giving them tangible ways to move toward their own goals on their own terms each day. We recognize that each woman has a unique set of values that should define her personal vision of success.

• How Daysteps came about

The concept began when Kelly Wagner recognized an unmet need: a lack of tools to easily integrate positive life changes on a daily basis. Kelly knew each of us from different parts of her life and recognized that our different strengths could contribute differently to this project.

• The main challenges we faced in creating Daysteps

Creating a unique product, then getting the message across. We literally began with blank paper and built this planner from the ground up. The iterations, rewrites, and testing took more than a year.

• How we are marketing Daysteps

Our marketing plan includes a combination of strategies for reaching our ideal customers; both short- and long-term activities, plus different distribution channels. We are focusing on direct distribution channels (local shows and direct, face-to-face sales through our individual networks), online ordering (through our Website,, and other sellers), and sales through independent retail stores or professionals. Longer term, we are beginning the process of gaining distribution in retail chains, who have a longer decision-making time frame for planners.

Our marketing programs are primarily social media and public relations related. We issued a launch press release, are offering opportunities for reviews, sponsoring several giveaways, and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

• Our plans for Daysteps in the next five years

We're planning to roll out new versions for different user types, if surveys and market research indicate a need. We also plan to continue publishing our Personal Lifestyle Planner (current offered in 2010 Full-Year, Jan-June 2010, and July-December 2010 editions).

• Lessons we can share other entrepreneurs

There will always be more to do than you can physically accomplish. That's why prioritization is critical. Every second spent on one activity is a second *not* spent on another. If the latter activities are more profitable than the ones you are doing, that has a direct impact on the bottom line. To prioritize marketing and sales activities, ask yourself if that activity has a direct, positive impact on reaching or satisfying your ideal customer. If not, there are more profitable ways to spend your time.

A misconception held by many entrepreneurs is that successful businesses run smoothly. In reality, being in business comes with bumps and challenges along the way. Keep in mind that implementing a business and marketing plan is an ongoing process--implement, evaluate, adjust, implement, evaluate, adjust, etc.--and success does not require perfection.

Another lesson is to believe in you. Many times others will not "get" your vision, especially if it involves a completely unique product or new way of thinking. That's OK. Continue to focus on your ideal customers, and understand how your company meets their needs, and you will be successful.

Your Best Day, Every Day


Bobette Kyle said...

Thanks for allowing me to be your guest blogger, Bobbi!

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