Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Market Research -- How Large A Following Do You Have?

I ask this question a lot. When people tell me they want to launch their own perfume -- or, more boldly, their own perfume line.

If somebody isn't sure what I mean, I go on to ask, "Are you a singer?", "Are you a designer?" What do you do that you have achieved a following?

In most cases the inquirer is none of the above so my next question is, "How do you intend to SELL your perfume?" -- Embarrassed silence!

But this is important. Celebrities can have a multi-million dollar signature scent because they are celebrities. The definition of "celebrity" could be "someone with a large following." It is this large following that entices fragrance marketing companies (not the celebrities themselves!) to invest millions in a "signature scent" for the celebrity.

But are you a celebrity? Do you have followers?

OK, so you're not a celebrity. But you may have a following. People follow this blog. People visit my websites. I have a following and my web stats and visitor feedback can help me number that following.

Now what about you? Perhaps you or a friend have a retail store. Retail stores have traffic, and buyers. Could these be a following that would work for you?

Perhaps you have a blog, or followers on Twitter. Would they be interested in your perfume?

What? No Followers?

It's not the end but it points to a need for some more difficult market research. First you have to ask yourself, "where am I going to sell my perfume?" and this will probably lead you to making a list of retail stores or other venues that might take your perfume on some sort of terms, possibly on consignment. But now you have to hit the streets -- and the phones -- and talk to these people to see how realistic your expectations are. How many will let you sell your perfume in their stores? What do they think are the odds for your success?

Building A Following

If you are fortunate enough to find some stores that are willing to take your perfume, it's time to go to work. Remember, it's the stores that have the following, not you. So getting your perfume into stores may do little or nothing for actual sales. What you need to do is to develop some sort of promotional campaign to drive people into stores specifically to buy your perfume. While this falls under the "marketing " category, it's important for you to assess your marketing capabilities and try to get some realistic sense of how many people your marketing dollars -- your actual financial resources -- will be able to drive into stores.

Now, if you have been realistic, you have some idea of how large your following will be.

(This article is a continuation of a series that started with "Conduct Some Market Research.")

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