Sometimes the best ideas aren’t entirely original. Rather, they innovate upon an existing product or find a new use or market for it. That’s just what Ryan Close and his team did when they launched Bartesian. The brand’s machines use single serve recyclable capsules to make cocktails, similar to how coffee-pod machines work.
But marketing this easy-to-use concept wasn’t simple. Ryan had to create a new product category, educate customers, and negotiate with manufacturers for licensing deals.
Ahead, Ryan shares his four tips for creating and finding success with a product the world hadn’t seen before.
4 tips for launching in a new product category
1. Identify the problem and how you’ll add value
Before launching a product in a brand new category, you first need to identify and get to the heart of an existing problem, and figure out how your product will solve it. “I could never get [drinks] right, so I understood it was difficult to make great tasting cocktails at home if you’re not a bartender,” Ryan says.
Once Ryan understood the problem, he knew the best solution was an easy-to-use, single serve, cocktail-making machine.
“You can’t just make something that you think is going to work. You have to understand what the consumer wants,” Ryan says. And, since he had the same needs as his target customers, it was easy to understand them and create a solution.
2. Start marketing during the research and development phase
The best time to get the word out about a new product that nobody has seen before is during the development process. Ryan and his team lugged a prototype around the country gathering feedback. “I would go to as many trade shows or networking events I could go to and just talk to people,” Ryan says.
On these trips, Ryan conducted market research, asking where the pain points were for consumers making drinks at home, what they would be willing to spend, and if his device was something they would buy.
The results Ryan gathered from attending these events helped him make small changes and prepare the Bartesian for its official launch.
3. Don’t rush your product to market
When developing a new product, it’s important to fix the imperfections before launch, because customers’ first interactions will set the tone for how they view the brand moving forward. “We wanted to create something that was a premium experience and a luxury item, so it took five years of development,” Ryan says.
Taking the time to make sure everything was perfect before launch was vital to the success of Bartesian. While the team spent extra time making slight changes to the machine, it paid off, and the brand is now loved by customers and celebrities alike.
4. Work the PR angles
Early media coverage can make or break a brand launch. “Reach out to all the big publications and agencies and send them information [and] visuals,” Ryan advises. News outlets are constantly looking for things to cover, and if it’s a fit for their audience, they may want to feature your new innovation.
One of the best ways to prepare for launch is getting your brand in front of more eyeballs. Obtaining press coverage is a great organic marketing tactic to supplement your paid ad spend.
Building a new product category is a slow process, but if you follow the above steps, you’ll be that much closer to hitting your revenue goals by the time you launch.
To hear how Ryan was able to sign licensing deals, create celebrity partnerships, and continue to market his new product, listen to the full Shopify Masters episode.