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How to market a new service to an unproven market?

acedesignsacedesigns subscriber Posts: 1
edited March 2006 in Marketing
Hi all
Just wondering if anyone has ideas on how to market a new service to a market we`re unsure of, in terms of demand for our service?
What we do is take old photos (eg, wedding, holidays, family) people have lying around and organise it into personalized designer albums. We`re targeting busy women who don`t have time to organize their photos, but do appreciate designer photo albums. Our service produces these albums with a minimum of time and effort on their part.
There are scrapbooking services out there, but they are relatively expensive and full-blown scrapbooks take a fair bit of time to prepare for. Snapfish can organise your photos into albums, but they`re mainly for digital pics and there`s not that crafty feel with hand made albums (like scrapbooking).
Any ideas on getting the word out effectively without breaking the bank?
Thanks,acedesignsacedesigns2006-3-30 20:54:44


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    watergalwatergal subscriber Posts: 10 Bronze Level Member
    just thinking
    about how to get it out there in the market. if this is going to be in
    your local area, maybe you know someone that will host a party for you
    - if not, have a party yourself and invite as many people
    as you can.
    have some samples of the finished product to show. home parties are
    successful because they`re fun, a girl`s night out and people like to
    spend money for things they want esp something like personalized photo
    albums that they dont have the time to do themselves. other than that
    you could try listing (for free) on craigs.com (just select your state).
    that is very very popular also. last thing is to put an ad in the local paper.
    if it was me i would go with the party thing first. i used to make
    wedding accessories years ago and everyone loved what i made. all you
    need are a few satisfied customers and then its word of mouth.
    let me know what you think.
    jo in nj
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    ScottyScotty subscriber Posts: 1
    Here`s a few more ideas:Local sports groups, likes those at the parks and rec, or even the local public school could be interested in memory books. Since your albums would be made by hand, and not in mass quanity like a school yearbook, each album could be crafted to emphasise an individual. Such as Jr`s first up at bat on the peewee league, etc. but also still have pictures and pages that are common to the whole team.The same idea could be applied to ballet studios, girls and boys scouts, etc.You probably already have pre-defined packages made up. I would create some flyers and distribute them to your target audiences. Offer a discount for multiple books. Three families. Five families. Ten families. You could find yourself quite busy!Also, don`t sell yourself short on just limiting this to photos that are already printed and sitting in someone`s shoe box. Many moms and dads have digital cameras these days. And it is true, they could go to Snapfish or some other online service, but as you said, they are kind of bland. You could still offer to accept digital photographs, and have them printed to photo paper locally. You could even find a local processor that can offer you specialty papers or special finishes. Mom and dad can finally get those digital images printed, and placed in one of your fine hand crafted albums!Don`t forget to set up and promote your website Scott
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    ChuckChuck subscriber Posts: 6
    Hey ace - I think the party idea is interesting as well, but rather than diving directly into parties (which are usually focused on actually selling the product), you may want to organize a group together for a focus group (no sales efforts, purely market research).  If it`s an unproven market, you can glean quite a bit about what kind of reception you might face by putting examples and prototypes in front of people in your target market, and soliciting their objective opinions of all aspects of your marketing mix (product, price, place, promotion).
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    ChuckChuck subscriber Posts: 6
    We`re going through that issue now with our draft website. Some of our friends are reviewing it and they are a bit confused on what to actually do. So it looks like we may need to do a mini-overhaul of the site. Better to do it now than lose potential customers later right?
    Chuck, any suggestions on how to do a focus group on the cheap? Maybe asking friends, or friends of friends who fit the target market and then giving them a gift for attending?Hey ac - that`s a great way to approach the focus group; recruit the friends and family, and maybe even ask them to invite people who match up with your criteria.  Offering something for attendance is definitely a winner, and if it`s related to your product, all the better.  It sounds like you`ve already been doing informal market research, talking to people about the product, which I`d expect.  The focus group (for lack of a better word) just focuses those efforts on some specific questions, and having a group together, feeding off each other`s impressions and opinions, can help you pull out some really useful information.So if you`re just pulling together folks for a get together (centering it around food, etc. is always a good bet, and there`s obviously ways to do that for cheap), it`s not going to be a very big expense.  Beyond that, your only other cost should be some materials to make it easy to gather the feedback - costs there would be some of your time to come up with a formalized worksheet to record answers to questions and gather opinions.  You want that to be standardized so that you can easily pull together all of the feedback at the end.On your first point, might I suggest putting your draft website up for review by the community here?  That`s what it`s all about, leveraging this great group we`re putting together to help make everyone more successful, so I`m sure we could give you some good feedback.
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    acedesignsacedesigns subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for your comments Chuck.
    I`m just tweaking the site at the moment, so I might put it up and out there for comment (oohhh) when that`s done.
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    LFALFA subscriber Posts: 1
    You could also share information with parents by speaking at PTA meetings re: treasuring childhood memories. 
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    acedesignsacedesigns subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for your suggestions Karen and Deborah

    I`m not sure if either of you have any ideas on the best way to
    approach institutions like schools, hospital/health, day care etc?
    Cause for normal businesses, we could offer referral bonuses for anyone
    they refer to us. Though for institutions, we could offer give aways or
    donations. Or have you seen any approaches which can catch their
    attention and stand out from all the other businesses wanting some
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    LFALFA subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi Ace,
    For schools, I find that the PTA is always more receptive to ideas than going through administration.  You could approach them with a scrapbooking fundraiser concept.  PTA`s are always looking to raise funds for the school and this would be something different than the normal -- pizza, gift wrap, bake sale, etc. 
    For daycares, you`ll have to tackle them one by one unless they are a national organization (here we have Children`s World, Bright Horizons, etc).  I would approach them in the same manner, as a fundraiser or see if they will let you leave information for the parents either in the front of the center, posted on their parent board, or in each child`s mailbox.
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    benefitsofyogabenefitsofyoga subscriber Posts: 0
    Offer a discount for multiple books. Three families. Five families. Ten families. You could find yourself quite busy!
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