My marketing consulting company reviews hundreds of new product submissions every year. We specialize in consumer product development. The items we analyze run the gamut of product categories. The most creative, prolific and many times, the most commercially exciting are golf, pet or hunting and fishing products.
The reason I have come to believe that there is so much creativity in these areas is passion. Golfers, pet owners and outdoorsman are among the most ardent aficionados in their interests in these hobbies. They will spend almost any amount of money to improve the benefits they derive from their chosen pleasure.
Golfers are manic in their desire to improve their games. We receive numerous training devices, stroke control, bag accessories and novelty golf products annually. Each entrepreneur seems to have developed their innovation based on a perceived need they have identified from their personal play experience. The result is a flood of truly novel devices, some very commercial, that pique these golfers creative juices.
Hunters and fishermen have similar passion for their favorite pastimes. Hunters are driven to get closer to prey, obtain better shot sight lines and get more shots with their rifles or bows. They invest heavily in any gizmo that offers the promise of more action while on the hunt. Fishermen will go to abnormally heightened lengths to catch more fish. Exotic lures, fish finders, bait scents and rod accessories that are new, and offer the angler a possible advantage over the fish are must have items for the tackle box.
Pet owners are especially unique. People that will share the interior of their homes with one or more pets are indeed committed. Recently we introduced a new pet product at the largest pet trade show in the United States. The casual observer could easily imagine the types of products that would be featured in such an exposition. However, walking the show floor was an education. To view the luxury, comfort, fashion and expensiveness of the thousands of specialty products on display was staggering.
Entrepreneur's that we have worked with over the years are always most passionate when they are trying to commercialize a product that they created to fill a need that they have identified in an important area of their life. Whether it is from employment, a hobby or sport in which they participate or from their household experience, the best ideas seem to evolve from the inventor's life experience. Passion is to the entrepreneur as fertilizer is to agriculture, essential!
The pet category is huge and growing, There are over 70 million licensed dogs and 45 million cat owners in the United States alone. A niche product that creates demand among these pet lovers has huge upside potential. The market in this product category can be penetrated relatively easily, if the item is truly unique.
Products that are commercially desirable in the categories of golf, hunting, fishing and pet care/accessories also enjoy huge international distribution potential. Distributors, partners and licensees are available for country and continent distribution pacts. These parties will buy the products in bulk quantities from inventors and handle in-market sales, warehousing and business operations.
In many product categories there are 800-pound gorillas (competitors) that present daunting hurdles to new entrepreneurs. The golf, hunting/fishing products and pet product areas are much more sliced up. They have lower barriers to entry and the main players are typically more specialized in their product strengths. This provides greater opportunities for entrepreneurs to secure shelf space and promotional features.
The time has never been more exciting for the market to absorb truly fresh, innovative new specialty products in these and many other categories. The inventive mind, driven by zeal for a hobby or identified need, can be successful and significantly change the course of their life while providing real product performance benefits to consumers of their inventions. The best time to move is always now.
Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.
After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B. A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.
Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, Inc. (http://www.duquesamarketing.com ) has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.