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desmond johnson November 21, 2000 08:53 PM

marketing techniques
 
My patent design is towards men's underwear. How do I conduct a survey online that is directed to men. Also what ways can I get men's retail stores to let me conduct the surveys?

Dien Rice November 22, 2000 06:07 AM

Re: marketing techniques
 
> My patent design is towards men's underwear.
> How do I conduct a survey online that is
> directed to men. Also what ways can I get
> men's retail stores to let me conduct the
> surveys?

Hi Desmond,

I haven't had any experience yet with formal surveys, apart from informally surveying people on how they do surveys. :)

One approach is simply to ask people -- that is, show them a prototype of your product (or show them a picture) and ask them if they would pay money to buy it. (Don't just ask them if they like it, but if they would *buy* it, if they would *pay* to get it, which is what you want to know.)

This is a very simple approach, I'm sure there are more sophisticated approaches you can take too, but you'd be surprised how many people use this very simple approach of just asking everyone around them for their views.... And I believe that just doing something as simple as that will probably help to give you a useful insight into what many people think....

As for approaching a manufacturer, you might want to see if there's some sort of Inventors' Society or something like that in your city. If there is one, they might have good information on approaching manufacturers with your design patent. If you do this, you'd most likely have to contact manufacturers yourself and "sell" them on your idea. I've investigated this a little bit myself, but the product a friend and I were working on (a technology product) never reached a sufficiently advanced stage to take it to that level....

The other approach might be to try manufacturing it yourself, however you need some capital to do that....

Hope that helps at least a little.... :)

Dien Rice

Dien Rice November 22, 2000 11:04 PM

More on finding a manufacturer....
 
Hi Desmond,

Here's more information on finding a manufacturer....

Some of this information is Australia-specific and some is USA-specific....

This first part will probably mostly just be useful to Aussies.... In Australia, there is a government-funded company called the Industrial Supplies Office, or ISO. They have a huge database of Australian companies, and the main reason for the ISO's existence is as a service to help Australian businesses to find each other.... Most of their services are free, since they are government-funded.

For Aussies, here are some branch office web sites: www.isonsw.com.au (in New South Wales), www.isovic.com.au (in Victoria), www.isoqld.com.au (in Queensland), www.tbc.sa.gov.au/services/ISO.htm (in South Australia)....

For Americans, you can find manufacturers using the Thomas Register www.thomasregister.com .... There may also be a similar government consultation service as well, however I don't know off-hand (does anyone know of this?)....

By the way, I found out about the ISO in Australia from a branch of the Inventors' Society. I attended some of their meetings, and at one of them a representative of the ISO gave a talk, and I took notes.... (I learned from Gordon Alexander to always have paper and pen nearby -- he calls it his "external brain"....)

*Some* of these Inventors' Societies have good information, so the Inventors' Society (or an equivalent) is probably worth checking out in your city, if you have a design patent already....

To be honest, though, I tend to agree with Marty Foley's answer, that the invention/patent route looks like one of the tougher routes to financial success (if that's your aim).... There *are* successes, but in many cases they've had to essentially set up their own businesses, manufacture their own product, and spend a lot of their own money to achieve it....

I was told that one of the best books about this route to success is
"Doing a Dyson" -- I haven't read it myself though. James Dyson's autobiography, "Against the Odds" might also be good (I also haven't read it). James Dyson designed a better vacuum cleaner, and it's the best-selling vacuum cleaner in the UK. I'm not up-to-date on the world of vacuum cleaners, but I read that his vacuum cleaner design has also been widely copied in the USA (perhaps he didn't get a patent there?).

I think the difficulty with the invention route is that a "better" product does not automatically lead to sales.... It has to satisfy a real "want" in the community at an acceptable price -- it has to ease some real pain. And many inventors know nothing about marketing, which is a critical skill.

Hope that helps....

Dien Rice


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