The Road Less Traveled for Inventors

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

Patent, Prototypes, and Packaging

Much of inventing and the creative process is intangible: will consumers really understand my product and its benefits; what colors are best for packaging? Dealing with uncertainty and the unknown is frustrating.

So, inventors prefer to focus their time and resources and energy on things that are objective and tangible: patents, prototypes, and packaging.

By focusing upon patenting, inventors focus on the how instead of the why. Is this product patentable? Why should I patent it? Will I be able to obtain a strong patent?

Focusing early on patenting can result in thousands of dollars wasted to obtain a weak patent (or no patent) for a product that no one will buy.

Prototyping is obviously important, but a prototype can be made for any product, good or bad. A great prototype cannot make a weak product successful.

Similarly with packaging. Packaging is almost as important as the product, because packaging is what, in a few seconds, either causes consumers to buy or sends them to look at a different product. But if the product isn't right, the packaging cannot rescue it.

The Product, The Problem and the Message

Just as Robert Frost penned, the road less traveled makes all the difference.

Inventors must step back, look at their product from the viewpoint of others, not themselves, and ask some difficult questions.

How truly unique is the product? Is there a WOW factor that would make this product stand out from competitors on the same shelf? Will consumers happily part with their hard-earned cash to have your product? Maybe not.

What annoying problem does the product solve? Sometimes when I ask an inventor what problem their invention solves, they will robotically reel off a list of features of their product. So what? If your product isn't an obvious solution to a burdensome problem, no one will buy it.

Even if your product is unique and it solves a problem that truly bugs consumers, the message is crucial to marketing success. The marketing message must be short, succinct, and articulate: in 30 seconds or less, it must tell what your product is, the problem(s) it solves and its key benefits. The message is how marketers and consumers will describe your product so others may be interested.

For my product, the Wonder Wallet, I described it as a thin, flexible wallet that holds twice as much, but is half as thick and is comfortable to sit on. That was my marketing message.

Intriguingly, accurately defining the product, the problem, and the message, costs very little. Mostly it requires a great deal of thought, research, and perhaps some testing. Once those facets are done right, the patent(s), prototypes, and packaging will be much easier to  align for business success.

For inventing success….. take the road less traveled.

Stay tuned!

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