Awwww man, i really hate marketing questions, cause it’s so different with every product.
The questions to ask yourself:
- Does my product fill a need that is currently unrepresented? Or is it something that is desirable? Both?
- Who are my primary customers? How many of them are there? What would motivate them to purchase my product over another similar product? What percentage of my customers can I reasonably expect to purchase my item?
- What is the best way to reach my customer base? (Word of Mouth/Local Shows/Flyers on windshields in parking lots/Newspaper & Catalog Ads/Internet Ads/TV Ads/QVC) Can I meet the demand with broader advertising?
- How can I make my product look more desirable than the competition? Is there something that makes it better for a certain demographic than others? Is it less expensive?
Those are the broad categories that fit for any business startup…in the case of the sharpeners, having experienced one first hand, I have a recommendation for your target base…
There are a thousand knife sharpeners out there already, (I know because I’ve bought them), but yours actually works, and very well.
This next bit is extremely politically incorrect so if you are easily offended, switch off now…
Women generally do not like to use knife sharpeners, as opposed to men. Men treat their pocket knives like the fine tools that they are, with frequent honing. Women actually use knives a lot more on a daily basis for food preparation, and since the need of the moment is to get the chopped onions into the stew and get to the next item on the agenda, the edges on their knives suffer for it greatly. (Also, most of the cutting boards that we use are totally wrong for knives.)
You need to market two versions of your sharpener - one to men for keeping their blades honed and sharp for field dressing that buck… Big, hefty, manly…no real man should be without one.
And market a smaller more delicate version for kitchen use for the ladies. Something un-intimidating and cute, that doesn’t take up a lot of room in her overstuffed utensil drawer that will still put a razor sharp edge with just a few strokes on the paring knife she’s using on the carrots. (Ladies like cute, and they like being able to sharpen quickly when they need it.)
Heck you could even offer them as a matched set…and I’ll bet those would sell very well as wedding gifts.
(Well, that’s what I’d consider doing anyhow.)