I recently posted a video about validating a product for your brand, and today I wanna talk about it more. Lucky you.
“After this drop, I’ve got new demands
Can’t meet the terms, keep it movin then”
– Drake, Used To
For the uninitiated: there is almost inevitably a typo below… it’s one of my signature moves.
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Below you’ll see some shit I made up: The Colin Landforce Product Validation Pyramid™. This chart illustrates a set of rules I use to validate a product idea and most importantly: emphasizes that nothing matters without a foundation of attention and eyeballs.
Today, we’re getting tactical. Let’s break this down from the ground up.
Some of you may remember my ramblings on distribution last week.
Attention, or distribution, is your ability to get your idea in front of consumers. Modern brands have several ways to buy attention.
- Ads on Instagram, Google, etc
- Influencer campaigns
- Billboards, direct mail, old school shit (love this)
- and more
Most of these are important pieces of the puzzle for mature brands but they’re expensive and you’ll never own them. Unless you’re a performance marketer and have plenty of margin to giveaway, you need to create your own attention and lucky for you: Modern brands also have several ways to do that. Creating and deploying content is easier than ever in 2023. Here’s what you should attacking today if you’re not already:
- Short form video on Instagram and Tik Tok (every fucking day)
- Email newsletter (curating and recapping your niche and content)
- Blog (repurposing above into blogs)
- Podcast (Talk to your people, with their people)
- Long form video on Youtube (Upload the pod and go from there)
This is daunting until it’s not but if you commit to it and execute, it’s like a cheat code. There are 100 ways to skin the cat and there’s not a business in the world I’d start in 2023 without creating my own distribution. Attention is the new oil and it’s the future of consumer products.
This is a game of unit economics. I remember being blown away the first month we did $1M in revenue but with an average price of $2,000, thats only 500 units. If you’ve got a $10 product, you have to sell 100,000 units to do that same $1M in revenue. Higher price points also make more room for acquiring customers (buying attention), but I digress.
Here’s are some ideas on how to get your price point up:
- Charge more ‼️ Go premium, don’t compete on price, and charge more.
- Packs: Sell multiple instead of singles.
- Bundle: With other products, in sets with other configurations.
- Starter kits, variety packs, etc
A Pro V1 is $4.50, but you can’t even buy 1, and anyone who uses them buys a dozen at a time for $55.
You will not regret reconfiguring or repositioning your product to get the price up.
Size & Weight
Consumers want fast and free shipping. I can send a small package that weighs a lb anywhere in the US for around $5. If I pay a 3PL to that it’ll end up somewhere around $8. Combine this with a low $20 price point as mentioned above and:
- 25% of your margin goes to the mail man
- Make that 35% if you outsource fulfillment
- Now you’ve got $12 left before you even got started
Charging your customer for shipping is not the answer. You can do it, but it’ll kill your conversion rates and customer experience. You can combat this with:
- Getting your price point up 🆙 (see above)
- “Free shipping when you spend X”
On a related note: The less fucks a brand gives, the higher their ‘free shipping when…’ will be. Titleist has theirs at $175 which is hilarious, kills conversion, and sends customers to other retailers to buy instead. With a legacy brand built on the back of 3rd party retailers, it’s probably intentional.
Here’s a video on why I wouldn’t try and build a golf bag brand. Spoiler: it’s cuz their huge.
Have you noticed that most the creator (attention driven) brands that are coming to market right now are consumables? Cosmetics, skincare, chocolate, drinks. They’re the grail of consumer product and price point is not nearly as important when you know they’ll keep coming back for more. You can afford to lose money getting a customer in the door if they’ll be buying for years to come.
Note: Lots of consumable categories are very low ticket which all but requires retail distribution. I’d avoid this altogether. Logan Paul’s reach to promote Prime is massive but the distribution network his partners at Congo Brands have, and are building, is the backbone of their model.
Your thing is probably consumable, or not – there’s not a whole lot of fudging on this one. But, you can look to fashion and streetwear to replicate similar repeat purchase dynamics:
- Create community where products bring status
- Drop regularly with limited supply to create scarcity
- Do reissues and and new color-ways to give an excuse to buy again
Most people start here and they’ve got it backwards. Candidly, nobody gives a fuck, and it’s not cuz your thing isn’t great. It’s cuz nobody knows about it and telling all your buddies and DM’ing influencers isn’t gonna change that. If this is you, shift your focus to the foundation of our trusty pyramid immediately. Today.
If you’ve made it this far up the pyramid, you’ve got 3 key ways to differentiate a product:
Brand is the story you tell.
Design is how you bring it to life in your products and customer experiences.
And innovation is expensive, not for the faint of heart.
Check the boxes, or try to…
You can find countless examples of successful businesses that break these rules. My wife’s business does! The most important take away is that your thing‘s success is a function of how much attention you can get it, and the ball is in your court.
In coming weeks I’ll be diving into each of these 5 topics in more detail, unless I get distracted.
(I will get distracted)