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3 Unexpected Realities about Developing a Product

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Part 1 of the Stuffies Story; Filling a Pocket in the Plush Toy Market

Would you have ever thought that a brand of stuffed animals with big zippered smiles would become a household name? If you doubted it even for a second, then you’re in trouble. 

Doubt is one of the biggest idea crushers entrepreneurs are faced with when creating new products. And we knew all the sneaky ways doubt destroys innovative (and potentially profitable) ideas, which is why Marketing Architects didn’t let it stop our team from developing Stuffies, unique stuffed animals each with seven top-secret pockets.

Sure, we took into consideration the possible downfalls, but we also counted the reasons why we should develop Stuffies—and it outnumbered the negatives. We knew it would grow our expertise in the toy category, and we saw an opportunity to fill a marketplace vacancy that resulted from the decline in Pillow Pets popularity. We also had more than a decade of DR knowledge we could use to effectively market the product. Plus, we genuinely wanted to create something fun.

Throughout our process of developing a No.1 best seller on Amazon, we learned:

Your product doesn’t have to solve a problem. We’ve heard over and over again that inventing a product that solves a specific consumer problem is what entrepreneurs should strive to do. Yes, there have been plenty of businesses that have found success by solving universal issues with their products (ex. Proactiv+ helps fight acne). BUT, there is still room for products that aren’t completely problem/solution-oriented. Like Stuffies.

With that said, we knew that the world didn’t need just another generic plush toy, which is why we didn’t make one. Instead, we created a product that promoted quality play—a way to truly connect with kids through loveable toys that came with meaningful storybooks about teamwork, responsibility, confidence and other important values relating to self-image. Stuffies may not solve a universal problem like acne, but they do enrich the lives of our customers.

Your dream could become a reality way faster than you think. What we’re saying is you seriously need to be prepared for what lies ahead. We began selling Stuffies in 2012, after spending about a year developing the product and testing creative marketing campaigns. By December 2013, our sales growth was up by 300 percent. Stuffies sales ramped up so incredibly fast that we were forced to funnel all of our energy into manufacturing enough products to fill the orders coming through in the holiday season. This was a good problem to have, because it meant that our vision for Stuffies was coming true, but it was also stressful. Luckily, it was the catalyst we needed to begin establishing super-efficient warehouse operations.

People WANT to help you. It’s not unnatural to want to protect your ideas—to hold you cards a little closer to your chest when discussing your concepts with new people. That’s okay, as long as you know that there really are a lot people who want to help you, not hurt you.

As Marketing Architects began to develop Stuffies, we started to meet and connect with incredibly supportive people, including other business owners, marketers and executives at major corporations. Again and again we found that retailers wanted us to succeed. The relationships we built led to several retail opportunities, ultimately helping Stuffies enter the market in a major way.

Once you start developing and marketing your product, you’ll find that people will enter your life that you never thought would. Take advantage of those meetings because they can lead to very good things.

Are you in the process of developing the Next Big Thing? Let us know when you’re ready for us to start building a firework-worthy marketing campaign to spread the word about your product. With more than 18 years of DR marketing experience, we have the know-how to make a difference.

Read more in our series about how Marketing Architects created one of Amazon's best-selling plush toys:

Part 2 – Product Developers: Did You Start With "Why"?

Part 3 – 4 Manufacturing Problems All Toymakers Face (and How to Conquer Them)

Part 4 – How Do You Make People Love Your Product?

Part 5 – How Do You Know If You're Ready for Mass Retail?

Chuck Hengel

By Chuck Hengel

Founder & CEO

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