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“If you build it, they will come.” Surprisingly, MouseDriver has caught the eye of the professional golfing world. We have spent the last two weeks in discussions with a group of pro golfers/television commentators (and yes, most of you have probably heard of these guys) who have shown an interest in getting involved with the company. This group feels that an initial direct sales approach is the best way to go and that selling MouseDriver exclusively through a 30 second infomercial/commercial spot marketed towards the masses is the best way to ensure success. Although we’d be absolutely psyched to work with these guys (imagine all the fringe benefits), our intuition and basic business knowledge tells us that focusing on a single channel is just a bit too risky at this point in time. The bottom line issue: Do we utilize a “Big Bang” approach to blow this out via direct sales, or do we focus on targeting a specific market by utilizing a mix of different channels? Decision is to be made this week.
As a single-product company, we realize that building “buzz” around the product and generating positive PR is going to be critical to the success of MouseDriver. This month, we launched a PR campaign within the golf industry that primarily targets golf publications and media groups. We’re hoping that the PR hits around January and February, in conjunction with all of the trade shows that we’re scheduled to attend. However, if the PR hits any earlier (i.e. December), we stand the chance of not being able to fulfill potential Holiday Season demand. We’d hate to launch MouseDriver, get a ton of demand and not be able to supply product. So, by launching a PR campaign, we’ve opened ourselves up to some fulfillment risks…which will totally be determined by the golf media.
Once again, distribution is “key.” We have made the decision to redesign the website with full ecommerce capabilities. By January, individuals, retailers, corporations, etc. will be able to purchase MouseDriver via our website. What that means is that we have to locate a warehouse/fulfillment center who can integrate electronically with our website as well as hold sufficient MouseDriver inventory. The whole idea is to make the ordering process as seamless as possible…the only thing we should see at the end of the month is a check in the bank account. FYI: good ecommerce solutions that tie into fulfillment centers ain’t cheap, but it allows you to supply product much easier and more efficiently.
What We’ve Done
- Began market testing/selling MouseDriver in a number of different channels including corporate (promo product), green grass (golf pro-shops), golf specialty stores (Roger Dunn), direct (out of the apartment and via sales reps) and on-line retail (chipshot.com).
- Began working with a golf charity organization that will use MouseDriver as a giveaway to people who donate money to the charity. The organization has agreed to co-brand their advertisements with the MouseDriver logo and description in a number of major newspapers around the country. We get free advertising in addition to goodwill!
- Began negotiating with 3 suppliers in the promotional products industry.
- Secured booth space for the 2000 PGA Tour Golf show to be held in Orlando, FL in February.
- Met with a couple of pro golfers and someone who we believe to be the real “Jerry Maguire.”
- Signed up for personal golf lessons (Our golf game sucks and industry veterans have told us that we won’t close many deals unless we’re able to hold our own during a round of golf).
- Move (Sell) as many of the MouseDriver inventory as possible before year’s end.
- Determine which promotional products suppliers best meet our current needs and long term strategic goals. Corporate culture/company values will also play a part in the final decision.
- Begin the development of a new web site and ecommerce solution.
- Explore financing options for a very large inventory investment (i.e. >100,000 units) sometime within the next 2 months.
- Find a company advisor who can provide insights/perspectives on the retail side.
Mood Meter: Impatient!