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How To Keep Up With New Product Developments

By: Chris Popp

If you are like me, your in-box is becoming more jam packed with junk than ever before. Sometimes I’m tempted to just mass delete the whole mess. And it hardly pays to try to get myself off the treadmill of the increasing number of mailing lists I seem to get on because it takes more time to find the remove button and the subsequent “Are you sure?” button than just wading through them.

However, just as my frustration begins to peak, I always pause a moment because I know there is gold in them there hills. Yes, gold. And just like gold, you have to pan through a lot of material to find the valuable stuff.

What do I mean by gold? It’s a twist on an old product you didn’t know existed that is a perfect solution for the problem you have been trying to solve for ages. And guess what? It’s available from one of your existing supplier.

It’s that new product from another supplier that does everything the one your using does, but with refinements that make integration into your machine that much easier. New and improved!

It’s that new technology that can replace what you are using, not only saving money but improving the total design and performance of your machine. Forget looking for less expensive of the same. Redesign and increase value!

Or how about that new software that can automate tedious tasks you thought you were sentenced to endure forever. “When did that come out? I didn’t even think that was possible”.

Ya, I know. If you want to find something you need you just go to Google (or Yahoo or Bing) and look for it. So, how’s that working out for you? I bet not that great. In spite of all the algorithms Google tries to install to generate relevant links, I still find the results of my long tail searches are just this side of worthless. And I consider myself a good searcher.

But that isn’t even the real point. I mean, think about it. How can you search for what you don’t know exists? Products are improving, developing and being invented faster than any of us can keep track of. And if we don’t, we are falling behind and not doing our jobs. After all, we’re getting paid to design the latest and greatest. Or at least constantly improve productivity.

Ok, what to do. While there are a number of new vehicles to help you out, which I’ll touch on in future articles, for now I want to focus on and suggest the “new product newsletter”. This is a digital document that allows you to have the trade show experience reduced literally to a few seconds instead of a few hours.

Almost every trade print magazine, in almost every industry, has a digital version of the new product release that is their new cash cow. Same with all the digital directories. They can send tens of thousands of emails packed with the latest products and services for a couple hundred bucks. All they hear is “ka-ching”!

But you should be thinking the same. It’s like Madison Avenue, the Magnificent Mile and Rodeo Drive all rolled into one. You can spend as much time window shopping as you want without ever leaving your desk. Of course, that can get addicting too, so watch your self.

So here is the plan:

  1. Hit all the relevant magazine and directory websites that advertise relevant products you are interested in. Check out their inventory of “new product” newsletters or alerts, not their newsy newsletters (too much to read!). You probably get most of them already.
  2. Look at examples of how the products are presented before signing up. Usually there are 6-9 products showing a decent graphic and a 30 word description which can give you the gist of what’s presented. They all have links somewhere to get detailed info should you want more.
  3. Get really familiar with the “From” and “Subject” lines so you can easily and quickly pick out the selected newsletters from the haystack in your junk file (or save to a preferred group).
  4. Don’t look at them now. Set up a separate mailbox file for new product alert emails and slide them in as you go along deleting the junk in between.

This should give you a veritable treasure trove of spoils just waiting to be unearthed. With all the product announcement emails available in one file, even if you have 10 or 12 of them, it shouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes a day to become knowledgeable (or at least aware) of a high percentage of what’s new in every industry you select. Of course it will take a little more time if you find things you can use. But then it will be worth it!

Seriously, it’s not a waste of time. You just have to get organized so you don’t use more than you need. And once you get your head focused on the treasure hunt, I can almost guaranty you’ll eventually strike it rich along the way by finding that one solution you either couldn’t find or didn’t even know existed.

07/2014

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