A crucial component of our process, unique to Lightning Launch, is the weekly Product Meeting. When inventors submit their ideas, they do so with the hope of getting their product presented at our meeting, wherein our Creative Team determines whether the product will be a viable addition to our roster.
When inventors wait for the post-meeting phone call, they do so with a full understanding that most products don’t make it to the next step. Our review process is notoriously competitive, and we only decide to move forward with a small percentage of the products we see. That is why when inventors receive a call from us with the good news—that we believe their idea could be successful in licensing or retail—they know their product has passed a stringent test. It’s a wonderful feeling for us to partner with inventors who have a product with true potential, and the meeting is crucial to separating those special products from the rest of the pack.
You’ve heard a lot about the meeting but what, exactly, does it look like? A team composed of Market Research personnel, Product Managers, as well as our CEO and COO, thoroughly review each product on the docket, look at pictures, videos, and test prototypes. We conduct a patent search, as well as look for any products currently on the market that might solve a similar problem, or might be considered stiff competition. Each product is discussed at length. A few questions are posed at the start of each review:
> Does the product appeal to a broad audience?—Oftentimes there is only a niche market for a product. It might be extremely attractive to that niche audience, but nonetheless, for us to move forward with it, it must appeal to a vast consumer base.
> Does the product solve a big enough problem? –Most inventions solve a problem of some kind. However, some don’t solve that problem in the right way, or more commonly, they just don’t solve a big enough problem. Similar to appealing to a broad audience, an invention must solve a problem that hundreds of thousands of people experience on a daily basis. Further to this, consumers must be aware that the problem exists, and is in need of solving.
> Is there a “Wow!” factor?— Particularly true for TV and licensing products, which tend to rely on demonstration, the product should create a sense of urgency in a consumer. Not only should it have a coldly practical appeal, but also that special quality that makes buyers excited about the purchase.
If we determine we’d like to move forward with a product, we have a conversation about where it would be the best fit: Licensing or Specialty Retail. This depends upon our own impressions of the product, what the market currently has/wants, and most importantly, the inventor’s own vision. When we call the inventor with the good news, we also make our recommendation for the product’s best path to market, and do our best to bring that recommendation into alignment with the inventor’s own intentions.
Meetings are always fun, not only because we get to test out cool prototypes, and watch great demonstration videos, but because they’re a constant reminder of the never-ending influx of innovation. Not every idea can be successful, but as long as the ideas keep coming, we’re always confident (and hopeful) that the next big seller will cross our desk!