Austin entrepreneur, Richard Trocino had an excellent product idea. And like thousands of other innovative inventors with a replacement product concept. Bringing that concept into a marketplace dominated by long established brands with deep links and dominance in the retail outlets is challenging.
In nowadays of mega corporations and Walmarts, VCs and little business defined by the government in the land of opportunity. One entrepreneur with a grand idea or product could also be considered by any of those groups as beside the point and insignificant. Another challenge faced by small businesses in today’s marketplace. Like in Trocino’s case, is getting a thought produced and generating sales.
In spite of impossible odds, Trocino’s invention sells almost faster today than his factories can produce and distribute everywhere the world. The established companies that got the opportunity to brand and produce it. Now could also be wishing they had not dismissed the popular product so readily.
Not when the blogosphere is broadcasting round the globe faster and with more range than a speeding bullet; comments appearing include; “OHSO gets my nod for the most stylish and futuristic toothbrush/toothpaste contraption on the market today”.“The Coolest Toothbrush Ever”, and “World’s Most Elegant Travel Toothbrush”.
Micro Level Funding
Trocino received micro level funding to urge the prototypes built and into limited manufacturing through friends and family. After attempts to license the product to both toothpaste and toothbrush companies fell on deaf ears. Similarly, Trocino found his innovation locked out of normal channels of retailing without the advantages of an established proven brand in the marketplace.
Discouraged, but undaunted Trocino abandoned efforts to require the product to market using traditional marketing methods. Alternatively, like entrepreneurs who have met with unexpected success throughout business history. He proceeded by seat of the pants and gut instinct.
Working on a hunch, he put it out there purely within the world of the internet and ignored the traditional “wisdom” of standard marketing techniques—no phones, faxes, or printed paper junk mail—nothing but net.
A guerrilla marketer doesn’t have the luxury of the corporate behemoths.
Who can afford (since it’s investor’s and stockholders money not their own) to throw 98% of their marketing dollars out on a numbers game in a business model. That justifies and covers its inherent wastefulness by overcharging those sold customers the expenses of marketing to everyone else.
Trocino decided to be a “Swamp Fox” marketer, like General Francis Marion. Who befuddled British in South Carolina during the Revolutionary war, and break all the principles of modern marketing warfare. Marketing may be a form of warfare and many entrepreneurs have discovered the reality of today’s business battlefields.
The firms and financiers have in today’s market reality stacked the deck against upstart competition by raising the ante into the game of commerce. One unnamed entrepreneurial internet advice columnist estimates the value of entry to even be considered for funding by an angel or VC group at between $25,000 and $250,000.
That’s merely for the development of the business plan, and pre-start up consulting. General expenses and to get access to their secretive inner circle. Trocino decided to wander into the unknown swamp of the web and blogsphere. And see what people would do when offered his innovation directly.
Trocino, like most entrepreneurs, may be a risk taker. But like most smart business persons likes to scale back risk wherever possible. He knew an honest concept poorly executed had little chance of success in the market. So he took his idea to a locally based. But internationally known design firm called “Design Edge” and arranged a co-marketing partnership for assistance in ‘packaging’ his innovation.
Trocino knew that folks who travel a lot would naturally respond favorably to the concept of an integrated toothpaste dispensing. Toothbrush in a self contained case that protects clothing in briefcases as well as keeps things neat and sanitary.
With the co-marketing partnership with ‘Design Edge’ the merchandise took on a new personality within a sexy futuristic design that takes the basic utilitarian idea and wraps it in fashionability and elegance.
Then with some well chosen words, a lover with a good photographic eye and a smattering of html code. Trocino put up an internet site at http://www.goOHSO.com. And invited some friends through http://MySpace.com to seem at his new line of toothbrushes. MySpace would become the laboratory and ultimate launch pad for the rollout of his product.
With its stylish modern design and stylish photography, the excitement it generated in cyberspace was somewhat unexpected. In fact, it had been explosive!
Dynamics of Blogosphere
Driven by the dynamics of blogosphere where coolness and fashionability become badges of private taste and sophistication. The OHSO toothbrush rapidly found its way onto the private blogs of graphic designers and jet setters. Because the coolest thing since crystal ice.
When Josh Spears, the blogger’s blogger posted his rave of the sleek product, sales and global visibility increased. Even the legendary Steven Wozniak, the cofounder of another new product. Apple computer is counted among the OHSO toothbrush users and fans.
Today the merchandise is available in high fashion boutiques in the swanky Beverly Hills bastions of elegance. And among the cappuccino makers and executive toys on the shelves of Brookstone stores around the country.
Blogs have elevated the sensible, functional, practical toothbrush for harried travelers into fashion statements that provide status and cool despite it’s less than $20 price tag.
Not a nasty state of affairs for the beaming Trocino who is today expanding the line with even more designs to satisfy the market demands. OHSO may be a product that owes its success to a seat of the pants approach to beat the corporate gorillas with a bit of his own guerilla marketing.
He simply put it out there within the vast uncharted cyber world where the old MBA strategies have no more influence on the hip youth market than the full color fall outs in the increasing unread Sunday paper.
Today freedom of the private press in the global Blogsville rules a small voice with a message, or product just like the OHSO toothbrush, are often magnified into a global phenomena. When people interest what they see, they tell their friends, who today are everywhere. a bit like Richard Trocino’s classy and well designed toothbrush.