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Trade magazines, which are magazines targeted at the suppliers to an industry, are a resource full of helpful information for inventors. A trade magazines for the toy industry for example is Toy Book The Toy Book • The Leading Trade Publication for the Toy Industry, which details upcoming trade shows, new products and other industry news.
Trade magazines offer many benefits to inventors.
- They write about upcoming trade shows where inventors can go to meet industry people, including successful inventors in the field and see what new products are being introduced and learn what companies are possible licensing candidates. Retail store representatives and distributors also attend trade shows giving inventors a chance to meet a wide range of contacts
- They typically have industry directories, either their own list of a list of trade show directories. Trade show directories are very useful because they have contact names at various companies. If you want to license an idea, you are far better off starting with a contact name, than you are just sending a general information package to the company addressed to New Product Submissions or some other similar title.
- Industry articles frequently interview and quote industry people. If you create a contact list of these people, you will have contacts you can talk to about your idea, both to obtain feedback on your product’s market opportunities, and to learn about competitors who may be vying for the same market space.
- News articles frequently detail company’s new product strategies. This helps inventors first learn what companies might be a good fit for their product, but it also helps inventors target their presentation to a company’s objectives. These articles again offer the names of key contacts in a company. In any industry only a percentage of the companies are willing to license products, so inventors should target those companies, and again use key contact names as an entry point to the company.
- Trade magazines and associated trade shows often feature contract manufactures that service the industry. I’ve found that using an industry contract manufacturer is the best way to get cost effective pricing. So if you have a plastic toy, any number of manufacturing companies will be able to produce the product, but one that specializes in toy manufacturing will know about consumer product safety requirements, industry requirements regarding packaging and labeling, and other industry requirements inventors might not be aware of.
- Trade magazines will also list smaller regional, and even state, associations where you can attend meetings and meet people who might be able to help you. Smaller local are regional groups are the best starting point for inventors because people who attend those meetings typically have more time to talk to inventors. Often they have a social hour before or after the meeting where most attendees will talk to you.
Trade magazines often target a very narrow audience. These two web sites are just two examples of the many trade magazines available, the first site lists trade magazines in the housewares industry, and the second are trade magazines for the building industry. There may be a number of trade magazines that apply to your product and you should make an effort to read all of them. Trade magazines can be readily found with Internet searches. https://www.housewares.org/members/journals
Experienced inventors know that having a great product is just one aspect of licensing a product. Just , if not more important, is having a knowledge of the industry and lots of industry contacts that can help you find the right licensing connection. Trade magazines are an inventor’s best resource for knowing an industry and learning what contacts might be able to help you.