Seeing ideas turn into reality is a dream come true for inventors and entrepreneurs. But the process can involve a lot of hard work and long hours. Getting a product from the drawing board to the shop shelves or into the hands of sales professionals is a long process but this is just what it happening in Coventry. The Health Design & Technology Institute at Coventry University has been busy helping local innovators in the health and social-care sector to bring their products to market. The inventions have largely been products which help individuals to live independently in the community and remove their dependence upon other healthcare services. The ever-increasing size of the UK's older population means that the demand for products which support independent living is only going to grow. But even when a market is as certain as this and an idea seems sure to succeed, there is still the question of how to turn the idea into reality. For innovators in Coventry help is at hand. Support from ERDF funding means that local entrepreneurs and SMEs can access consultancy services for product development, including design services and testing for usability. The university is using its expertise and excellent facilities to deliver these services, which include quick production of prototypes and testing. The testing is vital, either to inform a subsequent design stage or to qualify the product claims regarding features and benefits that you will want your marketing messages to carry. The reports are independent validations of your product. So your idea works and you know your market, but it still isn’t going to sell itself. You need to work on how you are going to market your product. This is where your marketing planning comes in. You know that your product is great and so do all those who have helped you develop it, but can you put that into words that a new customer would quickly appreciate? Defining your product features and benefits and agreeing your market messages will be things you need to get started on. If this is a new brand as well as a new product, then you’ll need to establish that too. You already know who your target market is, but do you know what their purchasing drivers are or what type of communication they are likely to respond to? These are all things you’ll need to know to develop your marketing strategy, while at the same time setting realistic budgets with which you need to implement it. If you are looking for investment to help take your product to market, then be realistic about what you’ll need to support your marketing, and make sure you’ve done your homework. If you are a new business, you may not have this expertise within your resource base. If this is one of your first hires, you might want to enlist the help of marketing recruitment agencies in Coventry. If it is too early to take on full-time permanent staff, then speak to marketing recruitment agencies in Coventry about short-term contracts or even temporary part-time positions as long as you can engage the right level of expertise.