Professor Gloria Thomas’ Marketing 3780 class is working on an assignment to develop marketing plans for what they call “imaginary products” but what really turn out to be a selection of recently patented products not yet in production. What a great project! An assignment that asks students to do research that any entrepreneur or venture capital firm would have to do to launch a new product.
I was working with a team Friday that was researching an infant room alarm and trying to determine the industry sector by finding a NAICS code. We used the online version of the NAICS manual found at http://www.census.gov/ (the link is right in the center of the page). I had a difficult time getting the students to brainstorm about possible industries after “child safety” did not produce any NAICS code. I asked if they could guess what type of manufacturer would produce the product and we looked at “electrical products,” an industry defined in NAICS very broadly as “electrical equipment manufacturing.” I suggested thinking about the product as a medical device and then tried another tactic and asked about companies that produce similar products. My thoughts were that companies like Johnson & Johnson or a home security firm like Honeywell would fit. In the end we did find NAICS for both medical equipment and alarm systems.