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Sleep and Wake Pillow Product Development & Marketing Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 13th, 2020


Sleep is one of the most important components of life and one cannot do without it. However, most people overlook the importance of making enough time to sleep apparently due to the lack of knowledge about the benefits of having enough sleep (Persson, 2006). Psychologists argue that sleep helps relieve a person from stress hence boosting one’s health. Sleep helps the body recover from the daily fatigue and prepares a person for the next day (Colten & Altevogt, 2006). For one to maximize the benefits accruing from having enough sleep, it is essential to consider the best pillows depending on the sleeping habits. People have different sleeping habits ranging from side sleeping to back sleeping. Most producers of pillows ignore the fact that people have different sleeping styles hence the need to design a variety of pillow types to suit the needs for all.

Sleep helps the body to recover after a long day of work coupled with preparing one for the next day (Kornblatt, 2010). However, the pillow has to be of good quality that fits the need of every client. Selection of the wrong pillow may cause backaches and lead to fatigue on waking up the following day. Currently, there are many pillow vendors in the world with each type of pillows designed to suit different purposes. However, there exists a gap in customer satisfaction, as the currently available pillows do not meet the customers’ needs fully. People have different sleeping habits with some being side sleepers while others are back sleepers (Cohen-Mansfield & Jensen, 2005). People with different sleeping styles require different types of pillows hence the need for a more advanced type of pillows to fill the gap.

Additionally, people have different sleep needs owing to the diversity of the nature of work. In that regard, the pillows need to be designed in such a way that they have the necessary devices such as an alarm clock, Mp3 player, and a timer. Following research into the pillow market and considering reviews from customers, I came up with a new type of pillow that is more advanced than the ones available on the market. The sleep and wake pillow is designed in such a way that it allows its users to sleep comfortably overnight and has numerous devices fixed in it that suit the needs of every individual. The pillow comes in different sizes to address the needs of the different types of sleepers as illustrated in Appendix 1. This paper shall analyze the process of idea generation; discuss the competition the new product shall face as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the pillow.


Over the past few decades, businesses have invested heavily in the manufacture of pillows that would satisfy the customers’ needs. The increasing spinal cord issues have specifically led to an increase in demand for pillows (Jacobson, Boolani & Smith, 2009). Experts argue that the pillow that a customer chooses for use when asleep affects his/her sleeping patterns significantly. Innovation has led to the advancement of the pillows through the inclusion of different features and devices such as alarm clocks and Mp3 media player. However, the pillows that are currently in the market do not fully satisfy the customers’ needs hence the need to introduce highly sophisticated types of pillows. Psychologists are continuously educating their clients on the importance of sleep in solving mental problems and spinal cord disorders (Persson, 2006).


Competition is high among vendors of the pillows in the global market as indicated by the prices of pillows. Currently, pillows are trading between $30 and $200 depending on the quality and other additional features. Most organizations are using the online marketing strategies to maximize their sales without incurring huge advertising costs. The global market has opened new market channels helping firms maximize their profits against the backdrop of the stiffening competition in the various industries (Piller & Walcher, 2006). Most rival companies can negotiate for discounts from suppliers due to their voluminous purchases. In that regard, they can lower their overall operational costs leading to lower prices of their pillows without hurting the profits.

The sleep and wake pillows are at the inauguration stages, and they may not benefit from the economies of scale facilitated by such voluminous purchases. Some of the most notable rivals in the industry are the PillowsAA and Fibers Inc., Kush Kushion, Quality down Fibers, NodPod, and the Atlantic Feather. The listed companies are among the leading producers of pillows in the US, and it is estimated that they produce between 10,000-15,000 pillows daily. To counter the stiff competition, we shall manufacture high-quality pillows and maintaining the production costs as low as possible. The low production costs will facilitate the low pricing strategy adopted by the company hence outsmarting the competitors.

The Product

Description and Specification

The sleep and wake pillow is an advanced type of pillow designed to fill the gap between the quality and the price. Different from the pillows currently in the market, sleep and wake pillow has different features fixed in it, which distinguish it from rival products. Some of the components of the pillow include:

  1. Tap sensor control
  2. Alarm
  3. LED, 3D speaker
  4. MP3 Player-USB chargeable

3D sound system speakers and microphone (virtually undetectable)

The sleep and wake pillow is Installed with great quality dual 3D sound system speakers not to mention the preinstalled 3D’s sounds and tracks that cause a relaxation feeling. Psychologists argue that low sound music brings emotional relaxation and helps the listener to get rid of the daylong stress (Klein, 2012). The volume is adjustable allowing the clients to make the necessary adjustments for maximum enjoyment.

LED Display of time & date

Another feature that distinguishes the sleep and wake pillow from those produced by the competitors is the LED Display of time & date. The pillow is the closest object when asleep and clients do not have to leave the bed to check the time on a watch or a phone.

Alarm Clock (with Silent mode)

Another device installed in the pillow is the alarm clock, which is sold with the pillow at an inclusive price. The installation of alarm is informed by the view that different people spend their days accomplishing difficult tasks, and thus they may over sleep, which causes inconveniences at their workplace (Gordon, Rodríguez, Olson, & Miller, 2005). The alarm clock has a silent mode and only vibrates the pillow below the head alerting the user that the waking time has approached. The alarm clock allows the users to set the wake-up time depending on their schedules.

Pillow Design and Material

The sleep and wake pillows come in different designs informed by the view that different people have different sleeping habits. The sizes also vary to allow customers to select the size of pillow they feel comfortable lying on (Cohen-Mansfield & Jensen, 2005). The pillows are of high quality and are designed to align the neck and the spinal cord to prevent back pains. Customers have previously complained of backaches after sleeping on poor quality pillows. Our pillow is made of wool making it fictile depending on the weight placed.

The product development phases

Idea Generation

Idea generation refers to the process by which entrepreneurs identifies a business opportunity. Business ideas may be obtained from both internal and external sources (Wheelwright, 2010). The internal sources of ideas include:

  1. Ideas from the CEOs and top managers
  2. Ideas generated by employees in the course of employment

On the other hand, the external sources include ideas generated from

  1. Competitors
  2. Customers
  3. Suppliers

The idea of creating the sleep and wake emanated from a comprehensive analysis of the competitors and the customers. The analysis of the competitors involved the use of SWOT assessment to assess their products’ strengths and weaknesses. The analysis revealed that the rivals did not include innovative features on their pillows such as the alarm clock and the sound system speakers. Companies that included such features in their pillows did so with every device sold with the pillows being disintegrated and sold separately. The idea of integrating such features and selling the pillow at an inclusive price proved a viable one. A team comprising of four members visited the various rival company’s stores to assess the pillows produced by the competitors.

Customer assessment was done through the Internet whereby the prospective customers were advised to cite the main concerns about the currently available pillows. The customers were reached through the social media, private email addresses, and their private phone numbers. The majority of the customers contacted cited the absence of various features on the pillows while others complained of backaches even after using the pillows from the rivals. The idea of producing a high-quality pillow to mitigate the backache complaints happened to fill the widening market gap.

Concept Testing

Once an idea is formulated, it needs to be screened before devotion of resources for implementation purposes. Testing the idea involves drafting of the expected returns from the sale of the product. If the returns are good enough to support the idea, the thought is implemented. Having analyzed the potential of the target market, I am convinced that this product will be the customers’ choice since it is built on the innovation. Besides, the product is lowly priced compared to that of the competitors. Appendix 2 illustrates the expected returns over a period of 5 years.

Concept development and testing

This aspect involves presenting the idea in a more meaningful form to paint a picture of the product as if it was already in the market (Ernst, Hoyer & Rübsaamen, 2010). Our strategy in this phase will involve posting the idea on the social media with accompanying photos of the pillow. Customers will be encouraged to review the idea. The reviews shall be used as the basis for determining whether to develop the product or drop it.

Marketing Strategy Development

This phase involves an analysis of the target market in light of the following factors:

  1. Product planned price, distribution, and marketing budget for the first year.
  2. Description of the target market, the planned product positioning, sales, market share and profit goals for the first few years
  3. Planned long-term sales, profit goals, and marketing mix strategy

In the case of sleep and wake pillow, the strategies shall be based upon consultation with the product development team. The prices shall be slightly lower than that charged by the competitors but still high enough to ensure that the firm operates at a profit.

Business Analysis

Having identified the target market and the projected sales, the next step will be to determine the net profits, which shall be achieved from the sale of the product. Appendix2 illustrates the expected sales, the costs and the net profits in the first and the fifth year.

Product development

This stage of product development involves the conversion of the idea into a tangible product for sale to the target customers. For a firm to embark on the development of the product there must be enough indicators that the product shall be profitable (Song& Swink, 2009). The profitability of the product is determined in the previous phases. In this phase, the pillows shall be produced in small scale and sent to the market for testing.

Test marketing

The pillows produced in the product development phase shall be introduced to the Miami market and some advertising made to alert the customers of the existence of the product. The customers’ responses shall inform the product development team on whether to embark on the large-scale development of the product.


In the commercialization stage, the product is produced in large scale and introduced into the market in large volumes. The commercialization of a product is highly dependent on the customers’ response in the test-marketing phase (Wheelwright, 2010). If customers embrace the creation at the test-marketing phase, the product is produced in large volumes. In commercializing sleep and wake pillow, the company shall assess the customers’ response in the test marketing stage. If the response is positive, the marketing strategies will be implemented. The firm shall embark on aggressive advertisement to alert customers of the existence of the product.

Target market

Pillows are luxurious commodities designed to provide comfort for people after a busy day at work. Statistics indicates that bar and restaurant owners are the main consumers of pillows due to a large number of visitors who board in their hotels (Becker, 2013). In that regard, I intend to target Miami city due to the voluminous number of restaurants in the city. The city has the best boarding rooms in the US and receives millions of visitors annually. Most of the visitors are tourists who come to the area for exploratory purposes. I will set up a team of aggressive sales officers who will help market the pillows directly to the clients. Additionally, I will utilize the Internet to reach both the local and the global customers. The use of the Internet to market my product will not only facilitate savings but will also boost the penetration of the product to the international market. Therefore, to avoid risks and market failures, I will partner with the local wholesalers and retailers, and convince them to help in the distribution of the pillows.

Five Ws Analysis


The sleep and wake pillow targets every individual regardless of his/her age, gender, or marital status. However, the initial market shall be restricted to the Miami city due to the high number of restaurants and people in the area.


There are numerous advertising channels available for promoting new products in the contemporary business environment. Some of the most common mediums include the Internet, personal selling, mass media, sponsorship, outdoor advertising, and print advertising just to mention a few (Cheng, Blankson, Wang, & Chen, 2009). Sleep and wake pillow will utilize the following channels to alert customers of the existence of the new creation.

The Social Media

The social media shall be used to gain insight of the customers’ support of the idea before its implementation (Todi, 2008). After the product is developed and introduced into the market, the media shall remain a relevant advertising channel. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are some of the channels that shall be used to improve knowledge about the product among customers.

Television adverts

TV adverts are more effective than any other form of advertisement since they reach many customers in both the local and the international market. Most business adverts are aired alongside the most watched programs (Bonabeau, Bodick, & Armstrong, 2008). The skillful placement of such adverts between the most watched programs ensures that they reach many customers. Just like in the print media advert, our TV ad shall specify the various features contained in the pillow alongside a photo of the product.

Mass Communication / Radio

Advertising through the radio can be an effective way of reaching customers since radios are accessible to all. In light of that view, scripts about the pillow shall be aired in all the local radio stations.

Direct advertising

The company shall also engage in personal advertising through sales persons who will make constant visits to the various restaurants and wholesale and retail stores located in the city. The salespersons shall educate customers of the important of the pillow over those produced by the competitors and persuade them to test the product.

Print Advertising

Lastly, the organization shall submit eye-catching written adverts to the local newspapers with the specifications of the pillow clearly indicated. Photos of the pillow shall be posted alongside the persuasive messages to attract the attention of the customers.


All the adverts made through the listed channels shall occur at different times of the product development process. Social media adverts shall be made before the development of the product to invite customers’ reviews of the idea before devoting money to the development of the pillow. Adverts through the social media shall continue through the commercialization phase. Personal adverts shall be launched after the product development phase. The radio and print advertisement shall be launched at the product testing phase and continue after the commercialization phase.


The first office shall be based in Miami since the company targets the city’s residents. There will be an open show at the Miami office whereby customers will benefit from price discounts.


The marketing strategies adopted by the firm are in line with the company’s objectives of attracting as many customers as possible in the local market. The advertising methods are meant to ignite anticipation among the prospective customers residing in Miami and its environs.


The primary objective of this marketing strategy is to reach as many customers as possible located in Miami. The secondary objectives include:

  1. To increase the demand for utilizing sleep and wake pillow
  2. To gain at least 30% awareness of brand/product to target market
  3. To deliver a strong message of sophistication, desire and anticipation, to the target market associated with the brand and product


The primary message for the product launch will be

“Sleep and wake pillow is designed to provide you with the comfort that you need when at the bed. It has integrated features, which include an LCD media player, an alarm clock, and a digital watch. The pillow is made up of high-quality cotton to provide enough comfort. Buy today and enjoy an amazing experience….”


Sleep is an important component of everyone’s daily schedule and requires one to devote enough time to relax and recover from the busy daily activities. A well-designed pillow may be of great importance in enhancing good sleep and in preventing back pains. Unfortunately, the currently available pillows, in the market, are not good enough to guarantee the user of relaxation and to prevent back pains. In this paper, the sleep and wake pillow has been explored as a solution to the cited concerns. The product is in its development stages, and the marketing strategies have been explored in details. The pillow includes certain features that distinguish it from those produced by the competitors. Some of the notable features found in the new pillow include an alarm clock, Tap sensor control, LED watch, and a 3D speakerMP3 Player. The product shall initially be launched in the Miami city before extending the market share to other cities. Promotion shall be done through the Internet, radios, TVs, direct marketing, and open shows among others.


Becker, E. (2013). Overbooked: the exploding business of travel and tourism. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Bonabeau, E., Bodick, N., & Armstrong, R. W. (2008). A more rational approach to new-product development. Harvard Business Review, 86(3), 96 – 102.

Cheng, J., Blankson, C., Wang, T., & Chen, L. (2009). Consumer attitudes and interactive digital advertising. International Journal of Advertising, 28(3), 501-525.

Cohen-Mansfield, J., &Jensen, B. (2005). Sleep-related habits and preferences in older adults: a pilot study of their range and self-rated importance. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 3(4), 209-226.

Colten, H., & Altevogt, B. (2006). Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: National Academic Press.

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Klein, C. (2012). Backache Relief: The Ultimate Second Opinion from Back-pain Sufferers Nationwide who Share Their Successful Healing Experiences. New Bremen, OH: Crown Publishers.

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Persson, L. (2006). Neck pain and pillows–A blinded study of the effect of pillows on non-specific neck pain, headache and sleep. Advances in Physiotherapy, 8(3), 122-127.

Piller, F., & Walcher, D. (2006). Toolkits for idea competitions: a novel method to integrate users in new product development. Research and Development Management, 36(3), 307-318.

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Appendix 1
Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Sleep and wake pillow
Financial forecast (Year 1 and Year 5)
Amount ($USD)
2015 2020
Income $173,000.00 $397,000.00
Sales $173,000.00 $397,000.00
Total Sales
Advertising & Marketing $72,000.00 $36,000.00
Overheads $40,000.00 $35,000.00
Equipment $40,000.00 $10,000.00
Production $25,000.00 $15,000.00
Total Expenses $177,000.00 $96,000.00
Total Profit -$4,000.00 $301,000.00
Appendix 3

Appendix 3

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