We shall pilot several new cosmetic products to selected potential purchasers.

Does it emphasize that we shall test the cosmetic products for the selected purchasers? Or it emphasizes that the products are inteded to be sold to the purchasers?

  • What does "pilot" mean in this context? – user3169 Sep 9 '15 at 4:54

It means that they will conduct the pilot phase with (or among) those selected customers; that is, those potential purchasers will be allowed to try the product before its general release.

Marketing people are often not very competent with syntax, so I'm not surprised. Or maybe this marketing-speak has become so prevalent that they actually think "pilot X to Y" says the above. A shorthand for run a pilot program in which Y will be allowed to sample/test/try X


The verb 'pilot' means to test a new product with a few people before the product is launched.

Here, it means they shall try the cosmetic products asking the selected potential purchasers. Potential purchasers are very important for the manufactures as their opinion counts the most.

  • Your intent is right, but "try....to" in this sense is problematic, just as "pilot...to" is. – Brian Hitchcock Sep 9 '15 at 6:41
  • @BrianHitchcock You mean pilot to selected purcharesers means to perform testing for the purchasers to be grateful while using their cosmetics. Do I correctly got what you mean? – Dmitrii Bundin Sep 9 '15 at 19:11

The selected potential customers will receive several new cosmetic products.

In this context, "to pilot" means something like "to display or distribute for the purpose of testing acceptability".  The preposition "to" indicates that the phrase "selected potential customers" represents the recipients of the test products.

This particular sense of the verb "to pilot" is a part of marketing jargon.  This particular sense of the preposition "to" is about as ordinary as possible.

The ordinary sense of "to pilot" naturally licenses the preposition "to":  A helmsman pilots a ship to a destination.  That same license exists in the jargon.

  • So, if that's the "ordinary" sense of "to", we are to infer that they deliver the product to the potential customers in an airplane? – Brian Hitchcock Sep 14 '15 at 8:56
  • Did you also infer that ships require airplanes in order to sail, @BrianHitchcock? – Gary Botnovcan Sep 14 '15 at 18:32
  • No, I just mean that to "pilot" a product means something different than delivering freight, whether by land, sea or air. – Brian Hitchcock Sep 15 '15 at 10:15

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