Launching a new product is by no means an easy process. If you don’t have a clear plan in place you can easily get ahead of yourself. For a new product launch to be successful you must be willing to invest your time and energy and be fully prepared to follow a series of planned steps. As they say, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
The same principle’s apply whether you are launching a new product in your home market, looking to export to an international market for the first time or enter the Eurozone.
The key is to look at a product launch as a process and not just as a single event.
Why do some product launches fail?
When you launch any new product, your hope is that it will smash all sales records. No one dares to think that their product will be rejected by the market and be a failure. But when it comes to product launches, even the big multinational companies from Coke to Amazon to Google don’t always get it right.
A big mistake we often see at IMS Marketing from budding entrepreneurs to established businesses, is that they automatically believe customers will be lining up to purchase – whether it’s to launch something huge, something small, or updating a current offering. This is not always the case, here are a few common mistakes we see companies making:
- Failing to carry out proper market research
- Not educating/listening to your customers before launching the product
- Rushing the product launch & not preparing properly
- Customers not understanding your message
Failing to plan is planning to fail for any product launch
Like anything you undertake in business, a new product launch takes time and careful planning. When planning your launch it is always a good idea to set up a product launch checklist. This is your step by step guide of what needs to be done in advance to ensure your launch is a success. A checklist would include the following:
- Learn about your customer
- Complete your positioning statement
- Planning your go to market strategy
- Promotion/promotional content
- Prepare and educate your team
- Finally, launch the product.
At IMS Marketing we have our own top 3 tips for product launch success.
What are the steps you should take before launching your product?
We have already spoken about setting up a product launch checklist. But some of you may be still wondering what exact steps you need to take to make sure you are fully prepared to launch your new product.
Feasibility study & market research
Carrying out a feasibility study may be one of the most important investments you make in the commercialisation of your new product. A product demo helps you understand if your product or service can deliver its expectations in the marketplace.
Conducting both primary and secondary research, decides whether to progress the idea further into the New Product Development process, cease immediately or delay pending further research.
Who is your target audience?
The first step is to define your target audience. You need to understand what the best way is to reach them. This is crucial as it will dictate the language, messaging and the ways in which you communicate with them, allowing you to connect with your customer in a way that resonates with them as a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. Understanding your target audience allows you to plan, implement and evaluate your marketing process.
Is my product solving a problem?
Now that you have defined your target audience, you need to gather a proper understanding of the problem/challenge that your product is going to solve for them. Talk to your prospective client and see does it fully solve their problem and gather any feedback you can. At the stage it is also critical to undertake a Value Proposition Workshop which will allow you to view your offering from the perspective of your customers. The outcome of this workshop will allow you to craft your Value Proposition and your key messages.
The buyer journey
Understanding what your target audiences’ pain points are will be the foundation of all your sales and marketing strategies. It is also important to establish where they get their information and who influences their decisions/purchases. Each customer will engage with you differently depending on what stage of the buyer journey they are on.
The Importance of securing your online identity
Cybersquatting is becoming more and more popular, as people take advantage of business and organisations who do not secure their domain name, trademark, social media accounts, with the intent of profiting from the goodwill of someone else’s trademark. A recent example of this was St Ronan’s Primary School. Therefore, it is critical to secure all these before launching anywhere. An effective online presence increases brand awareness, lead generation and expands your global reach.
Identify the competition
Once you have identified and researched your main competitors, instead of focusing on doing what they are doing. See what makes your brand or product different and establish your USP. Aim to be the market leader and not a trend follower.
Define your measurements of success
Use key performance indicators (KPIs) and measurements to test the success of your product launch. This allows you to improve marketing effectiveness and efficiency. To see where your product launch is faltering or succeeding, you must have measurements for success in place.
Create a schedule
A master schedule of each step in your product launch with specific dates and times must be established and agreed upon by the team. This includes the responsibilities of each employee and department. The entire company should be unified across all channels, whether it’s go-to-market, marketing, launch messaging or customer support. Create brand guidelines for your brand’s voice and tone. Don’t enter the market without knowing how you want to interact with the world and that consistency across all channels is key!
Content, content, content
Your product launch requires content that tells your brand story and explains how your product works. This can be through press releases, website pages, videos, blogs etc. Content is important for displaying your know-how and gaining respect from your target audience.
Early adopters are the first key segment targeted for all new products and services. As you want to create a buzz around your product before its launch, you can attract early adopters through discounts for pre-orders, free first-time uses, for example. It also allows you to test the product, get feedback and make changes if necessary.
Test your product
I know it’s the second time I have mentioned testing but it’s important that you test your product again prior to launching to check for any faults or changes before it’s too late. Launching with a faulty product looks very bad for a company and customers will have no trust in you going forward. Testing is not only for the product itself but also for landing pages, website, sales and marketing collateral etc.
Market your product
Using your buyer personas from your research, where does your audience hang out? Use this to establish the best ways to market to your target audience, PPC, Adwords, social media channels etc. At IMS Marketing we utilise an integrated digital marketing approach. Our digital approach helps our clients reap real rewards for their business with increased visibility, a top online ranking position and a healthy sales pipeline.
New product development projects require a disciplined, information driven approach to succeed. Our Product Innovation Services guide clients through the NPD process from concept evaluation to feasibility study, business planning and market launch.