Seventy-two percent of all new products fail to meet revenue targets, according to a global pricing study released in September by Simon-Kutcher & Partners and the Independent Professional Pricing Society.
When your business is counting on a shiny new product offering to kick-start the New Year’s revenue, marketing support is imperative.
For launches to have the best chance at success -- including getting the new product in front of the right buying audience and evoking consumer action -- agency partners and internal marketing teams must work from the same blueprint.
Here are 10 tips for product-launch success:
1. Do the research.
Survey customers and tap research from outside resources about marketing demand for the product.
Figure out which demographic group is most likely to buy it and how such customers tend to make purchasing decisions.
Before deciding when to launch the product, get a handle on upcoming industry announcements and events that could steal the spotlight, such as big brand launches or major trade shows, as well as major current events (Election Day or a royal wedding, say).
Define what success means to you. Is it brand awareness, online sales or new retail partnerships? You need to set realistic goals.
2. Create collateral materials.
You’ll need a wealth of marketing assets to provide information to potential customers, whether they are driven by visuals or data.
Your internal team should be familiar with the final key messaging, pertinent for the creation of press releases, fact sheets, technical-specifications documents, reviewers’ guides, blog content announcing the product, video assets, digital advertising creative work, high-resolution product imagery and a dedicated landing page for the company's website.
If you start your campaign with a full arsenal of content, you’ll have a more cohesive public message and save critical time on launch day.
3. Locate advocates.
Supply media targets with advanced product samples, interviews or pre-launch web demos to ellicit expert feedback and line up reviews. You can also call on YouTube reviewers and current customers to help tell your story.
A quote from a beta tester who has had a positive product experience can strengthen a press release and offer context to media interviews about the product. Identify online influencers on social media with strong followings of target customers and also provide them this early access to information and samples.
4. Spread the word.
When you’re ready to share the news to your target demographic, organize all your pre-announcement activity. Coordinate the mentions from pre-briefed media contacts and influencers as well as relevant marketing pieces (the blog posts, product video posted on YouTube, new landing page) to coincide with the press-release announcement about the new product’s availability.
Enlist your PR team or agency to do personalized outreach to media targets on the week of the announcement and secure third-party endorsements.
5. Reach fans.
Don’t neglect the people who supported your company's brand before the new product launch. Issue a tailored email to your subscriber list announcing the new product offering and pointing to the overview video.
Consider executing a giveaway on your company's Facebook page to increase social engagement and buzz. Or put a few digital ad dollars behind your product's video to give it further reach.
Use complementary brand imagery across all channels to ensure brand consistency and draw in customers.
6. Follow up.
Don’t let your killer launch die after the initial announcement. Make contact with media targets who have shown interest, offering interviews with executives and product managers. Do tech troubleshooting for those having a problem with the product.
Arrange for contributed content that focuses on the industry as opposed to the product. Continuously engage with social influencers via one-on-one communication. Deliver consistent communication to current customers via email and social media.
7. Engage partners.
If your new product is available through online or in-store retail partners, tag retail outlets in social-media posts and run Facebook ads aimed at fans of those retailers. Your fans will know where to buy the product and the company's partners will appreciate the marketing push.
8. Tune in to customer needs.
As customers begin to receive and use your product, provide timely and accurate customer service via social media. Be sure your community manager has a working knowledge of the product or has someone available to help answer product questions. Especially with just-launched products, lackluster customer service can hinder full adoption.
9. Measure success.
Determine how the launch stacked up against the goals set at the beginning. Google Analytics can help provide insight into what marketing tactics worked, based on traffic, referrals and sessions. Your agency partners should be part of that discussion.
10. Humble brag.
Promote media coverage through as many channels as possible, including via social media with paid media support. Create PDFs or printed clip books with major media coverage to share with retailers and partners. Build a press page on your website to showcase coverage.
Below, see a related infographic created by my company, BLASTmedia.