Lift-Off: 6 Steps To A Successful Product Launch

Product Launch Strategy“Failure to launch” isn’t just a terrible movie; it’s a problem that afflicts many new products. Every year, businesses mistakenly present new products to their customers without strategically determining the way they are going to be launched. A successful product launch is the result of reliable, skilled and informed marketing teams conducting thorough research and planning. Keeping these 6 points in mind gives you a way to develop that strategy.

The Product

Your product is after all the most important part of your launch. It has to fill a demand in the market. It must connect with and benefit enough potential customers to make it financially viable and successful. Businesses will often mistakenly offer new products to customers without proper research or planning, which can lead to disastrous results. Consumers demand products that work on multiple levels – functionality, price and quality. Your new item must address all of these needs and do so in a better way than what’s currently available. Ultimately, it should be a product that sells itself.

In addition to reacting to changes in customer tastes and competitors products, there are other reasons why your business needs to launch new products. Including:

  • New products have higher margins than older ones
    This is especially true if they are innovative, unique or with little to no competition. For example, the Apple iPhone was insanely popular even before it launched. Competition was hardly even a consideration.
  • New products can change customer’s perceptions about a company
    For decades Hyundai was barely even a consideration among those shopping for economy cars, let alone luxury buyers. But in 2008, when they released their Genesis sedan, everything changed. They offered luxury styling and amenities at a price point far below the competition, which led to the shift in consumers’ minds.
  • New products help you to stay ahead of the competition
  • The profits associated with new products help to add to your bottom line
  • If your product or service is seasonal in nature, expanding your product line helps you to offset sales fluctuations

 

The Competition

It’s critical that you’re familiar with the other businesses and products that you’ll be up against. You need to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and what opportunities and threats you face. This is called a SWOT analysis. It’s a way to breakdown the competition and see how your new product or service measures up.

SWOT stands for:

  1. Strengths
    Characteristics of your company that give you an advantage (For example, we own a hypothetical company that offers fast, efficient car washes.)
  2. Weaknesses
    Areas that place you at a disadvantage (We are unable to offer the lowest prices.)
  3. Opportunities
    External factors that offer a benefit (We have a strong business relationship with a local car dealership.)
  4. Threats
    External factors that may hinder our progress (A competitor is producing commercials that bad-mouth us.)

 

Your first step is to put together a list of other companies that have a product similar to the one you want to launch. You may think that your product idea is something new and unique and there is nothing in the market that can compare to it. However, put yourself in the mind of the customer; they’ll be comparing you to the competition, and you need to be prepared for that.

Evaluate how your product measures up to what’s already out there. Check how the competition markets itself. Review their websites, advertising, promotional materials, whatever they use to interact with the public. This will give you a good idea of how they portray themselves and the areas where you might need improvement. Your new product should be able to satisfy the needs of your customers and resonate with them better than your competition does.

Targeting Your Audience

It’s important to focus your attention on the group of people who are most likely to buy from you. This actually makes more sense financially. You’re not spending marketing dollars on individuals who are not interested in your product. Start with your current customers. This is an audience that is already familiar with your products and with buying them from you. Your product might be a new version of an existing one you already sell- that’s a built in market right there.

Customers who are already buying a similar product can also make up your audience. If your item expands on the idea of an existing product, but does so in a way that adds features or functions better, you’ll be targeting a market that has already formed a need for your type of product. This is much easier than having to create that need in the first place.

Your Unique Value Proposition

After you’ve determined whom it is that you’re targeting with your product, you need to establish exactly why people will want to buy from you and not the competition. What is it about your product that they should value the most? This is your unique value proposition (UVP).

Your UVP tells your audience what makes your product different and better than the competition. It’s a way of making your product compelling, to the point that even if it was unavailable, customers would wait for it and not even look at the competition. It turns it into a “must have” item.

Your Marketing Strategy

The more channels that you can use to sell your product, the more success you’ll have. Consumers get information from multiple sources, which means in order to guarantee the success of your product launch, you’re going to have to pursue them in different ways. Marketing for your launch can be broken down into a few key areas:

  • Advertising – Television, radio, newspaper, magazine and outdoor
  • Online Marketing – Websites, online advertising, social media, email marketing, online retail sites, blogger and social media influencer outreach
  • Promotional Literature – Business cards, brochures, flyers
  • Promotional Products
  • Direct Mail – Sales letters, self-mailers, statement stuffers, postcards, media mailers, CD mailers
  • Guerilla Marketing

Launch Your Product

No matter how you conduct your launch, you need to make 100% certain that your product is complete and ready to be purchased by the public. There is no turning back once people know about your item and if you’ve done your job correctly, people are going to want what it is you’re offering. This is why you’ll need to create a new product launch plan.

Think about holding a launch event so you can build up buzz. You’re looking to reach the exact audience that will turn into someone willing to pay for your product. Consider holding your event at a trade show, conference, networking group, or seminar. Whichever you choose, make sure that you use your public relations skills. Provide members of the media with a press packet and give them access to your product for review.

In order to capitalize on the momentum built by your launch event, your marketing campaigns need to begin their roll out as soon as possible. This includes all advertising and direct mail. You should also establish your web presence prior to the launch event. This gives customers somewhere to go to get information on your product immediately.





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Posted in Marketing, Product Launch Marketing

 


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