Launching a new product can be filled with stress and apprehension, after all you may have worked months, if not years on a new product and are hoping it can increase sales in your business.
Like most things in life, the majority of successful product launches require thorough and detailed planning, although every single thing cannot be pre-planned, the vast majority of barriers you may face can be.
If it’s taken a while for your new product to reach the launch stage, you’ll need to think about a wide array of different elements, firstly:
- Who is your target audience?
- Do they still need the product?
- Has the market changed?
- Is a competitor selling a similar product better?
Although their may not have been any competition when you started developing a new product, the market could have changed in the meantime.
Let’s take a detailed look at the product launch stages in more detail:
Planning Phase – This is your starting phase which will document exactly what it is you’re working on and what goals you want to achieve. You’ll also need to set key dates to achieve things by and of course set the all-important launch date itself.
From evaluating your goals, you can then decide how you want to market and sell your product. Are you thinking about a digital marketing campaign? Social media? Video advertising? Traditional marketing and so on? The planning phase will generally give a brief outline of what type of marketing you want to do in order to achieve your goals.
The planning phase will also document how you plan to spend a marketing budget, if you have one. In most cases having a budget is recommended for a successful product launch, however, there has been lots of items which have succeeded without a budget at all. This is obviously where your planning comes into play, if you can create a campaign which is rememberable and resonates with your audience, then you may not need a budget at all. Sometimes these product launches simply go viral on their own.
Early Hype – Depending on the nature of your company and the industry you operate within, some companies even go one-step further at this initial stage and begin plugging their new product a few times a month, to gain early metrics and gauge interest.
In some cases, this can be useful as they may notice a quick pattern emerging from their target audience, for example let’s say a company decides to post on Facebook, they could have a better engagement and response rate on this social network against others they use. This will give them information and data which can be valuable when they decide to run a full marketing campaign once the product is ready to be sold to their consumer base.
Pre-Launch Period – The pre-launch period is the time before the official launch date, it generally includes the planning phase and early hype phases. The pre-launch period is designed to generate buzz and excitement around your product. Remember to use a marketing planner and colander, so you can keep up-to-date on when and where you want to market, this allows you not to get distracted or confused.
Many companies use different forms of marketing channels to get their message out to their target audience, this can include both digital and traditional forms of marketing. Such as social media, online advertising, videos, newsletters, email marketing, poster campaigns, adverts in magazines and newspapers and so on. Of course, the type of medium you use, will obviously depend on the industry and sector you’re operating within.
Remember that this period can be ideal for call to action elements, such as “Be the first to know….” or “Don’t miss out on….” – experiment with your wording to pique the interest of your target audience in advance of the launch date.
Launch – After all your hard work the official launch date is here, this is where you’ll see if you’ve got your early marketing campaign has been successful or not.
Even though the launch date is here, that doesn’t mean your campaigning should be over, in fact for some companies it means your marketing is only just beginning – after all now is the time where your potential customers and target audience can purchase from you, before you were simply increasing awareness and generating buzz. Now you’re attempting to sell a product.
For maximum impact have a launch event which “wows” your audience, many companies are holding parties and in-store events, it’s also not unusual for product launches to occur at tradeshows either. A good marketing tip is to set up a live feed to your social media platforms as part of your launch event, this allows customers throughout the world see exactly what you have to offer.