Originally published October 2013, last updated December 2021
Ok, you’ve worked hard to develop a good product, now it’s time to let your secret out. However, no matter how great your product is, it can’t speak for itself. So, here are 10 product launch strategies we’ve learned over the years of doing technology marketing and technology PR with companies such as Fujitsu Network Communications, Texas Instruments, Alpha Wireless, SOLiD, SML RFID, IoXT Alliance, Feig Electronics, ViaPhoton, Edgium and more. These launch strategies will ensure your product is super-charged from the beginning, a road-tested way to avoid the revenue debacle that a botched launch produces.
1) Clearly define your target market and target buyer
Most clients try to fit their product into several different markets and end up diluting their marketing effectiveness. We recommend establishing a targeted B2B or B2C marketing strategy. The centerpiece of this effort is doing a deep dive into your target buyer, which means conducting both internal and external research – mining data you already have as well as casting a wide net outside your firm to find out more.
2) Interview your target buyer
Find out how your audience gathers information to purchase your type of product. You may just wind up making a sale and saving yourself $$ on unfruitful marketing tactics.
External research can take a variety of forms. Consider doing first-person research such as surveys, phone interviews and focus groups. Online research also is just as important. The goal is to create a buyer persona that reveals how and why a prospect makes a buying decision. Importantly, discover how your audience gathers information to purchase your type of product.
3) Talk about your target customer’s benefits – not product features
Sure, you want to brag about your new product features. However, most companies fail to connect the dots on how the features translate to benefits for the buyer. Your marketing brochure needs to focus on the benefits for the customer versus product features. A solid product launch is always focused on the customer, not on you.
Also, consider how your product is unique.
- What sets your product apart from a similar brand or product?
- Why should consumers choose your product over the competition?
- What is it about your offering that will prompt people to prefer it over others? The features? The price? Availability?
- Identify your company’s unique advantages. How can you grab the attention of your audience so they trust that your product will fulfill what other companies can’t?
4) Go beyond the brochure
Create web-based content that explains your product in relation to the application and benefits for your target customer. Consider hiring a B2B high-tech writer who can clearly, professionally and engagingly describe the product’s benefits.
5) Explain how it works with video
This means you’ll have to go way beyond creating a simple brochure. It calls for creating web-based content that explains your product in detail about the benefits to your target customer. Go beyond simple text and pictures and consider videos. Brief explainer videos can demonstrate benefits loud and clear. It can be an effective product launch strategy to help your customers learn about your product. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a video speaks a million.
6) Add calls to action
Provide a path to learn more about your product at every point it touches prospects. Add links in email communications and put links on your website home page as well as product pages — all offering samples, demos, and free trials. Don’t expect the customer to simply click on the “contact us” button. It usually does not work. Instead, put a “call to action” on every page.
7) Press Release
This step also calls for a widely distributed press release. A product announcement that includes customer testimonials and real-life product benefits is likely to get more traction. If possible, send early samples to prospects in exchange for their quotable quotes. Especially in the technology sector, providing real value is the first step in getting good media attention and technology PR.
At this point, you’ll want to carefully consider what kinds of media your target audience consumes. Where do they go to do their research? A huge segment of the population now does preliminary research on the web to educate themselves about products they want to buy. Your job is to determine which sites are most visited by your particular target market and your buyer persona. Also, think about other places they consume information. Is it social media, news outlets, entertainment programming, sports venues? Allocate your product launch budget to maximize its impact.
8) Expect to cannibalize existing sales.
Don’t expect a new product to just generate new sales leads. Most people interested in your sales launch are likely already in your sales funnel, so use the product launch as a way to reconnect with old prospects and customers. Build anticipation by pre-marketing.
When a product introduction or launch is done right, it can attract new “fans” and persuade existing advocates (customers) to buy another branded product. Apple is a good example. It repeatedly elevates public consciousness about a new, improved product by appealing to existing customers. Remember that the success of a new product always will be linked to quality, an essential differentiator that can establish market dominance and reduce the chance of failure.
Don’t launch to everyone all at once. Instead, start by defining an initial target audience and marketing plan to expose your product to more users progressively over time. This provides the opportunity to tweak your messaging and add more value to your product. It tests your assumptions and validates answers to the important who, what and why of product positioning.
More about choosing the right target.
If you know that your target audience can probably be found within your existing user base, drill down deeper to get an even clearer view. They might be early adopters, people who you have identified as being interested and prone to discovering new ideas. They might be people who have had previous positive experiences with your company or existing brand evangelists who are more likely to spread your message by word of mouth.
Mine your customer intelligence and use audience segmentation to create subsets based on common needs, interests, and priorities. Laying this groundwork early will help you to create personalized communications that speak to individual leads further down the line. Whittle your audience down to identify your ideal customer, the prospects most likely to truly appreciate your offering and decide to buy.
At this point, concentrate on nurturing relationships with your best candidates. As you continue to develop your relationship, you can start to filter your list and gauge how interested people are. Behavioral triggers, such as click-throughs on emails and page visits provide vital data for lead scoring, which will allow you to continue and build prospect profiles that eventually capture leads.
9) Create a detailed product launch plan
Details and timing are critical to a successful product launch, so it’s essential to have a good marketing partner that can plan out and focus on marketing tasks when the project manager is still busy handling the product release.
Capture your learning by creating a detailed product launch plan.
When launching a new product or service, most businesses want to get as many sales as possible in as short a time as possible. However, taking the time to focus on what else you want to achieve can help flesh out the launch strategy and provide measurable indicators of success. A few examples of launch goals include:
- Positioning: Establishing a clear perception of your brand among prospective buyers.
- Awareness: Increasing market awareness and creating a buzz around your brand.
- Differentiation: Setting your new product apart from previous incarnations or competitors’ versions.
- Use: Increasing the number of individuals or businesses using your product on a regular basis, incorporating it as part of their organization, or placing additional orders based on initial product satisfaction.
- Revenue: If you have an existing product look at its performance and glean as much data as possible. Also, decide what to establish as a reasonable website conversion rate and then figure out how much traffic you’d need to reach that goal.
A differentiated launch strategy relies on a solid understanding of the market, consumer, and competitive environment. Without that, companies often revert to just pushing out generic slogans and media messages that do little to convert customers. Basic demographic and online analysis are a good start, but the best companies go beyond that to uncover insights into the behaviors of (meaningfully) narrow segments of target customers.
10) New product documentation and training
Lots of product launches focus on the announcements but fail to completely release the product.
If you’ve done your best carefully planning, make sure to take inventory and ensure you have enough product to meet demand. The best way to do this is to establish a manageable supply chain. Work closely with your vendors and ask them what their maximum capacity is for how many units they can provide at one time. Then, collaborate on how to scale production in the event that your product launch yields more demand than supply.
New product documentation and training are also important. Too many product launches focus on the announcements but fail to completely release the product. Make sure your new product has a data sheet, user guide, manual, and training resources. In many cases, poor customer support will have as much impact on new revenue as poor sales support.
A few last words.
Follow these 10 tips for successful product launch strategies. To become a true champion of a successful product launch, those who do it right have in place a specific set of core capabilities: team collaboration, extensive market insights, rigorous planning processes, and a solid buyer persona. They have done their homework.
We have helped global companies launch products in the United States. If you need help with your product launch strategies, schedule a free Discovery Call with us.