How to launch a product correctly
Every day, entrepreneurs and businesses come up with new product ideas. Some products are brand new, others are adaptations or upgrades. Launching a product is not as straightforward as just ‘putting it out there’. If you want people to buy it, endorse it and come back for more, then you need to launch it properly.
Here are a few tips to help you with your new product launch.
The brand is an essential part of the launch. If your company is new, the brand ideals need to be in place so that the product is in line with it. Does the product require a supporting brand strapline and will it be understood in the marketplace? Is the logo designed and have you registered it as a trademark?
There are a number of considerations surrounding the product, not least the operational capacity to product single or multiple products. Here are some considerations:
Supply chain – are agreements in place and do you have a backup supply chain in place?
Proposition – is this clearly researched and understood by internal teams? Are your customers clearly profiled and has the product been added to your portfolio in a way that is understood by all parties?
Trials – Have trials taken place and has the feedback been analysed and acted upon as required. Does the product require modifications or does the proposition need amending in line with feedback?
Packaging – how will the product be packaging and delivered? Is the packaging clearly labelled and branded? Is documentation to be included i.e. a user guide or guarantee?
Support – what support is in place for customers? Can they return the item or how do they get it repaired if required? Does the product require maintenance and is this communicated?
This is another important area that we all face which is why it’s so important to do research before going to market. The price to manufacture a prototype or small run will always be significantly higher so where do you want the price point to be in the long term and how to you reach the right margins over what period?
What are customers prepared to pay? How does it stack up against similar products? How do you justify the cost if it’s a new innovation i.e. where’s the value? Are there scaling prices and what is the price to a reseller or distributor if required?
Is there a promotional price and price period? Do current customers receive preferential pricing?
Pricing is always tricky – too high and you lose potential sales and credibility – too low and it can undermine the value and be difficult to increase.
There’s no getting away from it – marketing is key to getting a new product off the ground. You need to agree the marketing channels, the sales strategy and timings.
You need to clearly identify your customers, where they are, how to reach them and through what channels.
Sales staff will need sales tools and product training and there needs to be contingency for higher than expected sales.
Messaging – it is important to focus on the benefits and value of the product and NOT the product itself. Whilst the technology or materials may in your view be ‘world class’, what matters is how and why your product solves a problem and benefits the buyer. Agree the primary message and communicate this through all channels.
Collateral and sales tools – you will need to produce some related literature or datasheets which can be digital or printed. Your website is central to all incoming traffic from external communications and the new product should be clearly highlighted throughout the site.
Launch – agree a date for a soft launch. Let your customers know about the product first – they are your best route for feedback and initial sales. Following feedback set a date for a public launch and create a timetable for communications, ensuring that all resources are available and booked.
Channels – agree the communications strategy and which channels you will focus on. Set a budget and then evaluate at agreed stages and adjust accordingly. Ensure that messaging is consistent across all channels and with sales teams.
Initially you will want to reach as many people as cost effectively as possible. For example:
Magazines and journalists – issue a press release or have a press launch – either a press party or gathering (depending on who you are of course!) or use a specialist PR agency to reach the right people so that your story gets written and talked about.
Events or seminars – either organise your own customer event or user group, or book a speaker slot at a relevant event and exhibit and niche events.
Additional communications might include video, live demonstrations, email marketing (buy new data if required), social media, direct mail, posters and banners, advertising and affiliate partners – the list goes on and so it very much depends on budget!
As you can see, there is quite a lot to consider if you want to launch a product correctly. However, regardless of the size of your budget, the type of product or size of market, these principles will help to guide you and make your launch as successful as possible.
For more information or, if would like help with launching a new product, please don’t hesitate to contact us.