How to launch a new product
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 exciting, but it's not straightforward. If you want people to buy, endorse and buy more, then you need to launch your product properly.
Here are a few tips to help you with your new product launch.
Your brand message is an essential part of the launch. If your company is new, the brand ideals need to be in place so that the product messaging is in line with it. Does the brand require a supporting brand strapline to be understood in the market place? Does the brand name need to be trademarked?
There are a number of considerations surrounding the product, not least the operational capacity to scale up. The name of the product is very important too - it could be pivotal to success or failure. Here are some other considerations:
Supply chain – Are agreements in place and do you have a backup plan?
Proposition – Is this clearly understood by all stakeholders? How does this compare with competitor profiles? What are the benefits and USP's?
Trials – Have trials taken place and has the feedback been analysed and acted upon? Does the product require modifications or does the proposition need amending in line with feedback?
Packaging – How will the product be packaged and delivered? Is the packaging clearly labelled and branded? Is documentation to be included e.g. a user guide or warranty?
Support – What support is in place for customers? Is there a product guarantee? Is product support available? Does the product require maintenance or aftercare?
Having researched your market place and established a need for your product, you should now understand who your customers are; markets, locations, buyer profiles, buyer behaviours, and so on. This is essential as you will need to create your messaging for this specific audience.
This is another areas which needs research before going to market. The price to manufacture a prototype or small run will always be higher than mass production. So where do you want the price point to be in the long term and how will you reach the right margins and 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 e.g. 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 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.
When your product is ready for launch, marketing will catapult it into the market place. You need to plan and choose the right marketing channels to reach your audience. Identify your customers, where they are, how to reach them and through what channels.
Sales staff will need sales tools and product training, and a sales process should be in place.
Messaging – It's important to focus on the benefits and value of the product and not just the product. Whilst the technology or materials may, in your view, be 'world class', what matters is how and why your product solves a problem and how it benefits the customer. Agree the primary campaign messaging and communicate this through all channels.
Collateral and sales tools – You will need to produce some related literature or data sheets which can be in digital formats or printed. Your website is central to all incoming traffic from external communications, so the new product should be clearly visible throughout the site.
Launch – Agree a date for a soft launch to 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 – Write a communications strategy and set a budget, then evaluate at agreed stages and then 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:
PR – Issue a press release or have a press launch – maybe a press party or gathering. If possible use a specialist PR agency to reach the right people, so that your story gets wide coverage.
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 very much depends on your budget!
As you can see, there's 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.
TPMC have helped customers from across multiple industries to launch all kinds of products.
From branding to naming, planning to marketing communications, our product marketing experts can help you with every stage of your product launch.
For more information or, if would like help with launching a new product, please don't hesitate to contact us.