With the ushering in of a New Year comes a plethora of bright and shiny new product releases. These roll-outs are critical to the bottom line of a brand, and can set the tone for the year ahead.
It’s widely known that a large percentage of all new product releases do not meet revenue goals, delivering a failed launch attempt. Even a great product, if not properly executed or supported, can flounder. For launches to even have a winning chance, the marketing, strategy and creative teams must work from the same playbook, following a kind of product launch lifecycle. A large part of this successful launch model hinges on this cycle of strategic planning, timing and preparation.
Launching a product or service can be seen as the final stage in the development process – a significant investment leading to future revenue for a company. While many see a launch as a single point (perhaps an event) it must be viewed as a process that is made up of many complex parts.
From doing the backend research on where to exhibit to a targeted customer to knowing exactly when to time the launch for optimal buying seasons, it’s critical to be prepared for any circumstance. Perhaps the most important aspect is being fully equipped to handle the actual flow of orders that are anticipated from the launch. Whether ordering boxes to ship, or having a customer service team on hand to field inquiries to a server that can handle online traffic – keeping ahead of the curve will turn written open into filled orders.
Email campaigns, social media reach, giveaways, press releases. Get consumers and media outlets excited (and talking) about the launch even before it happens. Pre-launch buzz is an important way to gain a seal of approval on the upcoming product and convince customers to purchase even before they have the opportunity. Broadcast consistent and on-brand messaging with the roadmap of a media campaign across multiple channels via both traditional and new media.
Nothing is more powerful to a launch than solid marketing material. Whether handing out flyers at a trade show, providing reps technical specifications, producing a video or mailing a catalog – this is the takeaway information that will ultimately sell the product for you. The more consistent the collateral is, the clearer your message will be.
Take advantage of the advocacy of existing loyal customers, retail partners and industry piers by collaborating on mutually advantageous initiatives. Hold in-store events targeted to the end consumer with a promotional incentive. Contribute to a relevant industry blog and offer a giveaway. Engaging on platforms your fans frequent and admire will connect the dots and instill a more personal approach.
Build on the momentum gathered during the peak of launch time. Follow up on all leads that seem viable. Connect with media and editorial outlets doing recaps and reviews of the market and events surrounding. Reach out to customers who have taken the leap and purchased – checking in to see what their experience has been like. Respond and engage with social media inquiries and mentions.
From catalog development to travel – a launch can be a hurried time. It’s often difficult to see the true return with the flurry of activity surrounding. Take the time to analyze the time and resources spent to produce and deliver the product or service to the market. Review actual sales and projections against the often hidden costs.