Guest post by Zoe Anderson: The launch of a new product is always an exciting time for any business – and one that can be filled with doubt and stress if not carried out the right way.
So you’ve studied your audience and found out what they really want or need. Now the only thing left to do is to get the product made and then out of the door. Easy, right?
Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. But there are five simple but critical steps you can follow to keep you on track as you go through the process of launching and marketing a new product.
1. Monitor your competitors
Sometimes it’s easier to get an objective view of our strengths and weaknesses when we look at our attributes alongside our competition. It’s always a good idea to know who your competitors are and what comparable products or services they offer.
As a first step, make a list of the competition and methodically examine how they are marketing their products. But don’t just replicate their marketing blindly. You want to adjust everything you do based on which market segment you are targeting. This exercise should give you a few clues on how to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
You’ll also be able to see if there are currently any gaps in the market that you can fill with your own go-to-market approach.
2. Focus closely on your ideal customer
This step can’t be stressed enough. All of your marketing needs to be designed to attract a specific customer that you have previously identified as your target. This is the person that you built your product or service for in the first place. Never lose focus and never forget that person in your marketing.
Many businesses fail at this point by simply trying to market to the ubiquitous “everyone,” rather than a specific someone. Marketing that is general in its appeal is typically so bland and forgettable that it fails to capture the interest of enough people.
3. Define your point of differentiation
When you were researching your competition, you probably came away with one or even several things that made you stand out against your competitors.
Maybe your product is of higher quality. Maybe your services are more comprehensive. Maybe your packaging or distribution is superior. Or your customer service is better.
Whatever it was that made you different, focus on it. And if you didn’t find anything? Now is the time to get to work. You need something that you can point to in your marketing that will make you memorable in your audience’s minds.
4. Decide which marketing channels you will focus on
When it comes to deciding where to market, you’ll find a lot of options: Be it online via pay-per-click ads on Google or Facebook, email and social media, or old school channels via television, radio, catalogs, trade shows, direct mail, and dealers, the range of choice is vast and can be overwhelming.
Without a very large marketing budget, you won’t be able to tackle them all. Neither would you want to. Remember that your ideal customer isn’t everywhere. Find out where your audience hangs out and concentrate on meeting them there.
5. Conduct tests
Before you sink your entire marketing budget into an approach that later proves ineffective, you should take some time to test the market. Begin with the product itself. Make sure that it’s where it needs to be in terms of quality, and that it will serve your customer’s needs. Is the packaging or interface attractive? Is there anything about it that might turn your customers off?
Next, take a look at your marketing message. Does it say what your audience wants to hear? Will it resonate with them? Will it stick in their minds? Focus groups are a good way to test your assumptions before you launch the product.
Don’t be afraid to revisit the testing phase if your product launch performance metrics start to slide at any point . People can become “deaf” to a marketing message over time – keep optimising your marketing even post-launch to ensure your product achieves its revenue and business objectives.
Zoe Anderson is a marketing assistant at StudySelect. She’s keen on learning about new branding strategies and digital marketing tools.