Planning and executing a product launch is not easy, but it becomes much more achievable when you break the necessary activities into steps. Here are some necessities for introducing a product to the market.
Identify and Interview the Target Market
Start by determining who you believe will purchase your product. It is OK and expected if there is more than one group.
Perhaps your new product is a dog harness with a thoughtful design that keeps it secure when worn but makes it especially easy to put on or take off. In that case, your primary target market will probably be pet owners. However, people who work at animal shelters or veterinary offices would likely be interested in the product, too. Finally, do not overlook those who do not own pets but have loved ones that do. Such consumers would appreciate having the product as a great gift idea.
Once you identify the probable buyers, learn more about them through purposeful conversations. These can occur online or in person, and it is OK if many are quite informal. That might mean you chat with a dog-owning friend over coffee, letting her know about your idea. From there, you could dive into how satisfied she feels about the dog-walking accessories she currently uses and ask for practical ideas of how she would improve them.
Track trends in your conversations on a spreadsheet or similar tool. They will help you find the most prevalent pain points and encourage you to consider how your product could solve them.
Analyze Competitors’ Activities
Next, focus on your competitors and what they do to achieve marketplace differentiation. You will use your gathered insights to start ironing out how to make your product and its marketing significantly different from what others have done.
That does not necessarily mean designing your product with a specific physical feature. Some products achieve competitive advantages by fostering community among those who buy them. Fitbit’s brand leaders understood this well, since many of the tens of millions of people who have those trackers use them to share workouts with the community. People who love specific automobiles or bands also form tight-knit groups, using the shared appreciation as common ground.
That said, it is best to look at all aspects of similar products and find the best ways to set yours apart. Examine competitors’ content, such as social media profiles, blogs and websites. That will help you better understand your potential unique selling points.
Consider using tools that monitor for particular brand mentions online. They will help you learn what customers are talking about, and what they like or dislike most about the products they already buy.
It is not always possible to set the item apart by creating something wholly new, especially in a saturated market. However, you can still get people excited about your product launch by emphasizing aspects such as quality, price or service.
Assemble Your Product Launch Team
Aim to have dedicated and skillful people around you while planning a product launch. You can then delegate specific tasks and keep your workload manageable. It is important to clarify what kind of assistance you need before and during the event.
Perhaps you want to get feedback from a test group before introducing the product to the masses. Hearing what the testers think about it will help you craft messaging to get others excited to try the product. In that case, you would want someone on your launch team who knows how to lead discussions and make people feel comfortable sharing their views.
Consider that approximately 70% of the world’s marketing events are fully or partially online. If anyone you know has managed virtual or hybrid events, they would be excellent additions to your team.
If there is an in-person element to your product launch, research your area’s caterers, decorators and others who will use their expertise to help attendees have memorable experiences. Get details about rates, availability and offerings, using that information to decide which specialists to hire.
Once you have chosen your team, get everyone on the same page with smooth and efficient communication. Consider using a dedicated tool, such as a project management interface. Then, each person will know which tasks they must do and when. That approach will also make it easier to spot anything you might have overlooked, helping you cover all your bases before the product launch.
Create and Carry Out a Marketing Plan for the Product Launch
A marketing plan identifies three main things — who you intend to buy your product, how you will connect with those people and what you will do to turn them into repeat customers. You should already have a solid answer to the first question due to the activities undertaken to identify your target audience.
Some of the information you know about them will help you understand the most effective ways to use your marketing resources. For example, if your target market is mostly people over 60, TikTok is not the best social media platform to prioritize.
Your most immediate need is to figure out the best ways to advertise the product launch. It is what lets people know what you are selling. Using a combination of online and physical messages like Facebook ads is almost always best.
However, a more personalized approach is to try direct marketing by sending flyers to people in your market. Mention things that will get them excited and make them take notice. If your product launch will have prizes, free food, a live band or face painting for the kids, call attention to those things on the flyer. People want to know what is in it for them if they provide you with an hour or two of their time.
No matter which marketing methods you choose, plan them to build anticipation gradually. Then, people are more likely to view your launch event as something they should attend.
Are You Ready to Introduce a Product?
Launching a product can feel overwhelming at first, especially if there is a lot of competition in the market or you are doing it for the first time. However, the process becomes much more manageable when you go through the steps above. They will help you feel empowered and ready for success.