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- When preparing for a product launch, design a marketing plan to achieve the intended sales goals.
- This marketing plan will likely involve building product awareness and demand in the marketplace, taking your product’s buyer personas into consideration.
- Build product awareness with tactics such as press releases, advertising and online/social media announcements.
- Build customer demand with tactics such as email and referral campaigns.
Once you have established your goals for your product launch, you will know the particular outcomes you intend to achieve. Meeting these goals usually involves building product awareness and demand in the marketplace, which will lead to sales.
At the time that your organization sets the goals for the product launch, have your marketing team outline their marketing strategy, which will take your product’s buyer personas into consideration.
Building awareness before and during a product launch
Awareness is a precursor to demand. By building awareness, you improve the chances that your market will be interested in buying your product. The following tactics will help to strengthen your efforts:
Create press releases for the product launch
Many companies use press releases to announce new products or upgrades to their existing ones. Press releases are most effective when the content is newsworthy (like a major product release) and they include a customer endorsement.
Conduct beta programs to elicit product endorsements that you can use at the time of the launch. When distributing press releases through a newswire agency, news outlets will often republish them, spreading awareness of your new release.
Reach out to the press
Over time, your marketing team will build relationships with different journalists and press outlets. At the time of a product release, your team can reach out to the press to entice journalists to write about the new upgrade.
Update your website to announce new products
Announce every new product or feature release on your corporate website. If you blog, then write about the new functionality and why it benefits customers. Anyone who regularly views your website will soon learn of the new upgrade.
If your organization has a Twitter account, then tweet about the upcoming release, including links to the press release, any web content and other marketing efforts. Aim to have your Twitter followers retweet these announcements, which can help to create viral awareness of your new release.
Building relationships with third-party industry analysts and receiving endorsements can boost your marketing efforts. For example, Gartner Group and Forrester are well-known analysts that follow the technology space and evaluate and recommend solutions to their customers.
Advertising is another option for building awareness. This includes search-engine marketing (for example, buying Google AdWords) and other forms of advertising (for example, print, online).
Your marketing team can engage in the following types of activities to help generate demand for your product and create a sense of urgency for your prospects to buy.
Create email campaigns
Email campaigns designed for existing prospects can help encourage their purchase decision. Follow-up these campaigns with a phone call to maximize effectiveness.
Create referral campaigns
Use your existing customer base to generate additional leads through a referral campaign. Offer an incentive to your existing customers to refer a friend (for example, free maintenance for a year, or a gift). Because these new prospects will have had your product endorsed by a friend, the chance for you to close the sale is much higher.
Hold a contest to collect contact information for prospects for a particular release. Set up contests prudently; make sure that you attract legitimate sales prospects, and not just anyone who wants to win the prize.
Tradeshows enable you to connect with a targeted audience that wants to see solutions to their market problems. Use tradeshows with care, however. They can prove a costly and labour-intensive way to generate leads, and might not provide the buyer persona you seek.
Example: Product launch marketing plan
Company ABC has a new release of facial recognition functionality for its image manipulation software. The company wants to make a big splash. The goals of the release are to have 1,000 new prospects in the sales funnel. Company ABC has been conducting a beta program with 50 customers over the last three months, and customers love the new functionality.
The marketing team decides to do the following:
- To build awareness:
- Endorsements: They’ll secure five quotes from beta program customers.
- Press release: They’ll use the best quote to create a press release.
- Journalists: They’ll pitch a story to the photo management media, spotlighting how they’ve solved the problem of facial recognition for users, and include customer endorsements supporting the product.
- Advertising: They’ll buy the term “facial recognition” on Google Adwords.
- To build demand:
- Email campaign: They’ll create an email campaign for past trial users of the software to inform them about the upcoming release. They will reach about 10,000 people through the trial database.
- Referral campaign: They’ll inform 3,000 existing customers about the new upgrade to prepare them for the release. They’ll also ask those customers to refer a friend—if they do so, they’ll be entered into a draw for an iPad.
The marketing team estimates that they can generate 1,000 leads using these different tools to build product awareness and demand. By keeping careful metrics and tracking their activities and results, the team can assess for next time the effectiveness of every launch activity.
Summary: When preparing to launch a product, design a marketing plan to meet your organization’s intended sales goals—this will likely involve building product awareness and demand in the marketplace.
Daniels, D. (2010). Secrets of a Winning Product Launch. Pragmatic Marketing. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from http://www..pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/topics/07/6-secrets-of-a-winning-product-launch/?searchterm=launch%20planning
Daniels, D. (2010). Product Launch Readiness: Planning for Sales Velocity. Pragmatic Marketing. Retrieved October 1, 2010, from http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/topics/08/pro
Internet Marketing Insights. (2010). Product Launch Secrets: The Big Picture. Retrieved October 1, 2010, from http://www.gotoguyenterprises.com/blog/28/product-launch-secrets-the-big-picture/
Kitcho, C. (2010). Product Launch as a Key Business Process. Pragmatic Marketing. Retrieved October 1, 2010, from http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/topics/08/product-launch-as-a-key-business-process/?searchterm=launch%20planning
Perkel, A. (2010). A Better Reference Process Means Better Launches. Pragmatic Marketing. Retrieved October 1, 2010, from http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/magazine/3/5/0510ap