Tips for launching a new product or service
- June 25, 2014
- by:Serhat Pala
No matter how good your product or service, it won’t sell itself. Everything needs a push behind it so, at the very least, people know it exists. It might sell itself eventually, but every product launch needs a comprehensive marketing campaign to start.
If you are a small company ready to launch the product or service that will skyrocket you to the top of the market heap in your industry, read this so you can make sure that your launch does go that way.
1- Focus your message around benefits, not features: Most of the analytical, scientific and even creative minds that come up with a new product love what makes that product unique. Those unique features are usually easier to define with technical data than the product’s true benefits. For example, a new diagnostic test might give you results with 99.99% accuracy. But what it really provides people with isn’t an accurate result, it provides people with peace of mind. A new gadget for your kitchen may have super sharp titanium blades on it, but that’s not what it provides people. It helps them cook faster because it dices their potatoes with one simple motion.
So, sit down and come up with the list of benefits your product provides, and then choose the main one. The rest can also be promoted but the message should be around that one major benefit.
2-Identify Your Market Entry Strategy – Smartly: Unless you have unlimited resources and a lot of time, you have to make choices when you plan your market entry with this product.
- Who are you going to convince to get your product into the market?
- Do you have to go to the end user directly and make them buy your products directly?
- Do you have to find distributors that will get your product in front of the right people?
- What market segments are you going to target first?
- What kind of distributors will you need to find first? What do you need to do to get it in front of those people?
- How are you going to convince those distributors to carry your product?
- If you are trying to go directly to consumers to sell your products, are you sure you want to do that? Often, selling directly to the end user requires you to build value and infrastructure as a retailer (and that requires a different platform then being a product company. Why do you think most big brands don’t sell direct to the consumer?)
Once you procure the honest answers to these questions, you will decide on your true market entry strategy ….
3-If You are small, using guerrilla tactics is OK: If you are a small company, you can afford to make mistakes. After all, compared to the large guys, you’ve got to have some advantages of your own. Your speed, agility and resourcefulness are important advantages.
Contacting potential distributors and posing as prospective customers, asking questions, understanding what pushes their buttons and what exactly they need are perfectly OK.
Researching your competitors, seeing what distributors they work with, what trade shows they go to (and going to those ones as attendees) is also perfectly OK. In fact, it’s better than OK, it is encouraged. Before you start going out and spending money with fancy business cards, trade show stands and brochures, understand the market, its dynamics and all the players involved. You want to be under the radar as long as possible before you decide on your plan of attack.
4-Use internet marketing & social media to your advantage: Just like social media, blogs made everyone a publisher, taking away the advantage of big brands that controlled the media with their big money. The internet and all its tools gave the small, upcoming brands an opening to get their names out there using fewer resources. All you need is one or two really creative campaign ideas to reach a critical mass for market exposure. But you have to be smart, and you have to be creative. Research what other small up and coming products became successful in a similar industry. What they did do that you can learn from? Find this, find a way to improve on it, then do it.
5- Be ready to deliver: An unfortunate mistake many small companies make is that they do everything it takes to be successful but they are not ready to deliver the products or service if they do become successful because they don’t have the infrastructure or the scale-ability. If you are not ready to sell 10,000 products, then don’t work to get the distribution partners or the exposure that can bring you that sale. Instead, focus on growing organically in small increments. Remember that limited supply can work to your advantage.
Launching a successful product or service takes just as much time and effort pre-launch as it does post-launch. Do your homework, have everything lined up and it’s no guarantee that your launch will be a success, but it will give it a much better chance of being successful.
[Photo credit: Steven Depolo on Flickr]