How To Successfully Plan Your New Product Launch
A new product launch is one of a marketers biggest moments. The risk is real, and the burden is heavy. Regardless of the support and input of your team, the gamble can be discomforting at times.
Particularly if you are a startup or an early growth business, you may not have the support of research and development, engineers, marketing experts, designers, and more to help you. Hence, a large part of the strategic leadership falls on your shoulders that you might benefit from understanding these five things you need to do before a new product launch.
Run it by your customers
Often times customers are left out of the marketing strategy or considered too late in the process. In Harvard Business Review, Joan Schneider and Julie Hall remarked, “Companies are so focused on designing and manufacturing new products that they postpone the hard work of getting ready to market them until too late in the game.”
There is a wealth of indispensable information found in customer opinion, tastes, preferences, shopping habits, and so on. Much of this information can come from conducting market research for product insights. Based on what stage your product may be, whether it’s a new or modified product launch, you’ll want to make sure the research is capturing a variety of information. Some examples you should be capturing:
- Net Promoter Score
- Relevant consumer preferences and habits
- Product likes or dislikes
- Repurchase probability rates
- Consumer pain points related to the product
These are just a few examples of the type of feedback you could look to gain about your product throughout its development. More importantly, don’t wait until you have a fully developed product and inventory before you decide to run it by your customers. Depending on the product, incorporating a timeline with stage gates for testing the product, whether it’s at idea, prototype to final market product, is a great way to ensure market validation.
Incorporate multiple pieces of information
Relying solely only on product insights isn’t ideal as you start to generate a market strategy since there are components outside of the product that will influence purchase behaviors, such as; messaging, promotions, demographic or psychographic influences and brand perceptions.
It is most beneficial to incorporate other relevant information in order to create the big picture and present a unique product proposition to the right audience.Hopefully, you already have additional insights into what the market wants and what reception or resistance products are currently meeting from other research avenues. Ideally, piecing together everything should help you identify:
- How similar products are doing among specific sets of consumers, select retailers and locations, preferred pricing, and the like.
- The breadth and depth of the target market as a population, price, and regional grouping.
- The real need for something new or for something modified. The “new” product may just be a matter of resizing, refinishing, or repricing — if the market says so.
Combining multiple aspects of market research or other data allows you to listen to what is happening in, around, and under critical targets and products.
Get internal buy-in
At some point in your pre-launch strategy, you must confirm that all voices and influencers are on board. As William Arruda wrote in Forbes, “The best leaders realize that, despite conventional wisdom, strong brands aren’t built by the marketing department alone; every employee in every department has a role to play.”
The best ways to get internal stakeholders to approve of or join in the development of the new product launch strategy is through the following:
- Don’t wait until the last second to get input from various functions throughout the business, even if it’s just some quick feedback, it can help others in the company feel important and engaged with the product.
- Communicate and share the relevant insights through an engaging story that non-market research minded people will get excited about.
- Be prepared for the “devil’s-advocate” by having an answer to any doubts that may arise.
- Celebrate with a pre-launch or product launch event. This will boost not only the likelihood that stakeholders buy in, but also boosts company morale and is a fun way to celebrate all your hard work.
Develop a launch plan
A product launch takes more than one day. Take Apple’s new product announcements. They’re highly anticipated, but we know it takes more than one team an entire year to prepare for that event. No matter what type of product, industry or consumer you may have, incorporate these elements into your plan:
- Good timing. Some products traditionally launch in certain seasons, based on holiday’s or on external factors like the economy, politics, etc. It’s important to have just the right setting to execute the launch strategy. Even the most successful strategy could have detrimental effects if it is launched at the wrong time.
- Focus. Put more effort into a product launch in the respective target markets that the insights proved held a higher value. Good insights will provide you with valid reasons to target a specific audience that has interest in your product and have indicated a willingness to buy. Targeting them with a greater share of your promotional efforts likely means you’ll have a greater rate of return on them.
- Accessibility. This means your product is easily sourced by consumers as well as consumers being able to reach you with any follow-up questions or feedback. In some cases, it could just mean having a website landing page or a follow-up email in order to keep the lines of communication open.
- Track Post-launch Results. Product development and product launches follow an expensive but necessary strategy. The effort expended and the assets created deserve some measurable ROI on the product launch.
As a result, market research is not over after the launch. Additional insights will be able to score exactly how well the product’s value proposition was received and where the efficiencies or inefficiencies lie. This information will prove highly instrumental in future product launches as the cycle begins all over again.
All you need to know before a new product launch
Big organizations invest millions in market research for a new product launch because they understand that insights give them the information needed to develop a successful new product launch strategy. Small and midsize businesses may not have the millions to invest, but if they find a means to incorporate these five steps, they’re sure to have a leg up on their competition.
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Originally published at www.tryberesearch.com.
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