A small business is a little bit like a house of cards. Every facet of your business represents a single card. Your employees, your customer service acumen, your operational procedures, your equipment, your training and of course… your good self. All of it is a matrix of interdependent aspects which combine to create a whole. Remove any one of those cards and the whole house comes tumbling down. Needless to say, no matter how strong and immutable the rest of your cards may be, your products are a card that can send even the strongest house tumbling. It doesn’t matter how well you deal with customers or how much you’ve spent on your fancy website, if your products aren’t on point, you can’t expect your brand to resonate with customers.
When developing a new product it’s understandable to feel pride in your accomplishment when your product is ready for market… But don’t let your pride lull you into a false sense of security. You may be delighted by your new creation but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your customers will be. A robust product launch can be a great show of confidence in your new product while also demonstrating how it can benefit them and solidify their faith in your brand.
Here are some tips for a product launch that will ensure that your new product is universally beloved and potentially lead to a new era of business growth…
Research, research, research
Want to hear a sad fact? Probably not, but you need to hear it anyway. Your customers, even your advocates, don’t care about your products. At least, not in and of themselves. They care about how your products can benefit them. They want to know how it will make them better able to overcome an obstacle, bring them new heights of convenience or enhance how they are seen in the eyes of their peers.
In order to stage a product launch that will go with a bang, it’s first essential to learn what your target market wants. Do they want comfort? Prestige? Convenience? Savings? Learning what matters most to your target audience will inform every aspect of how you package your product. Speaking of which…
The product packaging matters now more than ever. Customers want packaging that is robust, strong and sturdy without them needing to use a blowtorch to get to the product inside. They want packaging that is environmentally conscious and sustainably produced. And of course, you want packaging that will help the product shine and create positive associations with the product and your brand. If you’re looking for custom packaging, it’s a good idea to start browsing www.CLSmith.com. Many brands also find that the use of QR codes is a great boon in marketing your product. QR codes on your packaging can be a great way of creating brand loyalty and helping consumers get to know more about your product. A scan of the QR code can take buyers to a webpage that tells them more about the product, an opt-in form for lead capture, special offers and promotions or anywhere else online you want them to go.
Endorsement and association: Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love influencers
Whatever industry your business and brand operates within, it’s likely that someone out there is influencing the buying habits of your customers. There was a time when this was the domain of A-list celebrities and brands threw millions at gaining their endorsement. In the age of influencer marketing, however, brands have a more affordable yet still effective means of promoting their products to their core audience.
Social media influencers are particularly effective if you are trying to reach younger audiences but even if you’re going for an older or more professional market, it’s likely that there’s someone out there whose opinion they value who can endorse your product.
You may be forgiven for thinking that influencer marketing is the domain of huge multinational entities, but SMEs of all kinds can benefit from social media marketing. While some influencers will expect a hefty fee, many can be swayed with a free sample of your product while still introducing the benefits of your product and the virtues of your brand to thousands of people within their following.
Have a marketing campaign with an identity of its own
A great marketing campaign can give a great product the explosion in popularity that it deserves. Remember that classic iPod campaign of the early ‘00s? Those silhouetted figures dancing in front of multicolored backgrounds, iPods firmly in-hand? That was a timely campaign that not only created all the right associations with the product and the brand, it was a bold, artful and distinctive campaign with an identity of its own.
Even if your product is completely different in nature, it’s worth learning more about why that campaign worked.
PTP: Pricing, Timing, Platform
There are some products that became ubiquitous hits with consumers and yet there are great products which flopped just because they weren’t in the right place at the right time. For every iPod there’s a Sega Dreamcast.
The key to a successful product launch is mastering your PTP or Pricing, Timing and Platform…
Pricing- Your price point is important as it will determine the cost efficacy of your product. Price it too low and you will fail to make a meaningful profit especially if your units sold falls short of your most pessimistic projections. On the other hand, price it too high and while you may be able to build a prestigious association with the product, you may find that the high price tag alienates a segment of your target market. Generally, however, people are happy to pay more so long as they perceive value in the product. How else do you think Apple made so much money?
Timing- Timing is crucial. Getting to know what external factors influence spending behavior is a huge part of getting the timing right for a product launch. Is there a season, festivity or event which would provide the perfect backdrop to your launch?
Platform- How will you make your product available to your clientele? Will you sell it exclusively on your website? Will you sell through online or physical retail partners? Choosing the right platform will determine your ability to get your product in the hands of those who want it most.
Master all of the above and you have the ingredients for an unforgettable product launch. A launch that will imbue your product with the popularity it deserves while creating a bright future for your brand.