Launch It Like It’s Hot: Product Launch Planning

by Cassandra Moffitt on

You’ve created a product, perfected your packaging, and now you’re ready to introduce it to the world! But… how do you do that? Launching a new product is an important moment for your business, and could generate a lot of buzz if you handle your marketing correctly!

Plan

The first step to a product launch is to formulate a plan. This part of the process is incredibly similar to how to plan a business launch, which we cover in depth in our article, “If You Build It, Will They Come? How to Plan a Business Launch.” You will start with the same round of questions: Who are your demographics? What is your message? What channels should you communicate through? And how will you translate interest in your launch into clients and sales?

If your an established business you should already have a good idea of who your current demographic is, but your new product may be aligned to a different one. Consider the gender, age range, income level, communication preferences, and any other information about the person who would be inclined to purchase your new product. How would your potential buyers like to hear about your new product? Should you hold an event or mail a postcard? Should you follow up with an email campaign? Would a local publication or influencer be interested? What can you post to social media? How should you update your website? Practice seeing your product through the eyes of your demographic, which will help you determine how best to bring your product into the world.

Focus on Why, Not What

Every industry is different, but most people purchase a product because it fulfills a need. Someone who buys a new dishwasher usually isn’t doing it because they want a second one hanging around the house. Maybe their current dishwasher broke, or they’re buying one to install in a new home. When you’re determining the messaging for your product launch, focus on the potential customer and their need, versus purely talking about the product itself.

For example, if you’re introducing a new line of genuine leather purses into your clothing line, you might be tempted to tout the high-quality origins of the leather or the number of zippered pockets. Instead, try focusing on how the leather, unlike the customer’s previous purses, will not crack or fade, or that the zippered pockets help keep their change, lipstick or other loose items safe and secure. A customer is more likely to understand your message if you show them how it applies to their life, versus forcing them to make that association on their own.

Opinion Leaders

Another way to help your launch be as successful as possible is to involve opinion leaders in the process early and often. Opinion leaders are the people in your life, your community, your internal team, or your previous customers that potential customers look up to, admire or trust. Have you ever been to a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new local business? Chances are you’ve seen your Mayor or even Governor at the event. Why? Because they are opinion leaders of the community, and their presence and involvement give an air of legitimacy and credibility. If it’s good enough for the Mayor, it’s good enough for me!

The most important opinion leaders you’ll find are your own internal team. Make sure each of your employees understands the new product, supports it, would feel comfortable discussing it with potential customers, and is excited about bringing it into the market. Next, look for social media opinion leaders that focus on your industry. You might be able to send them a free product for review, and their approval could get you in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of new potential customers you previously were unable to reach! Are there other community businesses or related industries that could support your product? For example, it’s not uncommon to see a massage therapist carrying soaps or lotions for another local artisan.

The more leaders you can involve in your product its launch, the larger the reach your launch will have.

Draw Out the Suspense

A new product launch is a wonderful way to generate new content and keep people interested for a longer period of time. Consumer attention span is notoriously short (even shorter thanks to social media) so use your launch as an opportunity to bring people along for a ride. You might begin by hinting that something new is in the works, or sharing a zoomed in photo of a small detail (but make sure not to give it away). You could post about manufacturing updates or color swatch selections. You might tease about the flavor, scent, or ingredients. Build up the suspense until the big day!

Don’t Lose Momentum

Success! You’ve launched your product. But the work doesn’t end there. Make sure you have a plan in place for how you will convert the momentum created by your product launch into long-term sales. Were you collecting email addresses from people who want to be notified about your next product launch? What do you plan to do with those? Were you able to get a bunch of people to like your page on Facebook? Make sure you have follow up posts scheduled to reach out to them regularly. Did you capture photos or videos of the event? Consider how you can use those to promote your product weeks or even months later!

If you know you’ll be bringing a new product to the market in the future, and would like help in planning and executing a launch strategy to make the most of it, get in touch with us!