Launching a New Product Requires Planning
Well before a product is launched it is imperative to ensure that the planning stages of the product launch are complete. Much attention must be paid to the product or service and how it fulfills the company’s vision and aligns with the needs of the target market. Launching a new product can be encapsulated in the “3 C’s” – Create, Consumer, and Coverage.
The Create Phase – Innovation Is Key!
Though is may seem obvious, it is crucial to design a product that no one has ever made before. You must ask yourself – is there a need for this product and is it relevant in today’s world? Innovation is the key to a successful product launch and will enhance the acceptance factor of the target audience. For example, Apple’s iPad is similar in purpose to other tablets on the market, yet the interface and available features of the Apple product are completely innovative when compared to the competition.
The Consumer Must Be Considered When Preparing for Launch
The creation stage of the product development cycle is complete and your company is preparing to launch their innovative new product. At this stage, the consumer must be involved. Here are a few of the key consumer considerations to be made when preparing for launch:
- Develop the message – this is the “who, what, why, and how” components of the overall product launch. Ask yourself - Who is the consumer? What are the targeted age groups? What are the demographics, geographic locations, and socio-economic statuses of these key consumers?
A company must decide on what message their audience can relate to. Does the targeted audience prefer a specific communication style, or do they frequently utilize specific forms of media that should be areas of focus as you prepare to launch? It is also important to consider what your consumer wants and why they need your product. When the iPad first launched, many questioned its relevance its market that was saturated with smart phones and laptop computers. The iPad quickly proved to be a lifestyle device and has been an unstoppable driver of business for the Apple Company since launch.
It is vital to determine how your company will reach its targeted audience. Many consumers today are more comfortable with a social media-style interface than they are with traditional marketing. Social media is generally less expensive than other communication styles - and the customer acquisition cost for a new product is a major area of concern for all businesses.
Lastly, the retail or distributor support infrastructure must be in place prior to product launch in order to provide acceptable service levels post-launch. This ensures a satisfied customer who becomes an advocate for the product or service long after the initial buy.
The Last “C” is Coverage
Public relations professionals know that an effective product launch must involve influential members of the media. A few tactics to ensure a successful media partnership involve reaching out to marquee media in advance to provide an early look at the product or service, distributing a mass release to a list of media targets, and sending out media samples prior to launch to begin creating buzz.
The “3 Cs” of a Product Launch are Crucial
Amazing and innovative products have languished on store shelves due to ineffective product launches. Conversely, products with only moderate appeal have outperformed superior ones due to highly effective launch strategies. The idea is sound - design a truly unique and usable product, involve the consumer during each step, and ensure media coverage before, during, and after the launch.