By Michele Carroll, Founder & President, Carrollco Marketing Services
The days of launching a product by creating a media kit, calling people together and making an announcement, are long done. We’re a decade beyond “Ready, Fire, Aim!” launches. Feedback is instantaneous and change is constant. Companies must recognize the extensive groundwork necessary BEFORE that ‘official announcement’ and manage an integrated promotion leading up to ‘Go Live.’
Here are 7 Steps to frame the process in the ‘new normal.’
1. Understand Pain, Benefit: Define Value Proposition
First, seek fresh understanding of your market’s pain points or compelling need – from the target audience point of view. Interview (or have an objective third party interview) prospects, customers, partners and experts to make sure you understand their fears, hopes, needs and wants – and the differences among the player types, relative importance levels among those.
2. Identify Turbo Boosts, Power Bloggers, Experts in Space
Who are the Top 5 thought leaders, credible experts, analysts, luminaries in your target market? Take the time to identify and prioritize the Top 5 digital/print media outlets, leading blogspots, forums, web venues for information exchange in this space. Structure your initial research to ensure that this information is a key outcome (who they are and sources of info, respected vehicles). You should supplement what your market tells you with insights and connections your own team brings to the table. Prioritize the subset you can manage well. Effectively reaching the two most important luminaries is much better than almost connecting with ten.
3. Establish Your Own Credibility – in the Space
Across a ‘pre-launch,’ timeline, you should be establishing your company or perhaps individuals within the company as highly credible authorities in relevant subject matter. Consider hosting, participating or contributing in an ongoing webinar series, authoring white papers, articles or blogs on topics relevant to the problem or opportunity your solution or product addresses, themes that you learned in your research will resonate with your target audience and illustrate your understanding of the pain point, market need, solution or product opportunity; This does NOT mean stuffing LinkedIn Groups and information exchanges with self serving promotion; to be credible you must share real insights, demonstrate understanding. Add value. “Give to Get.”
4. Craft Your Message in terms that Resonate – “We Fix That”.
Remember Sam in the movie ‘Holes?’ Anytime the person he cared most about identified a problem or need, he’d say ‘I can fix that.’ That should be your message. Clarify that your product solves the problem, creates a benefit. Your research should identify your audience’s preferred information sources, so be there at the right time (secure editorial calendars, identify the right reporters, editors, bloggers) with that perfect message. Make it easy to find in the manner they prefer (datasheet, PDF, website landing page, short video in an email, postcard linked to email campaign, personal demo). Do your partners require separate handling and treatment? Address different sources, information vehicle preferences.
5. Build Leverage
Your message is strong, in the right places and illustrating a clear solution to a compelling need in a form your audience prefers. Supplement your own messaging with a steady stream of credible partner endorsements, customer testimonials and praise from experts in the field your target market identified as most respected and credible. Press releases, announcements, endorsements can be supplemented with case studies with proof points. Show that the solution works in the opinion of people your market respects. Quotes from experts and testimonials from respected and satisfied customers are much more powerful than what you say about yourself.
6. Create Buzz, Build Momentum
Managing milestones along the pre-launch timeline, ensure that these pre-launch workstreams combine to create consistent messaging presence in the right media and among key influencers. It’s project management pure and simple: managing along the timeline to build to your official announcement and either host a ‘product release’ event, which today can be physical or virtual. Prior to the event, most powerful messaging is comprised of a blend to ensure reach to the right eyes, ears and minds: from tweets, blog posts, networking group posts, media release to coordinated email campaigns, intra-conference event posts and post event follow-on.
7. Capture Metrics
And finally, measure how you did, against goals and objectives established at the outset: number of clicks, downloads, trials, requests for appointment, demos. Measure, tune and repeat!
Launching a product follows the same framework as building a brand. Ideally the process is ongoing, integrated and continuously improving. Good luck! Feedback welcome – hope you find this helpful.
About Carrollco Marketing Services
Carrollco Marketing Services helps companies launch, gain traction and grow revenue in the Americas and around the world. From crafting your initial ‘pitch’ to opening the right doors via outreach and integrated campaigns, Carrollco becomes your marketing team!
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, with locations throughout the US (SF Bay Area, Boston, Chicago and Jacksonville), our team has decades of experience, connections, marketing and communication skills as well as domain expertise in the sectors driving global business: Mobility, High Tech, Software & Services, Gaming / Entertainment and Cleantech/ Sustainability. Click for client testimonials!