Did you know that between 2006 and 2010 over 100,000 new products were launched?* Holy smokes! Who says there are no original ideas anymore?
With all the new products being launched in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer space, you would think a new product launch formula would be a well-oiled machine. WRONG! While there are many flavors of a product or service launch, there are standard, must-haves each launch should include. It’s surprising how many components get missed.
9 Avoidable Mistakes That Can Derail Your Product Launch
I’ve seen it more than once. New product or service launches skip critical steps that directly impact the awareness and success of the debut. There are foundational elements every product and service launch should include, no matter what industry you inhabit. Let’s jump right in.
Mistake #1. No Written Plan
Ok, this one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not.
Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance!
You must have a written plan. You and the organization need to be on the same page about launch dates, pre-launch dates, distribution timeframes, communications schedules, manufacturing expectations, stock availability, retail delivery, and more. Write it down.
If it’s written down you can never forget it!
Mistake #2. Not Properly Communicating Internally
Ok, this one may seem like a no-brainer too, but it’s not. Everyone within the organization needs to know what’s happening, not just management.
- Human resources
- Customer service and the call center
- All employees
You never want an employee to receive a question about a new product and be blindsided by a customer. Create a sell sheet or slip sheet on the new product or service with outbound messaging so everyone in your organization is saying the same thing externally.
Mistake #3. No Influencer Buy-In
When launching a new product or service, be sure to demo the product, offer samples, or give exclusive first access to your group of influencers. By “influencers” I mean those whose testimonials and opinions of your new product will be valuable and used for marketing purposes.
For example, if you‘re launching a new book, offer the book, for free, to a selection of people and ask for their honest opinions—and don’t forget to ask for permission to broadcast their feedback.
Testimonials are one of the most valuable assets your business has in its arsenal!
Be sure to build time in your launch plan for product feedback.
Mistake #4. No Public Relations or Advertising Strategy
With the advent of social media, public relations and advertising may seem like a dinosaur marketing strategy. THEY’RE NOT!
Get your public relations team involved early or engage a PR firm. Think about how you can properly time bylined articles in trade or national publications. Issue a press release. Seek out media interviews for management or product developers.
Don’t forget to advertise! Anytime you launch a new product, you should consider paid advertisements, both online and offline. Your target audience is online; it’s your job to go where they are to promote your new product or service. Be creative. Engage marketing and sales for ideas.
Mistake #5. No Content Marketing Strategy
We’ve all heard that content is king—but what does this mean exactly?
This means that you need to have information about your product or service in various forms to distribute, with the goal to generate buzz, increase awareness, engage your target audience, and inspire sales.
Think about how you can create the following types of content to engage your prospects and foster new business:
- Case studies
- Social media contests
- Taste tests
- Event photos
- Product photos
- The list can go on!
Again, build in plenty of time in your planning schedule for the creation of your content.
Check out my article to see what NOT to do when it comes to your content marketing strategy.
Mistake #6. No “Coming Soon” Campaign
This gets skipped most often!
If you’re launching a product, build anticipation. Launch a “coming soon” campaign on social media or your website with a countdown feature. Offer an opt-in list for those who want to be the first to know when the new product or service is available.
Mistake #7. No Release “Party”
All of those book signing and music release parties have a purpose.
Host an event where prospects can ask questions or try the product. The aim here is the create buzz.
This gives you a HUGE opportunity to generate more content for your new product or service. Interview attendees, hire a photographer to photograph guests, and post all of those assets to social media and your website long after the release party.
You can also host a Twitter chat.
Mistake #8. No Messaging Strategy
You need to be able to answer these questions:
- What’s the biggest problem your product or service solves?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the features?
- What should sales and marketing be saying about the new offering?
- Are there things they shouldn’t say?
- Should the competition be mentioned?
Get the messaging down solid and distributed to all employees.
— Angela Murphy✏ (@justpositionit) October 11, 2016
Mistake #9. Forgetting about Ongoing Promotion
Don’t lose momentum after the launch. New products and services can be considered new up to a year after debut.
Oftentimes, once a product is launched, employees and even management get bored since it’s taken months of planning to finally launch the product. They will likely be focusing on the next big idea or deliverable.
Don’t let this happen. Stay focused on the new product and continue to promote it; advertise and seek out media outlets to tell your story—long after product debut.
The Bottom Line
Remember, between 2006 and 2010, 100,000 new products were launched! This is a testament to the fact that new product development is a staple in business.
It should be one of your main goals to consistently present new and fresh products and services to the marketplace.
Product launches can be a game changer for a business. So reread these 9 Avoidable Mistakes That Can Derail Your Product Launch.
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