Launching a new product or service is filled with potential for a business, but it also comes with a lot of pressure. After so much time, effort and money has been poured into the development of an exciting new offering, the stakes are high when it finally comes to launching it. For this reason, an effective marketing strategy for your product launch is vital to its overall success.
A well-planned product launch campaign features several stages, and the whole project – from development to implementation and continued management – can easily span a year or more. To shed some light on how to make the best use of this time, here are our five fundamental steps that make for an impactful and effective product launch campaign.
1. Product knowledge
Before all else, and truly integral to a successful product launch, is understanding the product itself. Doing so ensures both a relevant and effective strategy, and should include the following:
- In-depth understanding of the product – at a basic level: what it is and what problem it solves, and then more specifically: understanding its USP and differentiators.
- Defining the target audience and their needs – knowing what types of customers this product would be useful to, what job roles they will likely work in and what challenges they may face in their jobs that the product could help to tackle.
- Awareness of the wider market – what are competitors offering? What similar products are available? Which brands tend to be favoured by customers? Are there industry trends that could affect the need for the product?
By building the campaign around this foundation, you can make sure the product’s value is communicated clearly throughout.
2. Strategic campaign planning
The next step after taking a deep dive into the product and its place in the wider market is to develop an effective marketing campaign strategy through in-depth planning. This involves developing a tactical plan that will resonate with the target audience and meets the project requirements.
Understanding your timelines and budgets will support the creation of an achievable and successful tactical plan. In addition to setting a realistic budget, establishing project requirements and quantifiable goals for the campaign at this stage can help keep the project on track. With careful planning, even smaller budget product launch strategies can garner powerful results. With shorter timelines, for example, it can be beneficial to focus on launch and post-launch tactics rather than developing a teaser campaign, while prioritising activities that deliver the best ROI will get the most out of a limited budget.
When planning tactics, utilising appropriate approaches and channels is key to reaching your target audience and communicating with them in a meaningful way. Taking advantage of the latest marketing trends can make your campaign more effective. Digital marketing, for example, has rapidly become a central part of any marketing campaign. Keeping your tactics up-to-date with industry trends and pushing their boundaries can make your campaigns feel fresh, genuine and relevant to the customer. Tasks can then be mapped to a timeline that takes the project from planning phases through to delivery. This timeline should be continually reviewed and updated in line with any changes to the project.
3. Stand-out creative and messaging
In the life science industry, there is a lot of scope to do things differently and push the boundaries beyond industry standards to grab the audience’s attention. As a full-service marketing agency, developing effective messaging and creative concepts is a key part of what we do. These aspects provide a great opportunity to think about ways to make your product stand out, to attract attention and differentiate it from competing offerings.
In terms of messaging, by defining the way you talk about and present the product – even down to the name of the product itself – you create a clear, recognisable identity and cohesion throughout the campaign. The creation of a value proposition and key messages that will resonate with customers are a strong backbone to any messaging strategy.The visuals that accompany the campaign play a big role in how a customer notices and perceives the product. It is therefore important to develop a creative concept that conveys the product to the audience in an eye-catching way, whilst still tying it back to your brand. This can include developing bespoke visuals and taking inspiration from B2C marketing trends, which can then be applied in a B2B context.
4. Tactical plan delivery and management
Following the careful planning and creation of the product launch strategy and assets, implementing the final campaign still requires in-depth management. From generating excitement throughout the teaser campaign to an impactful official launch and maintaining interest in the product afterwards, executing each phase of the tactical plan is vital.
- Pre-launch, the goal is to build up momentum through a teaser campaign featuring the creative and messaging, hinting at product features and details to generate anticipation and interest. Managing teaser activities across social media, search engine marketing (SEM), videos, email marketing and ads with third-party publications can build excitement.
- When it comes to the official launch date, full launch messaging and collateral can be released across all channels simultaneously. Coordinating an integrated campaign with a multi-channel approach – where messaging and visuals are tailored to each one but are cohesive – provides more touchpoints with the target audience, helping to increase impact and make them more likely to remember the product. How-to videos and other descriptive content can be used to great effect here, providing useful and relevant information to the audience.
- Post-launch, tactics should be designed to maintain a buzz around the new product and implementing strategies for retaining new customers. It’s important to ensure a consistent stream of assets are being promoted – for example, through social media, email campaigns and marketing automation plans. Scheduled content marketing is a great way to showcase a product whilst keeping valuable content flowing to customers throughout the year.
Keeping each of these phases on track is a key part of managing the tactical plan. With the tactics mapped to a timeline at the start, updates can be made in response to moved dates or changing needs throughout the project, helping to provide visibility of how each aspect will be affected.
5. Measuring success
Measuring success is an ongoing process that will allow campaign adjustments to get the best results. SMART goals – goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound – can be used to assess how the product launch campaign is performing. These goals will tend to focus on metrics such as leads, sales or new customers, although specific goals will vary for each campaign and channel. By regularly checking progress towards these in the weeks and months following the launch, you can identify any campaigns that aren’t performing as well as they could be and make changes to maintain impact. This can be easier for digital activities like SEM, pay-per-click (PPC) or paid social media, as they can be easily analysed in real time.
Analysing the impact of tactics such as word-of-mouth marketing can be more challenging, requiring an indirect approach like social media listening. Measuring success is an ongoing process within an effective product launch strategy. Once the campaign is complete, reflecting on what did or didn’t work well can provide valuable learning to take forward into future product launch campaigns.
Bringing it all together
With these five fundamentals in mind, it’s possible to create a marketing strategy that will unleash the full potential of your product. As audiences become increasingly aware of when they are being marketed to, there is an opportunity to develop clever and original tactics, such as informative content that also builds trust in the brand. There is a lot of potential to explore this in the life science industry in particular, and approaching campaigns creatively can set new standards for product launch marketing. This is something that we always strive for at Notch. From marketing campaign planning and implementation to full messaging and creative development, always backed by a deep understanding of your product and brand, we can provide flexible support to meet our clients’ needs.
Get in touch for support with your next product launch strategy here.