I've lost track of the number of product launches I've worked on in my career, and one thing I've learned is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for entering the market. Some products launch at the high end and move downward, some launch at the low end and move up. Some hit their niche immediately, while others need time to settle into their place.
To have a successful launch, it's vital to find the right fit between your company brand, your product, and your customers. Sometimes this intersection is obvious, but often it takes market research and strategic planning to find the best market space for your new product. Here are some tips I've learned along the way:
I recently came across an article on Entrepreneur.com titled "You Must Do Good For Your Brand to Do Well With Millennials". It caught my eye because for awhile now I've been aware of the increasing importance of social consciousness in product development and marketing efforts. Through my participation as one of the founders of the startup accelerator program SparkLabKC, I've met many young entrepreneurs who believe a "social good" is an essential ingredient to the success of a new product. They've shared many reasons, both personal and professional, for the importance of developing new products that connect with consumers who are looking for something bigger from their purchases, and I'm convinced.
At Eidson & Partners, we love Dr. Stephen Covey's admonition to "begin with the end in mind" when it comes to launching new brands or products. For new brands, that "end" is the ideal scenario at the time of launch to maximize the potential for success and build brand credibility.
Credibility is vital to a successful launch for a new company. If potential customers don't trust you or believe what you're saying, they aren't going to buy your product or service. It's that simple.
When you're deep in the "fuzzy front end" of new product development, it's challenging to know which of your ideas are winners and which you are better off tabling. It can be hard to maintain objectivity when you've poured hours of hard work into a new product that you're excited about and personally connected to. However, for your business to succeed and grow, you need to be able to step back and evaluate products from the consumers' perspective.
If you're unsure of a product's market potential, you have to make the decision to either ramp up your efforts or yank the product from the pipeline before you dump a ton of money into a clunker. So how do you evaluate whether a product is a winner or a loser?
Be nimble, be creative, be agile. Take a risk… act like a startup.
This advice for clients comes from Rob Schuham, the Chief Innovation Officer at Match Marketing Group (MMG). MMG’s major clients — Ford, Adidas, and Samsung, among others — have listened, and the result has been some of the most groundbreaking campaigns ever to hit the market.
It is true that established, mature brands control the market because they are familiar and trusted. However, startups and emerging brands are pioneering some exciting and innovative techniques. And many mature brands are starting to pay attention.
"Transforming a brand into a… leader doesn't happen overnight by simply writing new marketing and advertising strategies. It takes effort to identify a vision that your customers will find credible and aligned with their values." – Simon Mainwaring.
Most of what we know about marketing comes from mature products or brands. Why? Because infinitely more data exist for mature brands than for new or emerging brands. The old dogs have the corner on the market because they are familiar, known, trusted, and predictable. Plus, they have reams of data to support their position in the market.
The rapid rise of social media platforms over the last decade has been astonishing. What at first seemed like a novelty for young people has become a global phenomenon. It’s now part of the fabric of daily life. So if it seems like everyone is on Facebook and Twitter, it’s probably because they are.
Although many people use social media to interact with friends (or post “selfies”) the implications for business owners are more far reaching. Pull up a Facebook or Twitter feed. What do you see? If you’re like me, you see millions of present and potential customers interacting with one another.