According to leading market research firms, less than 3% of consumer packaged goods fail to earn $50 million in their first year, which is considered the mark of a successful launch.
Perhaps the flagship example of a successful product launch was Steve Job’s infamous iPhone unveiling, which could be called nothing other than a miracle, considering the technical flaws of its prototype. Launching a new product is a great way to open up an additional revenue stream for your company, expand your product catalogue, reach new customers, or improve upon a product or service previously offered. All things considered, designing and developing the product is actually the easy part.
Naturally, a good product will market itself through positive customer reviews and word-of-mouth advertising, but how do we get our products in the hands of our audience in the first place? How are we supposed to overcome issues of scale from both the supply and demand side?
Launching a new product is a tremendous investment, requiring you to generate a sizeable return to justify its decision to stakeholders. Fortunately, we can learn from our past mistakes and the success of others to formulate five great strategies that will help you successfully market your next product launch.
Align your product with influencers
Confronting issues of scale for a successful launch is the most difficult challenge of establishing a consistent user base for your products. For one, people remain highly skeptical of brands and advertisements. This means that much of the money thrown at online and traditional advertising will be wasted without an established brand presence and following behind you.
One of the best ways to resolve these issues is to acquire endorsements from influencers who can provide social proof and credibility of your product and brand. Beyond this, influencer marketing is a hands-free strategy that requires very little investment or work on your part. Better yet, you can leverage a variety of tools, such as Intellifluence and Followerwonk to micro target influencers in your niche, geographic location, etc. This puts you in direct contact with audience members that actively participate in your industry and are interested in your products.
Consider these simple influencer marketing strategies to provide some credibility for your brand:
Enter into a branded partnership with an influencer for reciprocal promotion
Invite an influencer to use your product and write a review
Host a contest or giveaway on an influencer platform or account
Market your product at a trade show
Chances are, there are a number of publications in your industry that regularly hold trade shows and conferences. Trade shows are unique because they allow you to communicate with customers face-to-face who are already interested in your products. Trade shows are also a great place to network.
Consider these few strategies for successfully marketing your product at a trade show:
Investing in a dazzling trade show display
Market your activity at trade show events pre- and post-launch
Network with industry leaders for partnerships and investments
Deliver a keynote speech
Businesses that hire consultants for trade show booth marketing tend to acquire more leads and purchases at trade show conferences.
Tap into the power of crowdfunding
The crowdfunding industry transacted over $34 billion in free flowing cash in 2015. Honestly, crowdfunding a project or product launch is a no brainer. Not only do you get free promotion of your brand and its product, but free money. Crowdfunding subtly touches upon the altruistic side of human nature. It’s also a way for people to fund the projects they truly care about.
The most important part of crowdfunding is to do the research. Conduct interviews, surveys, and host focus groups with people who have purchased from your company in the past or who are bound to be interested in your products.
Plan a product launch event
What better way to get the word out about a new product than to plan an event and celebration around it? Hollywood movies and even Grammy artists offer early access to their works to select crowds to get the word out.
A press release and launch party is a great way to invite local media figures and industry thought leaders to interact and review your product. To plan for the event, distribute a press release ahead of time and strategically contact media figures you’d want to be at your event. You can even host a webinar or Q&A around the launch of your product to gather feedback and help spread the word.
Focus on digital marketing early
Finally, it’s important to follow up any launch with a multifaceted digital marketing strategy. This includes hosting a website with a blog where people can find your products and read up any more information they might be unaware of.
Create a landing page and run advertisements to it over the marketing channels your customers interact with most, whether it’s search or social. One final tip to consider is running early social media promotion to build up anticipation for a launch. This requires having a number of established followers who have purchased from your brand in the past.
An overwhelming majority of businesses fail because of poor marketing strategies. Surely great service will lead to great reviews, but confining yourself to such a small audience segment will prevent your business from scaling. By executing these strategies, you can generate huge returns on the high investment that went into developing and launching a new product.
This article has been edited.
Kristopher B. Jones is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and best-selling author. Having founded multiple start-ups, including Pepperjam which was sold to eBay in 2009, Kris is a foremost thought leader on how to effectively build and scale a business. Kris has been published over 350 times and is a regular contributor to top publications, including Inc., Forbes, and Fast Company. Kris’ books have sold over 100,000 copies. Connect with @krisjonescom on Twitter.