What is Pre Launch Marketing?
Increasingly, we’re building strategies for startups that want to launch with ongoing momentum. Their businesses are of course, brand new and as such, it’s easier for them to think of a launch in this way. After months or years of development (and beans on toast for dinner) they want to grow quickly.
For established and more corporate brands, launch planning is unlikely to involve any marketing communications. Their pre launch preparation plan will normally be weighted more on product development, distribution, research and pricing. There is often a fear of competitive advantage being lost so the new product is given a cool project name and comms are held back for a big reveal.
Pre Launch Marketing is very much an integral part of our launch marketing plans. In the pre launch phase we challenge clients to think about launches differently and to become active in-market earlier than they anticipated.
There are several reasons for doing so:
Building a core group of advocates.
Firstly, by identifying and approaching niche audiences in discrete channels it is possible to build a core group of advocates who can help amplify your public launch down the track when you’re ready to go big. Communities on Kickstarter perform this function for many new products. Your Facebook following can also be built and leveraged with highly targeted ads or your email database with a PPC campaign around relevant specific keywords.
Testing your pre launch marketing proposition.
Secondly, the pre launch marketing phase can be used to test propositions, offers and messages to different audiences. With a relatively small investment, it’s possible to learn what will work when the time comes to back a larger campaign. Too often, the thoughts of a handful of people in a research group are relied upon for feedback, only to discover that what they said they’d do is different than what they actually do. We recently took the test and learn approach with an Australian startup, Juggle St. as they prepare for their national consumer launch. We’ve helped them identify where their brand equity resides by running a series of discrete, in-market tests to narrow their proposition and tone of voice.
Ensuring concrete benchmarks.
Thirdly, this pre launch marketing phase helps gauge how things work in terms of the mechanics of customer acquisition, and even more crucially, retention. It also provides an opportunity to ensure that campaign measurements work properly and that benchmarks are established with confidence. In large organisations, “bug fixing” is often more to do with internal and operational alignment than with the product itself.
Today, launches are often taking place over longer periods of time. They are iterative by nature, and are designed to expand out sometimes from geographical centres but often from core user groups recruited on a global scale. Pre Launch Marketing is an integral part of the launch plan.
By Matt Lawton
Managing Director, Sydney