10 top tips to maximise a successful product or brand launch (part 2).
9 months have passed since the Launch Marketing Council was set up. Bringing together some of the world’s greatest thought leaders in launch marketing from brands such as Huawei, Diageo, GSK and Facebook, it has set out to change the perception of launching a new product or brand with key insight into what launch success looks like. Spanning the UK, Australia and USA, we have pulled together the top 10 most insightful pieces of advice from the first three whitepapers created. Part 1 is already live. Find the next 5 tips in Part 2 below on how to achieve a successful product launch.
6. The impact of company size on ensuring successful product launch.
Expectations and sentiment can change dramatically as a startup scales, which can hinder any launch process, adding timely considerations and procedures once overlooked. As a startup, consumers and media give more allowances in regards to any mistakes and missteps. These are mostly seen as harmless, unintentional, strictly careless mistakes from an inexperienced company that is simply trying to be innovative, edgy and bring something new into the market.
The rules are quite different for a big corporate, with expectations far higher. In scaling up, more experience and maturity is gained, and the corporate is therefore held in a higher regard because of it. But there is less forgiveness and far more scrutiny with the launch of each new campaign or product. This can make the launch process more difficult and lengthy as there is more governance and compliance involved.
7. Constant testing with a multi channel approach.
With the rise of social media as an effective marketing channel, media diversification is key for a successful product launch. TV is not the only channel for widespread launches – and so faster and more agile planning is required to be able to successfully manage multiple channels, multiple assets and multiple consumer segments in real-time.
A deeper understanding of how target audiences use different media outlets is crucial, as is having access to talent to produce the right kind of messaging, content and narrative that speaks to the consumer. Startups speak about always being in ‘beta’, meaning they are constantly testing new ideas on different platforms to find what works best – not just before the launch, but during the initial phases too. Companies need to be able to quickly adapt to what is and isn’t working, and be ready to deploy new – better – content and updates across the many different channels they are using to launch.
8. Tight feedback loops.
Successful startups invest heavily in serving their consumers first and in building strong personal relationships with their early adopters. Social media allows for fast feedback from consumers, but comes with the expectation of speedy responses – something not all brands are capable of delivering. By keeping launches tighter and smaller at the early stages, startups can gain valuable, rich feedback from the most engaged consumers, building trust in their core user base and ultimately building a better product.
There are limits to early experimentation and the startup beta-testing approach if you are a large corporate. The problem with scale is that it breeds attention – too much attention too early can be detrimental. Google Glass is a point in case – a beta pilot launched with a global campaign which attracted significantly more attention than the team and product warranted during the initial experimental process.
9. Listen to those at the coalface.
Staff members who are on the ground interacting with retailers and consumers gain valuable insights that should be taken into account ahead of any launch. After all, they are the ones interacting with retailers and consumers every day. Their engagement is significantly more intimate than those in head office – their ideas and feedback should be key, both in the planning process and in adaptation of the launch campaign as it develops. Those on the front lines are positioned to spot opportunities to better the product, service or brand. When there are multiple people on the ground engaging in a launch, it is crucial to avoid over-segmenting the campaign and causing confusion between head office and the executors. It can be easy to get carried away with different formats and plans, but best to let those experts do their job and use their own instincts.
10. Know your why and breathe it.
Startup or corporate, you need to have passionate, dedicated and brave people who keep purpose as the guiding light in order to achieve a successful product launch. The reasons behind a launch shouldn’t just stem from a gap in the market, but from a desire to fix a problem or bring something brilliant to people who need it most. Keeping these emotional drivers front of mind during the launch process can ensure decisions are made with the core purpose in mind – preventing the team from going off track – and can keep morale strong when the inevitable hurdles and challenges present themselves.
When thinking about a launch, it is vital to understand the ‘why’ at the centre of the project to ensure that every decision has its roots in something concrete. Having a strong ‘why’ which flows throughout the launch and the brand eliminates the need for over-segmentation, as everyone is on the same page. Consumers are also increasingly keen to buy products that show a real sense of mission, provenance and transparency of why and how they exist in the world. It makes sense to find ways to communicate the ‘why’ throughout the launch and ultimately it will help with launch success.
By George Roberts