12 Tips for Your Best-Ever Product Launch
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Since 2009, we’ve been giving this product launch advice: 1) Start planning 10-12 months before your launch date. 2) Engage a multi-functional team, with marketing, technical, sales, operations and marcomm. 3) Use this process: Deliver the right Product to the right Market using the right Message through the right Media. And the sequence matters: WHO we tell… WHAT we tell… then HOW we tell.
Beyond this high-level advice, let’s explore 12 tips to ignite your next launch. I’ll be brief… there’s more detail on each tip in our free e-book.
1. Be easy to find… when your prospect is ready
The internet has changed everything. 80% of B2B transactions now occur when the customer finds the supplier—not the other way around. If someone deep inside a prospect company can’t find you, your new product just lost to a competitor’s. You must become more findable than competitors.
2. Link “early-stage” to “late-stage” marketing
You must become more findable than competitors.
There are many ways to link early-stage marketing (understanding market needs) to late-stage marketing (promoting your product). One example: Data-mine your Discovery interviews for prospects’ precise language. Then use this in your search-engine optimization… to outrank competitors in Google searches.
3. Get inside their minds with positioning
Over 30 years ago, Ries and Trout introduced wonderful positioning principles, which AIM has organized for B2B. For example… once a prospect’s mind is made up, it is very difficult to change. But prospects are open to new information. This is why a properly-conceived news release is so powerful.
4. Help prospects advance along the buying cycle
Your prospect may be at any stage: unaware of your product… considering… negotiating, etc. In a sales call you can tell where they are. But what if they are visiting your website? No worries: Provide multiple offers—case study, informative video, sample, etc.—so they can select what they need when they need it.
5. Use engagement—not interruption—marketing
Interruption marketing is an ad unrelated to the article the prospect is reading, or an unwanted e-mail during the prospect’s busy day. You engage the prospect by offering useful content of interest to them. A well-crafted white paper—where the first 90% doesn’t even mention your product—is just one example.
6. Customize for industry concentration & position
You should identify 1) your industry concentration (number of potential buyers) and 2) your industry position (whether you are a leading supplier to this market or not). LaunchStar software can help you sort out which of 9 online media and 9 traditional media to use (see tips 9 and 10 below).
7. Use online articles to boost “findability”
This is one of my all-time favorites. You send news releases to busy journal editors containing valuable content their readers will love… and that editors don’t have to re-write. Pepper the copy with your keywords and a link to your site. The popularity of the journal’s website puts your article near the top of Google rankings… and by itself improves your site rankings. Incredibly powerful.
8. Use word of mouth to build buzz
The AIM Institute’s LaunchStar training and software helps teams use 9 traditional and 9 online promotional media.
Busy executives are influenced by word of mouth more than anything else. And in the digital age, your ability to impact this has increased dramatically. See Rule #8 in our free e-book, 12 New Rules of B2B Product Launch, for six ways to “build buzz.”
9. Use powerful new online marketing tools
Many B2B firms have “fallen behind” in their use of online marketing media, e.g. webinars, online presentations, downloadable white papers, and news releases. That’s a shame: Such promotional tools tend to have lower costs per lead, are easier to measure for effectiveness, and are perfect for boosting “findability.”
10. Integrate traditional media in your strategy
As powerful as online media are, you shouldn’t ignore traditional media, e.g. trade shows, customer seminars, trade speeches, and sales visits. Unless you’ve been continually sharpening your tools here, you’ve probably got significant room for improvement.
11. Make your sales pros look like geniuses
For many B2B companies, the sales visit remains the most potent way to deliver product launch results. But some serious attention to three areas is usually warranted: 1) creation of more dynamic and modern sales tools, 2) improved sales training, and 3) better lead qualification… so your most valuable resource—the sales force—isn’t squandered.
12. Pull it all together in a launch plan
A solid launch plan helps your team 1) Collect and retain all the key information in one spot, 2) Plan the launch using a proven roadmap so key steps aren’t overlooked, 3) Communicate with key stakeholders, e.g. management and the sales force, and 4)Measure progress after the launch against key metrics.
To the last point… LaunchStar 3.0 software automatically creates a 2-page Executive Summary Launch Plan and 4 supporting reports. If you would like a copy of these reports, contact us to let us know. Also, let us know if you’d like complimentary 30-day access to LaunchStar 3.0 cloud-enabled software and/or our B2B Product Launch e-learning modules. Hope your next launch is a great one!