Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C marketer, a new product or service launch is a curious beast. Done right, it can profoundly change the competitive playing field. Get it wrong and you waste not only money, but opportunity. Every product and service has a life cycle and a lot of time is spent profitably navigating at each stage of the life cycle.
1. The Role of Marketing
First, as your product or service is completely, or mostly, ‘new’ the role of marketing is more about education and trial, than persuasion and repetition. Education takes information, time and money. A successful launch requires significant pre-planning, especially when your product is being launched through an extended distribution chain.
2. Positioning, Targeting and Objectives
A successful launch is designed to either retain current customers or attract new buyers to your brand. It’s crucial that the product is positioned against the right target, because it’s the perfect time to freshen the customer gene pool.
3. Earned Media Opportunities
New and innovative products and services offer great advantages at launch. There’s a lot of media and influencer interest; employees, sales and distribution channels are excited and passionate about the new product and the buyers who tend to buy – early adopters – are energized disciples. It’s a once-in-a-lifecycle time to take advantage of organic momentum. You’ll get free attention that will have to be purchased throughout the rest of the product/service life cycle, which is why your highest margins and fastest turns will occur early in the product’s life.
4. Changing the Competitive Landscape
Finally, unlike the short term promotions and offers that are a typical part of ongoing business, a new product or service can profoundly change the competitive landscape at a strategic level. For a brief moment you get to level or even set the terms of the category. Competition has to respond to you, make it count.