Product launch planning can save you time, make your launch more successful, improve chances that you will make money in the short run and long run. This is true for nearly all products and especially true for "green products" and "clean tech" offerings.
Interestingly, people often use focus groups to do product development work and do not use quantitative techniques. This is often a mistake. Additionally, modern product launches take into account social media, multi-media and all aspects of the human experience. This is very product specific and should be tested. Rules 1-3 in product launches are test, test, test, yet product launch managers often don't even know how to test their team members' work. Contact us so we can show you what we mean.
In general, here are some of the things to consider when planning your product launch:
1) Your story Humans relate to a story. Ask: "What is the dramatic difference that my product will make for people?" This should include both the obvious value of the product but also make a human connection with the prospect. You have an innovative product and you know it's features up and down. But know this - even the best products, products way ahead of the marketplace fail! They often fail because you have misdefined the proper market target and how to communicate with that target so that you have an emotional bond. Some ways to improve your emotional bond include:
a) Music - do you have a thematic music across all of your media? If you are an engineer by training my experience is that this is one of the things you will discount or not even think about. We are in the social media age and the best launches have musicality. If you already read the book "Brands that Rock" then you may also want to read the following b-i steps you may be leaving out while "rocking out" in advertising fluff. b) Do you show people using and loving this product? Remember the human tie in. c) Do you have an emotional appeal? d) Do you have testimonials or some "social proof" that your product should be bought? Could you do a mini-launch to get this information (contact us if you would like to know how this works)? e) What are you giving customers that feels like you have their best interest (reciprocation) f) Is your emotional appeal consistent and shows your commitment. If you try to be something to everybody then you likely will bomb. Similarly if you try to be the "green product of the year" you will likely end up being an "me too" product. g) Is there a spokesperson or someone to like in the product? What's your likability factor? h) Is this a limited time offer? Is it something you can make for everyone? A limited supply can make for a sense of urgency and help short term profits. We do not recommend penetration pricing in most cases that do not have a long-term upgrade path. i) Authority - how do you have legitimacy in this space. Legitimacy and intimacy are again, human and emotional. Featurism and your product benefits likely do not give you legitimate authority to sell your product or service.
A story for a product launch usually has some of the following factors:
a) Human story - how things have not worked in the past. b) a beginning of how difficult it was with old products and identification of the problem. c) A break through or disruptive technology or application. d) With the new breakthrough you are able to get reliable and predictable results (often demonstrated with a warrantee) e) The consistent results are delivered by patented or proven methods. Show research and trial involved in perfecting product. f) Human story ends with happy people who did it and shows how (the prospective buyer) can too!
2) Your media and marketing channels
Back when Mr. Ed Bernays, or public relations fame (and Freud's nephew) discovered some great psychological hot buttons or emotions triggers, it was game over. He's the guy who determined that if you add an egg to a Betty Crocker recipe that people would be more likely to buy the "cake mix" because they were "contributing" to the making of the cake. Prior to Betty Crocker, people would make cakes from scratch and that was labor intensive and the "egg" allowed people to avoid feelings of being lazy. Back at this time, if you had figured out your "emotional ties" and how you were going to connect with people you could hit a home run with three channels. Top TV program, top radio program and top local papers of your target audiences. This is no longer true and can even bankrupt you before you sell a product because there are 1000s of TV and Radio outlets. Furthermore in the last ten years, we've learned that you need:
1) Branding plans - three Cs - Clarity consistency and constancy 2) Internet PPC, SEO, split testing and auto-responder strategies (call if you don't know what I'm talking about) 3) A recent Research 13 study suggests that a social media strategy that supports your internet strategy (2 above) may increase PPC and SEO effectiveness 3 times in the short run and also have a dramatic impact on long term loyalty and revenue. Without a technical barrier to entry in your market and a social media strategy, your competition may beat you to the "low hanging fruit" in the marketplace.