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Tips on How to Launch a New Product

This is always an exciting time of year here at Marketing Matters. Our team is amping up for CEDIA Expo 2010, the industry’s largest custom electronics trade show. Catalogs, booth design, email blasts, promo goods, ads, shipping and receiving, press releases, etc.—you name it, we’re doing it. (Special props to Kyle Glass, our Public Relations/Marketing Manager a.k.a our Marketing Leatherman, for keeping A LOT of these projects on track).

One thing I’m pretty fired up about for this year’s show is new product launches from quite a few of our clients. If you are all familiar with the custom electronics industry, you know there are a ton of “me too” products out there, so I’m always jazzed whenever we get to help a client introduce something that’s never been seen or done—which is certainly the case for our clients this year.

But as I mentioned, there are a lot of folks making the same widget out and with all things equal, what makes some more successful than others. I would argue that it’s the way they launched their product. We see so many companies spend the time and resources to develop their new, revolutionary, innovative, state-of-the-art, ground-breaking, unique (did I get them all?) widget, and then just expect their customers to just run and snatch them up. After pouring their heart and soul into a project, these companies often feel their product is the best the industry has to offer—and it may be—but if not properly marketed, their customers will never see the benefit.

To help you successfully launch that widget, I’ve put together a few ideas as part of a coordinated marketing/communications strategy.

Website/Microsite

OK, so this isn’t really “marketing insight” here, but we all know the importance the web plays in influencing a customer’s buying decision—and if you don’t, then you probably shouldn’t be handling your companies marketing strategies. Make sure your new product has its own unique landing page on your company’s website (e.g. www.marketingmatters.net/awesomeproduct). Do your SEO research and figure out how your customers search for a product such as yours and incorporate that HEAVILY into your product’s page.

Advertise

A great strategy for building pre-launch buzz about your new widget is a well-coordinated teaser campaign. Develop a simple, yet intriguing, ad campaign to spark your customer’s curiosity. Be sure to communicate a launch date so folks know when its coming.

Remember that advertising isn’t a one-and-done tactic. After your initial launch, continue to push your ads (now, obviously, featuring your new widget).

Be sure to include the unique landing page for your new product on all of your ads. By driving everything back to that page, you’ll get a great understanding of 1) how your customer’s find you and 2) what drives them to purchase your product.

Public Relations

Arguably one of the most valuable and most cost-effective ways of getting the word out about your product is through public relations.

While many may argue that the press release is dead, there is still value in a well-written press release that describes your product and what it provides your customers. First of all, when posted to your website, it gives you yet another source of SEO, and we all love SEO.

For additional SEO bang, you can also post your press release to many of the free press release hosting sites or even utilize one of the wire services which will distribute your release to thousands of press outlets.

To get the best results from your public relations efforts, you need to do your research. Find out what media outlets your customers turn to for information and then find out which person at that outlet covers news about products such as yours. Then develop a custom “pitch” for your product, being sure to communicate why its important to readers/viewers/listeners of that specific outlet to know that your widget is now available. DO NOT, and I can’t stress that enough, send your pitch to everyone on the staff of said media outlet and DO NOT send a pitch that isn’t relevant to that outlet (i.e. if you designed a new loudspeaker, the folks at weonlycovertvs.com don’t care…at all). Want to get your company blacklisted from a media outlet? Ignore that last sentence.

Product Reviews

Following up the members of the press who have expressed interest in your widget, ask them if they would like to demo or review the product. Nothing will give your product better credibility better than a third-party endorsement from a trusted source. You may also want to consider offering a few of your customers products to review. I would recommend keeping your list of solicited reviews to a minimum. If you’ve got a great product, chances are you’ll get a great review. However, with more reviews comes more chances for someone to find something terribly wrong with your product.

Launching a new product is both an exciting and nerve-racking experience. You invested so much into the research and design your widget so you owe it to you and your company to follow through when it comes to marketing it properly.

If you need some tips or advice on a new product launch, please feel free to shoot me an email at scott@marketingmatters.net or find me on Twitter at @cscottmoody.

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