In January 2012, an unknown company launched an unheard of product in a category few knew existed. Less than 30 days later, the product had earned press in almost every major media outlet and had tens of thousands of people using it.
While every product (or service) launch will be slightly different, assuming you’ve done the homework to bring the right product at the right price to market, launch fundamentals remain the same:
- Messaging and content
- Thought leadership
- Media and influencer relations
- Sales activation
Start with the message. Your launch starts with the message. The key to getting the message right is to test it. Online testing is fast, efficient and incredibly insightful. And it helps you get to consensus much faster.
Build your content. With a message that is both defensible and agreed-upon, build a content marketing plan that puts the message in every content piece you create, from printed collateral and promotional material to online websites, blogs and even videos.
Set the stage with thought leadership. Whether you’re creating a brand new category or just trying to change perception, thought leadership is a critical component of any good launch strategy. Use primary market research supported by publicly available statistics in content marketing pieces that can range from white papers to website content. Use Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels to promote your content pieces.
Leverage the influencers. Influencers now include print media and analysts, paid and unpaid bloggers, association leaders, online publications, customers and more. When building your PR strategy, consider how to leverage all of your influencers.
Activate the pipeline. Like other marketing tactics, lead generation is not “one size fits all.” It will include a tiered program to communicate to the many people who touch the buying process. Understanding your audience—and their information needs—is critical to lead generation programs that produce high ROI.
Communicate results. A launch is highly visible, and you want to share meaningful results across your organization. What’s meaningful to your executive team may not be important to the sales, development and support organizations. Determine your measurement tactics and reporting tools BEFORE you launch.
Other considerations. Depending on your product, you may need additional leverage. Advertising—through both traditional and social media channels—can be very effective in both short bursts and sustained programs.
Final impressions. Every launch is different, but the fundamentals are the same. As a very good friend of mine once told me: “Plan the Work and Work the Plan.” When you do, you’ll reap the rewards and keep your sanity.