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					Make Your Product
  Launch Take Off



            4imprint.com
Six Simple Steps to




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Make Your Product
Launch Take Off
NASA doesn’t launch a rocket without putting time, money
and a LOT of planning into each and every detail. Weather
conditions, operating procedures and proper staffing,
among many other variables, are all part of the process.
Essentially, there’s a lot of money—and a pretty prestigious
reputation—riding on a successful rocket launch. So why
would you launch a product—an event that could make or
break your own business—without the same kind of care
and precision?


Thankfully, a successful product launch doesn’t take rocket science. And when
it’s done right, it can make all the difference in the world for the success and
reputation of your business.




It’s a tough market, but someone’s got to fill It
Today’s market is saturated with products and services promising to satisfy all your
potential customers’ desires. And thanks to the continued success of the World
Wide Web, these customers literally have the world at their fingertips, allowing
them the freedom to be more selective than ever when purchasing goods and
services. So how on earth do you get them to buy yours?


This step-by-step guide will take you through each of the vital stages
necessary to execute a profitable product launch. It’s easy to get
caught up in the excitement of a new product and neglect some of
the most important steps in a successful release. Give yourself enough
time, pay attention to the details and you’ll have the product launch
process mastered in no time.




First, the idea
You’ve developed a product and feel it’s a great idea. Congratulations! You’ve
obviously put a lot of time and energy into the concept and have likely already
identified that there may be a place, or gap, for your product in the market—as

                                          © 2008 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
well as a good chance it will turn a profit. Now it’s crucial to answer two important




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questions before anything else happens:


         •        Who is your audience?
         •        Why will they buy your product?


It’s time for market research.




Step #1: Do your market research
Who’s your target market?
The best product launch in history won’t sell reading glasses to a blind man. Ok, that’s
a little dramatic, but the point is that identifying your target audience is key to your
success.


An excellent way to get a good grasp on your target market is to size up your
competition. 1 The people buying competitive products are probably the same people
who will buy yours—especially if your product offers additional features and benefits.
Read the competitors’ marketing materials, pay attention to their ads, study their
customers’ buying behavior. Their audience is your audience. Get to know them.


In the past, target markets were often determined based on their demographics, i.e.
age, gender, income level, etc. However, marketing experts now recommend focusing
on a person’s motivations for buying. Emotional benefits are huge motivators, and can
help you zero in on your target market.


A few years ago, Constance Van Flandern, a graphic
designer from Eugene, Oregon, coined the phrase
“Alpha Mom” to describe women like her: “A hip mom
who wants to be involved with her children’s lives, but
who doesn’t want to give up her identity.” Marketers
latched on to this group, knowing that they would
purchase for their own satisfaction as well as their child’s.


Ever heard of the Nintendo® Wii™? How about the
Cadillac Escalade? What about the Swiffer® WetJet®?
The marketing teams for these successful products found their niche in the Alpha
Moms.        2
                 The Nintendo Wii is an interactive video game fun for kids, but enjoyable for
the whole family. The Cadillac Escalade has plenty of room to take all the neighbors to

1
    Gordon, Kim T.; Marketing Tips for Launching a New Product; Entrepreneur.com; 2008
2
    Horovitz, Bruce; USA Today; Alpha Moms Leap to Top of Trendsetters; Accessed June 22, 2008

                                                        © 2008 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
the beach, and the Swiffer WetJet allows you to clean up spills in a snap without the messy




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hassle of a mop. Emotional motivation? Why, it certainly sounds that way…


Will they buy your product?
Because you work so closely with your product, it’s easy to become disconnected from
the reasons people actually buy it. Companies of all sizes use various approaches when it
comes to researching buyer behavior. They survey customers (see our Survey Blue Paper for
help), conduct focus groups and study purchasing patterns. Some companies have internal
resources for this type of research, while others seek the assistance of outside agencies.


Perhaps the best way to get in touch with your target’s
buying incentive is to ask them and really
listen to what they are saying – not what you
want to hear. At Enzymatic Therapy, a
mid-sized natural medicine company based in
Green Bay, Wisconsin, a database of loyal
consumers is often asked to react to new product ideas and marketing tactics. This
gives their marketing team a window into their customers’ purchasing habits, and helps
consumers feel their suggestions are truly valued by the company.


Larger companies have the funds to do even more regarding market research. When the
Alpha Moms became popular, they were practically serenaded for their input on up-and-
coming products. According to USA Today, “Nintendo went all out, setting up a room
filled with fancy food, an open bar and Wii demos.” 3 Hopefully, the success of your future
product launches gives you the funds to do the same.


           Helpful hint:
           Get Buy-In from the Beginning


           Obviously, getting your company’s executives on board is a critical step in a
           successful product launch. In a small to mid-size operation, the person managing
           the product could very well be a vice president or CEO, but in many cases there are
           various levels of approval to seek when launching a product. Make sure you hit
           them all.


           Once you have the execs’ stamp of approval, it’s a good idea to also get buy-in
           from your sales and customer service reps. If the people selling your product don’t
           get it, they sure as heck won’t be selling it. It’s crucial to continually touch base to
           keep them up-to-speed on any changes or advancements with the product and
           promotional execution.




3
    Horovitz, Bruce; USA Today; Alpha Moms Leap to Top of Trendsetters; Accessed June 22, 2008
                                                        © 2008 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Step #2: Establish a unique selling proposition




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Differentiate or die
Your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP, is what you promise to consistently deliver
with your product. It will improve the positioning and marketability of your product by
accomplishing 3 things:


         1.     Unique - It clearly sets you apart from your competition.


         2.     Selling - It persuades another to exchange money for your
                product or service.


         3.     Proposition - It is a proposal or offer suggested for acceptance. 4


A highly-recognizable USP, Nike’s “Just Do It” promises to provide you with the athletic
shoes, clothing, equipment you need to “just do” anything. It hits you on an emotional
level, motivating you with a subtle promise of success and therefore, satisfaction. Best
of all, it’s short and sweet.


The USP can be your product’s tagline, or just a
message you use internally to make sure you’re
delivering on your product’s promise. Like Nike, you
    should focus on something short, simple and memorable.
A common rule of thumb is to keep your USP to seven words or less.
It should also remain consistent throughout your product’s lifespan—which is
hopefully a long one!


Take a look at the following successful USPs:


         •      Gillette®: “The Best a Man Can Get”
         •      Olay®: “Love the Skin You’re In”
         •      Ford: “Built Ford Tough”
         •      McDonald’s®: “I’m Lovin’ It”
         •      Burger King®: “Have it Your Way”
         •      Taco Bell®: “Think Outside the Bun”


Once again, you’ll notice these taglines are quick and to the point. Each of them also
plays on the emotional benefit for the consumer. Burger King wants you to have
their food, your way and Olay helps enhance your physical attributes, boosting your
self-confidence in the process. A good USP is a win-win between a product and its
consumer.

4
    How to Create Your “Unique Selling Proposition”; integrativemarketinginc.com; Accessed June 23, 2008


                                                        © 2008 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
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Developing a USP and sticking to it benefits your company internally as much as
it benefits your consumers. When various people are working with a product, the
message must be clear. Any confusion internally will only exacerbate confusion with
your customers, which is the quickest way to drive potential buyers away.




Step #3: Develop brand messaging
Consistency is key
Once your USP is established, you’ll want to decide on your messaging for the launch of
the product. Messaging is responsible for establishing your new product’s identity in the
marketplace. A variety of people can participate to brainstorm your product’s message.
Involve brand managers, sales reps and creative team members.


If you keep your USP in mind while brainstorming, messaging should be a fairly
simple task. Once determined, your message should be carried through
every piece of communication dedicated to your product. This includes:


     •       Brochures, guides and any marketing print collateral
     •       Web site, e-newsletters or other online interactivity
     •       Print, radio and television advertising
     •       Internal newsletters or other materials


         Helpful hint:
         Establish Timeframe and Budget Early


         Ah ... time and money. They make the world go ‘round. Both are
         extremely important to your new product launch. Be sure to keep the
         following ideas in mind:


         •      Give yourself a realistic amount of time to accomplish what you want, and
                use it wisely. Not having enough time can cause detrimental errors in your
                launch process, and time wasted is time you’ll never get back.

         •      Your budget will influence your product positioning. Make sure you
                develop these simultaneously. When deciding on your budget, positioning
                should be in the back of your mind, and vice versa.




                                            © 2008 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Step #4: Create your promotional plan




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Marketing strategy
Your marketing strategy will depend on the research you conducted for your business and
its new product. Will you use direct marketing? What about online sales? Do you intend
for your product to sell in multiple channels? These are important points to consider while
determining your marketing plan.


Enzymatic Therapy found that cross-selling is a beneficial component of their marketing
strategies. Because they sell a diverse line of products, there is usually something to cross-
sell with the new product being launched. For example, when launching a new probiotic
product which is beneficial for better digestion, they may consider promoting it with an
established fiber supplement—one they already know sells well. This “piggy-backing”
approach would help to get their new product in the hands of people already purchasing
supplements.


Promotional tactics, advertising and PR
Enzymatic Therapy also keeps their retailers in mind when determining
promotional details. An associate brand manager explains, “We always try to
create several variations so that retailers large and small will have an option that
fits into their budget and is feasible for them to participate in.” For example,
because dietary supplements come in bottles and packages of all shapes and sizes,
retailers need a way to display them. Enzymatic Therapy’s promotions often
include floor and counter display options. For retailers that don’t have the space
for either, additional display options, like clip-strips which can hang from store
shelves, are available.


The advertising tactics you choose for your launch should raise awareness and
build anticipation for your product. You can send direct mail pieces, create a viral
Internet campaign or give away promotional items. You can develop brochures,
product guides or articles for trade publications that feature products
in your industry. When choosing advertising methods, explore your
options. If you’re not familiar with the latest e-marketing strategies,
consult someone who is.


Leverage public relations, if you can, by promoting your product as news. A new product
press release should be written in a factual and impartial way. A news story, published
outside your company, will add credibility and increase awareness of your product.


Promotional possibilities for your product launch are practically endless. Research which
avenues are right for you, your budget and your target consumer.



                                           © 2008 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Step #5: Educate key players




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Communication is key
With each new product launch, Enzymatic Therapy conducts a product training session
to educate the appropriate people—in this case, customer service and sales reps—with
the details of the product itself and the upcoming launch. Team members from the
marketing and product development departments are on hand to answer any questions
regarding the product or promotion. They also make sure their outside sales reps are
mailed all literature and promotional products, as well as sell sheets mapping out the
promotion’s details.


When your launch date is looming, get your product into the hands of key people—the
representatives who will be selling it. Think about how the most successful restaurants
encourage their servers to try all the food on the menu so they can better explain
how things taste and make recommendations when customers ask. ALL the individuals
involved in selling your product—whether sales reps, retailers or the person writing your
internal newsletter— should have first-hand experience with your product to be able to
sell it to the best of their abilities.




Step #6: Sit back and pray
Ok, all joking aside, if you’ve followed the simple steps outlined above, you can actually
sit back and relax a little. You developed a product the market needs, identified your
target audience, established a memorable USP and brand message, created a dynamite
promotional plan and educated your key players for optimal communication. In other
words, you’ve set the stage for a successful product launch. Before you know it, your
product will be taking off like a rocket!




  4imprint serves more than 100,000 businesses with innovative promotional items throughout the United States,
  Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland. Its product offerings include giveaways, business gifts, personalized gifts,
  embroidered apparel, promotional pens, travel mugs, tote bags, water bottles, Post-it Notes, custom calendars,
           and many other promotional items. For additional information, log on to www.4imprint.com.


                                             © 2008 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

				
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Description: NASA doesn’t launch a rocket without putting time, money and a LOT of planning into each and every detail. Weather conditions, operating procedures and proper staffing, among many other variables, are all part of the process.
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