Do’s and Don’ts for This Year’s Product Launch

shutterstock_161159720There’s no disputing the fact that you have a product launch on this year’s strategic roadmap. After all, the product market was predicted to reach nearly $221.3 billion by the end of 2013 and industry pundits expect it to surge to $284.6 billion by the end of 2018, according to the 2013 “Antiaging Products and Services: The Global Market” report. But just because your team meetings and budgets are centered upon expansion and great unveils does not mean your launch will be a walk in the park.

Just consider that fact that as many as 95 percent of new products that are introduced each year fail, according to Cincinnati research agency AcuPoll. So how do you break away from the majority and enjoy success this year? By keeping the following do’s and don’ts top of mind:

Do conceptualize a marketing plan: You need to start originating your marketing and distribution plan way before you ever go-to-market. That’s because you will need months to complete market research, decide upon announcement schedules and possibly enlist the help of product launch experts. Your marketing plan needs to be fully baked and account for all possible communications vehicles to spread the word—from blogging to social media to press releases.

Don’t think your plan ends after the official launch: Many companies mistakenly believe that after the big unveil, PR announcement or website launch that the product will continue to sell itself and that the initial buzz will be enough to generate sales. Conversely, the period after launch is just as—if not more—important as the pre-launch phase. It is during this time that you need to keep the momentum moving and focus on driving excitement. Your post-launch marketing plan should include a robust content marketing strategy, branding campaign and sales policy.

Do go content crazy: There is no greater way to spread the word about your latest product before and after launch than with a surplus of content. This copy can come in a variety of forms—think blogging, social media discussions, white papers—and has one overarching goal: to highlight the tale of your company and product through organic, custom story telling. Entice the search engine spiders to crawl your site; give your audience pieces on which to comment; and drive traffic to your website with compelling content.

Don’t let just anyone write: You need to gather your A-team to create your content. These writers need to be trained in how to weave in SEO strategy, how to tell stories about your new offering without sounding too salsey and how to write in a manner that is of interest for consumers. Giving your sales manager a pen and paper is not the solution. Find the best of the best and have them steer your content strategy.

Do price accordingly: While 50 percent of consumers are willing to switch to a new brand, 45 percent are still driven by economic conditions, according to data compiled by Nielsen in a January 2013 report. Therefore, perform your due diligence. Get a feel for how your competitors price their offerings, determine the value add you provide consumers and set your pricing accordingly.

Don’t devalue your product: Just because many consumers are still price-conscious does not mean you should devalue your latest offering by coming down in price. If your product provides considerable benefits and addresses pain points that are not currently addressed then stand by your pricing. Consumers will judge the promise of your product based on its pricing. Set it too low and they will fear your product won’t deliver. Set it too high and they may fear you are too biased about the capabilities of your latest offering.