Your new product has been designed, tested and packaged. Now, how to get it into the customers' hands? With more marketing channels than ever before, it can be difficult for a small business owner to decide where to start.
According to the 2011 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey conducted by Schneider Associates and Sentient Decision Science, the top ten ways people find out about new products are: Television (77%), In-Store Displays (43%), Facebook (40%), Magazine Ads (40%), Magazine/News Articles (35%), Friends/Family Referral (34%), TV News Story (33%), Search Engine (31%), Received a Coupon (31%) and Free Samples (28%).
Though these rankings are helpful in and of themselves, looking at the changes between each year can be even more revealing about customer behavior. For instance, in 2010 only 17% of respondents said that they found out about new products through Facebook, that percentage more than doubled by 2011.
Some of the options in the list above, such as television ads, may be not be in the budget for many start-ups or small businesses looking to introduce a new product to market. And they might not all be useful; if your product is more of a niche item it may not be applicable to the general consumer. The right mix of the remaining tools can make your next launch very successful.
Research your industry and create a marketing plan based on your insights. Winning product launches include a strong marketing campaign using a variety of marketing channels consistently and frequently. This is not the time to run one ad in your local newspaper and then sit back and wait for the phone to start ringing.
Be sure to make a budget for launch expenditures. Set aside a portion of your resources to create professional promotional materials in multiple formats for distribution to different outlets. This may include a media kit, brochures, sell sheets, videos or press releases. Make sure you provide a consistent message in all of your materials and that your product is positioned effectively. A confused buyer will not purchase your product. It shouldn't take a lot of effort from your customers to understand what your product does and how it will benefit them.
Consider offering a special offer or bonus at launch time to get customers excited and to create a lot of demand for your new product. Confirm that customers can order with ease and that the ordering system has been thoroughly tested. You should expect a heavy volume of orders at launch time and must be prepared to handle them efficiently. A customer who has a difficult experience with the first purchase may not return to make a second.
Industry research mixed with effective positioning and the right marketing channels will get your product in the hands of the customers you designed it for. Product launches are exciting for everyone involved and can really put a product on course for continued success when done correctly.
If you are launching a new product and would like assistance, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
Pepper Erdmann is a Marketing Manager at Buddingh & Associates, Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing consulting firm in Naperville, IL. Contact her atwww.BuddinghAssociates.com.