Let’s face it: product launches are risky. Your business will have to put plenty of time, money, and work into bringing something new to the market. If it fails, all of it is wasted. If it succeeds… well, there can be problems there too.
You can never take the risk out of a product launch, but you can start out on firmer ground by thoroughly understanding your audience, your competition, and your own resources beforehand.
3 Pre-Launch Evaluations You Can’t Ignore
- Your Audience: Your company has likely conducted research to determine if there’s a place for your product in the market. Market research is good, but at this stage it’s time to take it a step further: it’s time to understand your buyers as people.
Your buyers have unique lives and unique needs that drive their purchasing behavior. Understanding their needs equips you to choose the right product launch tactics. Get to know these needs and behaviors by going where your audience goes and learning more about what they do.
Here’s the thing about buyer groups (or tribes): they tend to have similar purchasing behaviors. They also tend to hear about new brands and products in the same ways. The more you learn about your buyers, the easier it will be to map out the typical path they take from knowing nothing about you to becoming a loyal customer. You’ll use this knowledge later when you lay out your product launch strategy.
- Your Competition: They’re out there, just waiting to get between your customers and your product. Get to know your competition before launch to get a leg up. In some industries it’s easy to pick out companies that will directly compete with your new product. If no one currently offers what you plan to sell, don’t think you’re free and clear: put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what they’d buy instead of your product. That’s your competition.
So what are they doing? How are they reaching your buyers? Is it effective? Review their marketing materials to find strengths and weaknesses. Where there’s a strength, evaluate how your product can stand up against it. Wherever there’s a weakness, determine how you’ll do better. The more you know about the competition, the easier it will be to see obstacles to success.
- Your Company: All of your product launch dreams have come true! Your new widget is flying off of shelves, the five-star reviews are pouring in, you’re all anyone can talk about.
Can you handle it?
Selling lots and lots of product is, clearly, a sign of a successful product launch. But it’s also a huge strain on a business’s infrastructure. Pre-launch is the time to take a good look at your resources. Do you have people, processes, and supply lines in place to deal with a marked increase in demand? Is your customer service department robust enough to take on a higher concentration of inquiries? How would your current organization respond to overnight growth? Having a plan in place for success is just as important as having a plan for failure.
So… how’s it looking? Do you know your customers, competition, and company well enough for a successful launch? Drop us a line and let us know!