Profitable growth comes from an effective launch of a well-designed product or service, with proper support to nurture it into the market. There are a lot of choices on how, where and when to do a launch, as well as whether to make a big splash or use word-of-mouth. The launch plan needs to be part of the development plan, and some time spent invested in refining messages and approaches will pay a massive dividend. As with many topics here, large organizations can afford massive marketing budgets and launch plans, but they are not always necessary and sometimes they are counter-productive. In B2B, as discussed in B2B Sales , many industries are small, and big launches, whilst very satisfying and fascinating to manage, should be limited to really revolutionary introductions, where you are intending to address people you’ve never met.
Of course, there are agencies who specialize in market launches, and if it is a very big launch, then this is definitely worthwhile. In general, and especially if you are an SME in B2B, the following is generally important:
- Your target market is probably going to be approached directly in face-to-face meetings, or via trade journals and shows. This means the message has to be extremely clear, especially with your own people. – develop your “elevator pitch” carefully.
- Before you launch, test the incremental value of your offering. Discuss with one or two trusted customers (this is why it is always good to have a short list ready), to validate your own thoughts about value proposition.
- Do an internal launch within your own organization; this lets you “test” the messages so you can adjust them if necessary. It also ensures people are telling the same story.
- Don’t forget the “elevator pitch” or the “30-second commercial”; if you can’t explain your new offering in that time, then you have to figure out how to!
- If you are replacing something you do today, don’t forget that today’s business needs to be “positioned” clearly in marketing terms, as well. You don’t want to be saying “our new thing is the only thing that works” when 90% of your business for this year will probably come from the old one.
- Make a plan to minimize the impact of the “3rd year dip”. This can be the difference between a successful launch and something ending in Dead Man’s Gulch.
Finally: Marketing and product launches are great fun, and motivating for people to be involved with, so do remember to include people who might not normally be involved.