There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s career when, after years of development, focus groups, and prototypes, their first product is finally ready for the market. The only thing that needs to be done is to launch it. However, a product launch can be as complicated as the development process itself. Just like any business process, there are a lot of factors to consider, unknowns that must be brought to like. If you want to give your product the launch it deserves, you need to plan your next steps carefully.
But launching a product isn’t as simple as issuing a press release and calling it a day. You’re not the only company with a product to launch, so you have to compete for attention. You also have to consider other aspects such as timing, marketing vehicles, and branding. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is. The irony of living in a world where information is readily accessible is it’s a lot more difficult to get noticed.
Working with a market strategist can help you iron out some finer details, but it pays to know the basics of a product launch. Here are a few things you need to do to prepare your product for the market.
1. Identify your target consumer
The first thing you need to do is to identify your target consumer. This will help set the tone for your branding and marketing campaign. A campaign geared towards a younger demographic will be different from one aimed at older adults. The medium will be different, the language will be different, and the style will also be different.
A clear consumer definition will help you craft a more focused strategy. For instance, if your product is designed for men between the ages of 18-35, your message must be written in a way that elicits a positive response from them, A generic message rarely works and is only a waste of money.
2. Choose your marketing vehicle
Once you’ve identified your target consumer and have created segments through user personas, your next challenge is to find a way to reach them. This will require market research so you can properly understand the behaviors of your target consumer.
Let’s say your product is designed for tech enthusiasts. Marketing a niche product through the usual channels such as radio and television is an inefficient use of your money. Instead, you can choose to advertise on platforms you know are frequented by your target consumer. This could include websites, magazines, and even a targeted mailing list.
3. Show your value proposition
You already know what the product is for and what problem it solves. But you also need to ensure that your consumers know that. Unless your product is a new invention, it will probably be compared to other similar products in the market. That’s why you need to find key differentiators so consumers will understand your value proposition.
If you’re selling a computer, it’s not enough to say that you have all the usual bells and whistles of the product. You need to identify and market what makes your product unique. Maybe it’s an affordable laptop designed for students that doesn’t compromise on power and speed. Or you have a business computer with longer-than-average battery life. The goal is to get people to see your product’s true value.
4. Pilot test the product
Not all products are ready for general release right away. Sometimes, the most prudent approach is to test the waters first before jumping into the pool. If your brand is new or if your product hasn’t quite achieved the awareness you were hoping for, you can create some buzz by doing a limited release first.
While your goal might be to get your product in every store in the country, you need to prove its viability first. Start by arranging a release in a few key markets with high concentrations of your target consumer. That, coupled with favorable coverage, will help drive demand, and you can then roll out the product to the wider market.
These are just some factors you need to consider to ensure a successful product launch. I’m sure that you’re excited to finally sell your product to consumers. I completely understand: After years of development, you need to see a return on your investment. However, you also need to devote equal attention to the things you need to do to properly launch your product.