Launching a new product or service requires a lot of time, financial resources and energy to come to fruition, and success is not always guaranteed. However, you can take steps to develop a strategic, comprehensive plan that improves your chances of an impactful product launch that boosts your brand awareness, lead generation and, ultimately, sales.
Here are ten questions to consider prior to your B2B product launch to ensure alignment with company goals:
1. What are your goals for the next 1-5 years?
Getting attached to a product before determining its place in your organization’s product roadmap can be a costly mistake. Don’t get swept up in a flurry of emotion and excitement without first mapping out or revisiting company goals for the near and distant future. Purposeful alignment between your new product and company vision is essential to making sure you don’t waste valuable resources on a project that ultimately does not serve long-term success.
2. Who is the audience?
Once you’ve determined that your product aligns with your goals and overall vision, it’s vital to determine whether or not it’s valuable to other people. Even if you think your product is a perfect fit for your company goals, it cannot be successful unless there is a market need for it.
Developing buyer personas can help determine who the audience for your product is and whether or not they even exist. Those personas can also be leveraged down the line when it’s time to develop personalized content marketing strategies.
3. What are your audience’s pain points?
Instead of using the “tell and sell” method to convince your customers they need your product, build a product that your customers really need. Have discussions with focus groups, use open-ended questions and tune in to research and unsolicited feedback to uncover the details of their pain points and determine if they are major issues or minor inconveniences.
If you have a customer base who is already using existing products and services, you can also reach out to them and get new product insights with engaging surveys.
4. How are you uniquely addressing these pain points?
Now that you’ve identified your customers’ pain points, how are you going to solve them more effectively, more cheaply or more quickly than the solutions that already exist?
Your product should bring something new to the market that differentiates it from competition. Or, if you are creating a product in a new space, the pain point needs to be big enough that addressing it adds lots of value over maintaining the status quo.
5. Have you developed messaging and positioning that resonates with your audience?
Once you have established how you will solve audience pain points and add value to their companies and their lives, you must craft a corporate message that speaks to them and builds clear connections between what your product offers and how it will benefit your target audience.
What do your customers need to hear to get their attention and build their trust? Connect with your target audience by developing a messaging strategy that speaks to them on both a company- and role-specific level to best optimize the buyer’s journey.
6. Do you have customers you can leverage?
As you develop your messaging, consider whether or not you have a current customer base who would benefit from this product. Will the product expand or integrate capabilities from other products you offer? How will messaging and strategy differ for existing customers, and how much time do you want to devote selling to them?
Launching a product from scratch is an uphill climb, and tapping into an established customer base who already knows and trusts your brand can lay a solid foundation for a successful product launch.
7. What resources do you already have, and what do you need to acquire?
The resources you’ll need for your product launch vary depending on the factors and circumstances affecting it.
Is the launch for a new product that will need customized messaging and execution? Does it piggyback on an existing product? Have you done a product launch like this before? How much time and energy are you willing to pull from your staff before finding outside help?
Knowing the answers to these questions sooner rather than later will keep you from walking into the office a week before launch with a sinking feeling that you simply do not have the necessary time, expertise or tools on hand to be successful.
8. What is your timeframe?
Ideally, you should give yourself at least three months to properly plan, build and execute a successful product launch. However, it’s important to know whether or not there are hard dates or events that need to be considered:
Is the product launch going to coincide with a company or industry event?
Will the product really be ready by the launch date?
Plan a timeline with plenty of flexibility and padding to mitigate unpredictable factors to guarantee your launch date will stay on track.
9. Can you leverage product launch content across other channels?
As content marketing continues to play an increasingly valuable role for marketing teams, product launches also offer opportunities to create a wealth of new content to leverage.
While product overview videos, press releases, social media content, email campaigns and other content and visual elements may be specific to launch day, evaluate whether or not there are content pieces that can be turned into blog posts, articles, webinars, guide books or templates for new email campaigns.
Consider leveraging online advertising platforms, such as Google AdWords and LinkedIn Ads, to amplify the reach of our product launch by promoting strategic assets (i.e. your product overview video).
10. How are you going to follow up with the product launch?
Planning the launch is important, but following up after the launch is crucial. Without a rock-solid follow-up strategy, all the buzz and energy created by your product launch will have no productive path to follow, leaving you back at square one.
Developing a comprehensive integrated marketing plan that addresses all your communication channels (email, content marketing, social media, PR, etc.) should be a part of your product launch planning so they can be rolled out quickly and smoothly for the launch itself and for the months to come when it is in the market.
Need help preparing for your product launch? Check out our work and let us know if Launch Marketing can assist you with your endeavors!