When you’re excited to launch your product or company, getting bogged down in planning and semantics can take some of the emotional steam out of your engine. At the same time, the pressure of how much is riding on your launch is enough to make even the most seasoned executives sweat. With so much on the line, it’s obviously important that you get marketing right.
But where do you start? And how deep do you dive? Focusing on four essential marketing elements for your company or product launch will go a long way towards building a solid foundation for success. With these in place, you and your team can then consider and focus on additive elements that will take your launch from good to great.
Marketing Essential #1: Establish a unique brand identity
Your brand is incredibly important as it signifies who you are and how clients will come to recognize your business. Effectively articulating the primary elements of your brand not only helps your clients understand your mission and value-add, but also fosters a stronger sense of identity and alignment for your internal team.
At some point early on, it will be important to establish your firm’s visual brand and aesthetic elements (e.g. logo, color scheme, style). These choices will guide the full array of assets that will support your company or product at launch, including your website, packaging and supportive collateral.
Brand Identity – Logo
While a logo may not make or break your launch overall, it’s present on virtually everything you put out into the world. Consequently, logos should be well thought out and relatable to your business’ overall mission, personality and position. When creating a logo from scratch, these basic guidelines can help stimulate initial brainstorming and adherence to best practices.
In general, B2B launches should avoid over-the-top design and aim for simplicity that helps your value proposition break through. It’s important to also assess the visual direction of others in your market space, the various use cases in which your logo will be applied and how different designs will translate to various prints, whether that be in digital formats or printed offline.
If you don’t have the internal creative team to take this on, marketing agencies or design firms can work with your team to create something that’s entirely unique to you.
Brand identity – Color
Color selection is important because there’s a great deal of psychology involved with how colors are perceived by an audience and how they make them feel. Colors can emote different things for your audience, even if they’re not consciously aware of it. Colors and color combinations can elicit positive feelings like happiness, warmth and love, or they can stir more negative feelings, like stress, coldness or boredom.
Certain colors are also more prevalent in specific industries, so it’s important to research similar companies to yours, see if there are any color consistencies and decide how closely your brand should align or purposefully misalign with them to properly stand out.
While performing a psychological introspection into your brand color choice isn’t a necessity, it’s an important thought process to consider if you want to take your launch to the next level.
- Elements like a logo and the colors that accompany your website and products are essential brand elements for your launch
- Create a logo that is original to your brand while also simple, even if that means bringing in outside help and expertise
- Choose a color scheme that aligns with what your business offers and appeals to your target audience, both consciously and subconsciously
- Signature design flourishes and similar visual hallmarks can also become powerful symbols of your brand identity
Marketing Essential #2: Develop Effective Messaging
The words and language that accompany your launch communicate your overall tone, sincerity and value as a business. While colors and branding can be less conscious and more subversive, words directly resonate with your audience and leave a lasting impression.
Below, we discuss a few components of the brand messaging framework that you and your team should put in place for your launch. If you’re launching a product or service within an already established business, be sure the new launch messaging you create is well-aligned with the rest of your businesses’ communication and materials.
Core Value Proposition
A great place for your team to start is the core value proposition. As the name implies, this statement is going to deliver the “core” of what your product or brand does and the reason your audience should choose it over other alternatives. This statement shouldn’t be vague or verbose—it should provide specific deliverables and quantitative reasons as to why your company or product is a top choice.
The value proposition can take a variety of stylistic forms, but it’s typically longer and elaborates on your core value proposition. You can even break down your value proposition into steps, so your audience knows exactly what it will take for them to yield results.
Points of Differentiation
During your launch, you should continue to return to the idea of “why you, not them.” What makes your launch different? What can you offer that businesses in your industry can’t? What makes your company or product unique?
This is unlike a competitive comparison because you’re not directly pointing to how you differ from other companies. Instead, you’re highlighting what makes your offer special. For one, in today’s social and highly visible culture, people like to feel like they are a part of something when they’re investing in your brand and company. Giving your business a unique perspective will help your prospects see how your business offering is something that can’t be found elsewhere.
If you’re not innately sure why your business stands apart from the rest, try thinking about some of these core components: experience, quality, service, pricing and reputation. If you offer excellent service, highlight it. If your pricing is fair or less expensive, let people know. If your clients can see that you take pride in what you offer, then they’ll naturally be drawn to your launch.
Often, your audience’s first exposure to your business will be your website. Whether they land there organically, through paid advertising or just by word of mouth, one of the first places they will most likely want to navigate is the “About Us.”
It will depend on your business and the tone you decided on, but some of the most compelling “About Us” pages are often creative, succinct and human. This is an opportunity for you to speak to your audience in a way that is authentic to your business and meaningful to your clients. Maybe you want to share some of your company’s history or give more insight into your facts and figures. This is your opportunity to showcase the personality of your company.
- Create a core value proposition that is succinct and deliberate
- Discover and highlight what makes your company or product unique
- Show your businesses’ personality and human side when creating your “About Us”
Marketing Essential #3: Produce Supportive Launch Materials
Certain content marketing assets work best for a product or company launch. When organizing a launch, you want materials that are going to directly and clearly convey what you’re launching and why it matters. Rather than using content pieces that may bury the lead of what you’re promoting, like a blog post or case study, you want materials that let clients know exactly what they’ll get out of your launch.
A general overview brochure or sell sheet that accurately and genuinely speaks to your launch is an almost universally needed asset for your external audiences as well as your internal team. Developing such a brochure will leverage work from the brand identity and messaging essentials noted earlier, giving your team a practical way to put these words and visuals into action and an asset that can be used in a wide variety of ways.
What makes a strong sell-sheet?
To create a strong sell-sheet, ensure it’s limited to one single page (front and back if needed). This makes it easy to distribute and easy for clients to read and consume. Limiting yourself to this space also helps you place focus on only the most important information. Strategically selected and placed images can also be powerful supports for getting your message across.
You also want to answer the very important question of “Why should one choose this product or company?” Clients and buyers are being marketed to constantly, so you want to simply and directly point out why your product or company deserves their time and attention.
If a potential client or partner decides they want to learn more about your company or product, make sure they have the appropriate contact information on the sell sheet to do so. Be professional, reachable and clear about next steps.
- Use an overview brochure as a tool for both your external audiences and your internal team
- Sell sheets should ideally be one page (front and back) and include clear paths for learning more
- Effectively communicating your company or product’s value proposition is your primary goal
Marketing Essential #4: Outreach Plan
With your brand identity defined, effective messaging established and supportive assets created, it’s now time to develop a solid plan for getting these elements in the path of your desired audiences.
Selecting the Right Channels
Much like the rest of marketing, there’s a lot of options when it comes to which channels you want to reach your audience through. You can use paid advertising, social media, emails—the list goes on and on.
When you’re launching a product or company, first make sure you have a good understanding of your different buyer personas. Once you know who you’re trying to reach, this will help you research where you can best find them. See what others in your industry are doing to reach their audience. For B2B companies, social channels like Instagram may not make sense since your potential and current clients aren’t on that platform as prevalently for business needs.
You’ll also want to test and try different things, giving yourself a mix of channels to see what works and what doesn’t. Corralling yourself into one channel can mean potentially missing a whole segment of clients you didn’t necessarily expect.
Being Present and Available
While your marketing materials can illustrate your businesses’ personality, meeting with potential customers face-to-face at events is a powerful tool in making your launch feel more authentic to everyone involved.
Being present at the most popular events in your industry helps you not only share your marketing material and brand with a wider audience, it also supplies real time feedback for your team. By talking to and working with your audience one-on-one, you’ll see exactly what does or doesn’t work with your launch and identify needed tweaks or adjustments moving forward.
The Power of Influencers
Just like you want to research your potential clients, you’ll also want to think about those influential people already in your market. Influencers are highly visible people or companies that can help you leverage your reach on certain channels. Finding influencers isn’t a necessary step for a launch, but it can help take things above and beyond.
If you know who your audience is already listening to and that they trust a certain brand or leader within your industry, reach out to that contact and provide them with your launch materials. If they’re interested and want more information, your team can develop a partnership with them to promote your product or company through videos, social media or general endorsements on marketing content.
- Communicate your launch through channels that will reach your audience or intended buyer personas
- Leveraging influencers and events can be a valuable tool for building awareness and establishing credibility
- Create an integrated plan that details the full array of how you will engage with your desired audiences.
Knowing what elements of your launch to focus on can help make your launch feel more streamlined and organized. Before you launch, make sure you address these minimum marketing essentials. Once you have these basics checked off, consider what else you can add – increasing the range of assets, adding special design touches, and amplifying your outreach efforts. Doing so can help give your launch a lift above the rest of the market and build momentum for the rest of your business’s future.