Launching a new product could be one of the most important days in the life of your business: it represents so many opportunities. A new product can help you generate more revenue from your existing customers, by meeting even more of their needs and locking in their loyalty to you. It can also bring in new customers to your business, as your new product and its associated marketing campaign attracts their attention.
Perhaps the biggest, if subtlest, opportunity your product launch presents is to build your brand. Your brand is a vital resource – more than advertising or explicit ‘branding’, it’s the identity customers build up for your business that allows them to relate to it on a human level: to feel loyalty, to excitedly recommend it to friends, to feel like spending money with you flatters and reinforces their deeply held values.
Along with the opportunities, your launch day also brings with it significant risks. A failed product launch can do deep harm to your business costing you money, customers, and most importantly, damaging the brand you’ve built over time, instead of reinforcing it.
Most of the pitfalls can be summed up as ‘no-one buys your product’, but if you’re going to understand and avoid the risks, we need to get specific.
People Don’t Want Your Product
This is the most damaging problem because it demonstrates not a failure of marketing or product management, but a fundamental lack of understanding of what your customers want. You need to make sure your new product development process is infused by research. Don’t guess at what your customers want: go to them and find out the gaps they see in the market that you are in a position to fill!
This is a serious but more manageable problem: pricing is an important decision. It’s not just a matter of what your customers can afford, though this is an important consideration. You also need to think about the budget your new product took to create: the research, development, prototyping, and manufacture all add to the bill!
There’s also the damage the wrong price point can do to your brand: pricing your products too cheaply can undermine a brand image you’ve built up for quality or luxury, while a high price point can look out of place with a brand built on value!
No-One Hears About Your Product
This is the easiest problem to fix, but poor marketing can rob you of the momentum of your launch day. You need to ensure you know who your customers are, where they live, where they get their news, and what websites they browse. This allows you to target adverts directly to your customers, ensuring the people who need to know about your product launch are primed to buy, while controlling your advertising spend.