Building consumer demand – steps to effective new product introduction

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Bringing a new product to market is complex. You work through the product/market fit, a feature set, operational concerns and many other issues in the hope that your launch will be a success.

However, while focusing on these, many forget one of the key challenges – overcoming the “education gap” of your buyers, that is critical to building what your product must have to flourish: consumer demand.

Three stages of effective new-product introduction

Building demand for your product takes careful planning over 12 to 18 months. During this time, you will be targeting different audiences with different kinds of messages. While each is unique, the goal is the same: to help them understand the fundamental challenges that your product helps solve and how it can have a positive impact on their situation.

Stage 1: Pre-Launch (up to six months before launch)

During pre-launch, your goal should be to build excitement about the future. Sometimes this means simply raising awareness of what will be possible and how they will be able to solve a problem they may not have known existed or could be addressed. Use a challenge and solution based approach to your content to paint this vividly, and you will go a long way to nurturing an early interest in your product.

You also need your internal audience excited about what’s coming. If your sales team gets behind the product you will have a much better chance of success. Engage your team early and provide them with regular training on product, industry and competitors in the category. 

In this stage your tactics should include:

  • Internal previews – and sales training
  • Trade publication content submissions using a challenge & solution approach
  • Customer invitations to preview webinars to see what’s coming
  • Recruitment of pilot or beta group members with free trial for product feedback, testimonials and reference once the product launches

Stage 2: Early Launch (up to six months after launch)

Your second stage begins the day you launch and continues for the next six months as you work to introduce your product to a broader audience. Here you are looking to influence a more pragmatic early majority customer base who needs more proof points to help in their purchase decision. Your content and messaging need to reflect this by still showing what’s possible but start to make it as real as possible.

This is where the customer testimonials and early case studies you nurtured within your pilot customers can be so helpful. You also need to ensure that your team has the tools they need to effectively sell into the market.  

In this stage your tactics should include:

  • Effective product messaging
  • Site content and download/engagement tools
  • Case studies and testimonials
  • Robust sales tools including sell sheets, FAQs and capability slides for the sales team

Stage 3: Late Launch (6+ months after launch)

The final stage of your launch should be centered around connecting with customers or prospects who may have missed out at the beginning of your launch. Sometimes this is simply a matter of timing, and sometimes it’s more a case of the buyer not wanting to be the first on a new platform.

Now your content needs to help educate these buyers that your product is not just a smart choice, it’s also a safe choice. Here you can use your product’s early successes in your messaging and leverage third-party endorsements to help move past their objections.    

This is also an excellent time for in-depth conversations with renewal customers about add-ons and product-level upgrades. 

In this stage your tactics should include:

  • Marketing automation messaging for renewal customers
  • Re-marketing campaigns for prospects that weren’t ready at launch.

Bringing a new product to market can be challenging, but if you focus on educating your buyers on how your product can help them solve their needs and challenges you will be off to a good start.

Elevated thinking, emailed weekly

by Shade Wilson

Director of Digital Strategy for Elevation. Shade has more than 15 years experience in digital marketing, is an active speaker and is a past president of the American Marketing Association - Richmond Chapter. He was also the founder of Scalability Project.

Topics: Marketing Strategies