Oct 07, 2021
Written by: Bree Meredith, Business Development Director, BI WORLDWIDE, and Walter Ruckes, Vice President, Client Services, BI WORLDWIDE
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As you plan for your next new product launch, remember there are no second chances. Think about how you can integrate your audiences and inspire them beyond awareness to advocacy.Scroll Down
Developing and launching new products or services is a foundational part of business. To differentiate ourselves from the competition, we need to innovate. But to capture market share, we need to successfully launch and sustain those innovations.
When it comes to new product launches, there are no second chances. According to McKinsey, product launches that lag in their first-year forecast will continue to trend below forecast in years two and three. Not only that, growth in market share is determined within the first six months of a product launch.
Traditional product launch approaches include a heavy focus on advertising, PR and marketing for end-user customers. Only after customer-facing tactics have been established do companies think about training or launch resources for employees, salespeople and channel partners.
But there is a huge benefit to taking a holistic view of a new product launch. Your best chance of success is to integrate all audiences. You need to:
Traditional launch plans revolve around training and product materials to create awareness, which are effective and necessary to build a foundation of understanding. But to create the momentum needed to succeed, your audiences need to go from understanding the product to committing and caring about it, bringing it into their everyday work or life. And for that, they need to feel emotionally connected to it.
That connection can be created in a variety of ways – immersive storytelling, live launch events, sales rewards or incentives, branded merchandise – but it needs to be cared for in every aspect of a launch. It’s an important part of engagement that we find many companies overlook.
There are so many ways to get the message out there – employee events, sales meetings, consumer activations, social media and PR, influencer marketing, training. All are important and serve a purpose but they need to be consistent, cohesive and well-timed. Framing the tactics in a pre-, during and post-launch plan will help you determine the right cadence and levers to use to create initial excitement and sustain momentum well after launch day.
No matter the industry, an integrated approach to product launches can drive measurable business results. Here are just a few examples:
When Delta Airlines decided to retire their beloved 747 and introduce their new A350 aircraft, they needed a launch plan that would cater to their enormous base of employees, salespeople and customers while caring for the variety of emotions that come with retiring an almost 50-year old product and launching another in its place. It was crucial to create a great impression with Delta employees and make them feel good about the future. They also needed to capture mindshare – and market share – among their loyal consumer base.
Launch tactics revolved around an experiential marketing roadshow across four U.S. cities, with unique VIP experiences in the sky and at each stop. The results?
This global company was gearing up for their biggest launch in a decade. They had ambitious goals for their audience of salespeople – learn about the product’s features and benefits, show they could converse about it and be inspired to go back into the field, bringing the product to their customers and patients and ensuring rapid adoption. As they prepared for their US sales launch event, COVID-19 forced them to change plans, turning a 2 ½ day in-person event into a 3-week virtual experience.
The virtual launch experience relied on a number of details to make it a success like a creative storytelling approach, consistent communications, a host to maintain continuity for the audience and gamified learning. This approach moved the event from passive learning to active participation, with reps showing they’ve not only learned about the product but could demonstrate their learning. The results?