72 percent of all new products fail to meet revenue targets.

If your business is one of many counting on that shiny new product offering to finish 2014 strong or kick start the new year’s revenue, that’s the scariest statistic of all time. If you’re putting your proverbial eggs in a new product basket, marketing support is beyond imperative to success. In fact, Bob Shelton, retail veteran and industry expert, said in a Forbes interview on the subject that skimping on marketing support can lead to downright product launch catastrophe – and we tend to agree.

For new product launches to have the best chance of success – in this case, getting the new product in front of the right buying audience and moving them down the sales funnel – agency partners and internal marketing teams must be working from the same blueprint. Constructing a successful product launch isn’t easy, but it’s possible with the right plan.

Let the product launch groundbreaking ceremony begin, with the below 10 tips for product launch success:

  1. Do your research – Your first step: market research. Surveying customers and enlisting research from outside resources on the marketing demand for your product is imperative before launch. What demographic is most likely to buy? How are they buying? Before deciding when to launch, be sure to have a handle on upcoming industry announcements and events (like big brand launches or tradeshows), as well as big current events (voting day, royal wedding) that could steal the news spotlight. Also, define what success is to you. Is it brand awareness, online sales, new retail partnerships? You need to set realistic metrics against which to measure post-launch.
  2. Create collateral – Next, you’ll need a wealth of marketing assets to provide information for both visual and data-driven potential customers. Your internal team should be familiar will your final key messaging (reflected in a key messaging document), which drives the creation of a press release, fact sheet/tech spec document, reviewers’ guide, blog content announcing the product, video assets, digital ad creative, high-res product imagery and a dedicated landing page. If you start your campaign with a full arsenal of content, you’ll have a more cohesive public message and save critical time during launch day.
  3. Find advocates – Supply wish-list media targets with advanced product samples, interviews or pre-launch web demos to illicit expert feedback and lineup hands-on reviews. You can also call on YouTube reviewers and current customers to help tell your story. A quote from a beta tester who has had a positive product experience can strengthen a press release and offer context to press interviews on the product. Identify online influencers on social media with a strong following of your target customers, contacting them and giving them the same early access to information and samples.
  4. Spread the word – It’s show time. When you’re ready to spread the word to your target demographic, organize all of your pre-announcement activity and coordinate the mentions from your pre-briefed media and influencers, your marketing pieces (blog post, product video to YouTube, landing page, etc.) to coincide with the announcement of your new product’s availability via press release. Enlist your PR team or agency to make personalized outreach to target media on announcement week and secure those ever-important, third-party endorsements.
  5. Reach fans – Don’t forget about those who supported your brand before the new launch! Issue a tailored email to your subscriber list announcing the new product offering, pointing back to the overview video from tip #4. Consider executing a giveaway on your Facebook page to increase social engagement and buzz surrounding the product, or putting a few digital ad dollars behind your product video to give it further reach. Use complementary brand imagery across all channels to ensure brand consistency and draw in customers. After all, the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text and 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.
  6. Follow up – Don’t let your killer launch die after the initial announcement. Make contact with media targets who have shown interest, offering interviews with executives and product managers, tech troubleshooting if they are having a problem with the product, or contributed content that focuses on the industry vs. the product. Continuously engage with social influencers via one-on-one communication when you see an opportunity, as well as deliver consistent communication to current customers via email and social media.
  7. Engage partners – If your new product is available through online or instore retail partners, be a solid vendor and help with sell through. By tagging retail outlets in social media posts and running Facebook ads targeted at fans of those retailers, you can encourage sell-through. Your fans will know where to buy and your partners will appreciate the marketing push.
  8. Stay engaged – As your customers begin to receive and use your product, provide timely and accurate customer service via social media. Make sure your community manager has a working knowledge of the product or at least has someone that can help answer product questions. Especially with just-launched products, lackluster customer service can hinder full adoption.
  9. Measure success – How did your launch stack up against the goals you set at the beginning? Google Analytics can help provide insight into what marketing tactics worked based on traffic, referrals and sessions, and your agency partners should be part of that discussion.
  10. Humble brag – The best part: you get to show off. Promote secured media coverage through as many channels as possible, including via social media with paid media support, PDF or printed clip books of major coverage to share with retailers and partners, and build a press page on your website to showcase coverage.

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