One of the biggest steps a company typically makes is during a new product launch. However, this process is fraught with potential mistakes, especially when it comes to marketing the product. Luckily, these mistakes can be typically avoided by preparing and planning out each marketing step beforehand. This article goes through each step of a marketing lifecycle in a product launch, what it entails, and how exactly business should prepare their marketing plans.
Launching a new product is a big step for a company. Even if you have gone through a product launch before, each launch comes with its own unique needs based on the product you are marketing. And every product, no matter how good it is, always goes through what is known as the product or marketing lifecycle.
The lifecycle of a product consists of four stages, from the initial launch to its eventual decline. Of course, no company wants to think of their product hitting the decline phase, but it happens to every product sooner or later and is a natural part of the process. This is why the introduction or launch phase is so critical. If you want your product to garner attention and remain popular for years to come, you’ve got to have a successful launch.
Before even manufacturing your product, you should conduct research to ensure you are creating something that is in demand. If you design a product that isn’t desirable and that your customers don’t need, it may not even make it past the launch phase of its lifecycle. However, if you believe you have a product that your customers will want, there is no reason why it can’t have a long and successful lifecycle with the right launch and marketing strategy.
Steps to Take When Launching a New Product
Every product launch needs a checklist to keep you and your team on task and working towards the same goal. Even the most experienced product managers should create a checklist and a strategy to ensure a successful launch.
Creating a checklist or a guide of the steps you need to take for each product launch will help you get an overall picture of the details of the launch and help you prepare for any hiccups or mistakes. It allows you to plan everything out step by step to ensure everyone is on the same page and knows what needs to get done.
Trademark Your Product
To start, every product needs a name and a trademark. While this might seem like an obvious part of the process, it’s not unheard of for a company to name their product only to find themselves facing a lawsuit from another company with a product of the same name.
There is a lot of thought and research that should go into naming your product. You want it to stand out and appeal to your target audience, and you also want to make sure it’s available. A quick search for other trade names or trademarks can help you avoid a potential legal battle in the future.
Research Your Target Audience
You should always have a deep understanding of your target customer and audience before launching a product. Generalized marketing might gain some attention initially, but it won’t work in the long run. If you want to get an audience’s attention and keep it, you’ve got to know who you are targeting.
What does your target customer want? What do they need? What do they desire? What appeals to them? How will your product meet their needs? These are all questions you should consider before coming up with a marketing strategy and content for your product. Your customers will ultimately determine the success of your product, so you want to get the marketing and the branding for your product just right.
Determine Your Marketing Strategy
Your strategy will help you decide where and how you will market your new product. Once you know your audience, you should have a good idea of the best places and platforms to advertise on. This can include social media, email, your website and blog, print advertising, and other forms of digital advertising.
It can also be helpful to look at what your competitors are doing and what is working best for them. Use the information you gained from researching your target audience combined with the information you get from looking at your competitors to help you come up with a successful marketing plan. Just make sure it is unique to your brand, product, and target audience and is not simply a copy of what someone else is doing.
Develop the Content
Once you know where and how you will market your product, your next step is to create the content you will use—and the more authentic, the better. Most audiences these days prefer content that feels natural and relatable over traditional advertising. Try going for content they can engage with, such as video content on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
Having a mix of content to extend your reach is good; just make sure that everything you create has purpose and meaning. Quality is always better than quantity. Advertising your product all over the place will initially get people’s attention, but if your content doesn’t connect with your target audience, then it won’t matter how many places you are advertising.
While a test launch isn’t necessary, it is highly beneficial if you want to make the most of your product launch. Once your marketing strategy and content are created, a soft launch can help you create an initial awareness and a buzz about your product. It also allows you to take feedback from initial customers to make any necessary changes or adjustments to your product before you officially launch.
Prepare Your Team
Once any necessary adjustments are made to your product or your marketing content and strategy, prepare your team for the official launch. This particularly involves prepping sales and customer service teams with best practices for helping customers with any questions or issues that may arise after purchasing your new product.
Product Launch and Launch Event
Creating a launch event or party is a great way to garner even more attention for your product. An event is exciting and engaging and will make your product seem like a big deal. Send out digital invites and create a countdown on your website. You can even create some launch event teaser campaigns and create contests and promos to get your customers even more excited. From there, all that’s left to do is officially launch your product.
After the Launch
If you have a successful product launch, you should see the product start to move through the other phases of its lifecycle. After introducing your product with the launch, the next phase is the growth of your company and product. This is when popularity and interest in your product grow and you experience revenue increases.
Eventually, with time, your product will reach a plateau, which is the maturity stage of the life cycle. Your product will likely be competing with many other similar products at this stage, and you may need to adjust the pricing to incentivize customers to choose your product over others. There is no telling how long it will be until you reach this phase, but it is a natural part of the product life cycle process.
The final stage of a product’s lifecycle is the decline. This is typically when companies struggle to maintain interest in their product, and they may have to discontinue it to make room for new products. However, some companies have found that a product makeover and re-launch can create awareness and interest in the product again, but it is not guaranteed. This is why it’s good to release new products before an old product loses attention—to ensure your company doesn’t plateau or decline when a product does.
The saying that all good things come to an end is fitting when discussing a product’s lifecycle. Not all companies have to discontinue a product that has plateaued or gone into decline; it depends on whether they can afford to keep it in production while also working on other new products.
However, understanding the product marketing lifecycle can help your company better prepare for the decline when it happens. It can also help you understand the importance of the product launch so you can make the most of it to ensure the success of your product for as long as possible.
illustration: marketing illustrations by Storyset