Product Launches: 6 marketing musts

A jolt. That’s what you want from your product launch. An impact that will ripple through your customer base, resound with your prospects, and shake up your competitors. Smart, strategic launches always create a jolt. It’s the way to jumpstart a product, gain market share, enhance a brand.

But how do you create that jolt?

Whether your launch is for an entirely new product or a line extension, these six marketing musts will put you on the path to success.

1. Name your product

In most cases, naming is the essential first step. Choose a name that’s memorable, relevant, and easy to pronounce. Help your product development team let go of that comfortable “working” name they’ve used during development. Also avoid acronyms or straightforward descriptive labels. They rarely impress customers or distinguish you from competitors.

If your product is a line extension, make sure the name fits within your existing brand structure — and offers you possibilities for product add-ons. Always make sure any name decision supports your master brand.

2. Articulate your brand

Your new name needs presence, personality, visual impact. Create a distinctive wordmark or logo to represent your new product — and promote its benefits. Then consistently apply this identity to your social media campaigns, marketing literature, digital and print promotions, packaging, tradeshow exhibits. If your product is a line extension, make sure the new identity works within your existing visual system. A unified look preserves brand identity and communicates market leadership.

3. Insist on effective creative

Once you have the fundamental building blocks — a name and an identity — you need something very simple, yet frequently elusive: a great idea. Your launch promotions should be as innovative as your product. Don’t negate countless hours of product development with a ho-hum launch. To inspire and inform your target audience, create a powerful theme and visuals.

4. Tier your message

Resist the impulse to say everything everywhere. You need one big idea — that will stick. Support that idea with three to five key messages that position you competitively. The next tier down should be product features and details, such as FAQs and competitive comparisons. It’s critical to control the flow of information. You’ve heard it before: If you try to emphasize everything, you end up emphasizing nothing. Too many great new products get bogged down at launch in endless detail.

5. Execute via multiple channels

A press release is not a product launch. A single promotion is not a product launch. A strategic launch includes social media channels, digital and print advertising, direct marketing, email campaigns, website updates, product literature, sales promotions, employee communications, and tradeshow exhibits. Did we overlook anything? If you do not plan for multiple channels, your marketing jolt could be a mere tremor.

6. Collaborate from the start

Product launches are multi-staged processes that require lots of players and lots of planning. To achieve the maximum marketing effect, begin collaborating with your creative team at least four to six months in advance. Any less time and you risk short-circuiting your well-laid plans. And remember to stay loose and flexible: Rigidity can easily overpower a great idea that wasn’t part of the plan at the outset.