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PR and marketing are essential elements in your product’s success. However, when it comes to crafting a message and communicating it to the market, one size doesn’t fit all. Your marketing and PR strategy will differ based on your product’s age.
For a new product, you must define your target market and the people who would be best served by your product. You’ll need to clearly define your competitive differentiation so you can develop the value proposition and messaging. In addition to PR programs and marketing campaigns, an analyst-relations strategy is essential in successfully introducing the new product to the market and gaining recognition.
For an existing product, you’ve likely already done the above at the time of launch and now have a solid foundation to build momentum and brand recognition. Your goal will be to expand awareness, roll out feature enhancements, optimize customer experience, showcase customer successes that prove your credibility and build loyalty. You also want the sale of this product to lead to sales of your other products, and effective communication will help you achieve that.
Strategy points to consider for new products
As mentioned above, you’ll need to define your target market and value proposition. How will your product make your customers’ and prospects’ business and life better? What makes your offering superior to the competition’s? Once you’ve gotten this messaging “baked out,” you should test it with analysts, pilot customers and other interested parties. Using their feedback, you can consider how it resonates with them and what they’re most excited about and adjust accordingly.
When developing a new product-launch strategy, business leaders need to incorporate these key points into the process:
- Determine who your target customers are and the most effective ways to reach them. This differs a lot by audience; think DevOps versus the C-suite, for instance.
- Is there market research or third-party validation to support your product’s business case?
- What is the optimal timing for the launch and activities (before, during and after) to maximize visibility on launch day and beyond?
- What collateral is needed to support the launch?
- What references are available to support the launch with quotes, blogs and social media?
- Is your spokesperson media-trained on the key messages to deliver so that he or she creates the best media coverage?
Strategy points to consider for established products
With established products, you’ve (probably) already done the heavy lifting described above. Now, it’s time to take the next step. And this where the adage “show, don’t tell” really takes hold. Back up marketing claims with real-world success stories, customer testimonials and other third-party market validation so product claims go beyond just your word.
Think about what your channel partners need to optimize their sales and go-to-market strategy.
Use market research. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis can be used to make the business case and show how your product or approach is superior to the competition’s.
You’ll need to update your go-to-market strategy or feature set for established products from time to time. Understanding the essentials for this starts with listening to your customers. Interlink customer-success teams with marketing and product-development teams for a closed-loop feedback system on what customers need and want, what’s working and what’s not and “nice to have” versus “need to have” features. Another great tactic is to form a customer advisory board that meets regularly to understand top business pains and customer care-abouts.
Launching new products
To launch a new product effectively, you must know your target markets’ buying cycles. Different markets have different buying cycles. For instance, public-sector organizations like government and education have very specific timing on their annual budget and purchasing decisions. Also, take into consideration major tradeshows and events where customers and prospects will be gathering and time your launch plans accordingly.
You’ll need to have a fully integrated launch approach involving PR, sales and marketing. The goal is for earned, owned and paid media to work together to support sales. A well-thought-out PR campaign plays a significant role in lead generation for B2B companies and in transforming those leads into customers.
An ongoing PR program creates awareness and demand. As your PR team garners media and analyst coverage, these offer third-party validation and build credibility. Thought-leadership blogs and articles will help showcase executive visibility, and these can then be used to generate leads along with email marketing, search-engine marketing and owned content. Additionally, marketing and sales teams can use thought-leadership-bylined articles, case studies and feature articles as part of their efforts with prospects. All these streams should be designed to flow into the same river of awareness and revenue.
As lockdowns ease and economies rebound, companies have money to invest in products that will give them the advantage they need to succeed. B2B providers in particular face stiff competition, necessitating a properly planned marketing and PR campaign. Whether you are launching a new product or offering an established one, your coordinated effort will lay a firm foundation for your product to get the attention it deserves.