Planning A Product Launch? Here’s the Ultimate Checklist to Consider
What is a product marketing strategy?
Launching a new product into the market can prove to be a big fiasco in the absence of an appropriate product marketing strategy. It involves a series of efforts that are undertaken to get the products into consumers’ hands. The product marketing plan generally begins with a concept or idea and then moves into different stages of development including pricing, testing, and creating a sales plan. Every department in an organization must be a part of developing the product marketing strategy as each team is capable of providing inputs/suggestion that may be overlooked by the other.
Why is product marketing important?
Today’s dynamic market demands modern organizations to have a team that is dedicated to solely keeping a close watch and understanding the market and buyer needs. This knowledge can then be leveraged by companies to execute strong sales and marketing strategies. Product marketing strategy helps to understand the needs and behavior of buyers in a particular market in relation to the company’s offerings. On a more tactical level, a product marketing plan is tasked to work with internal teams to ensure readiness and thereby conduct successful product launches.
Key elements of a product marketing strategy
A successful product marketing strategy involves six key elements, this includes –
Developing a strong product is one of the most vital and first steps involved in building a product marketing strategy. It is essential for organizations to ensure that the target customers are kept in mind while developing a product and it aligns with their needs. Customers expect to meet some need or solve a problem when they purchase a particular product. Understand what these needs/problems are and identify if the company’s product has the ability to meet their needs. Down the road, finding answers to these will also help determine the right communication strategy for promotion activities. Each product feature should be aimed at solving a common business challenge.
Products are developed based on customer preferences and needs. Similarly, while developing a product marketing strategy, the organization must make efforts to understand their audience better. Information must be gathered about the audience including- age, gender, education, and marital status. This can be done through direct interviews with the customers or by setting up a phone call to learn more about them. This helps companies to form a narrative and create buyer personas. Companies can use this data to market to one buyer persona at a time rather than sending out common messages to the mass audience.
One of the most essential steps in a product marketing strategy is to communicate with the audience. Customer intelligence experts from Infiniti Research suggests that a good majority of customers feel emotionally connected to a brand when they stay connected to the brand in the form of messaging. An important point to bear in mind here is that the product messaging should be in the form of a narrative as they are relatable and resonate with the audience. The product’s unique selling proposition and the value offered to the users can be used as a key tool to craft an effective story.
Product marketing strategy cannot be formulated single-handedly formulated by a single person or team in the company. It requires collective efforts of the entire organization. However, bringing multiple teams on the same page is a challenging task. Teams across the organization should be educated and informed about their role in the product marketing strategy. Having a product roadmap can prove to be highly beneficial here. This helps to align all the teams and internal stakeholders in the company by providing them a summary of the product marketing strategy and guiding them in each step of the process.
Selling a new product isn’t easy. Strategic promotion is the right way to get customers to buy a new product. The company’s promotion plan must be aimed at getting the message out to the right audience at the right time. Furthermore, it is also critical to choose the right channels of communication. Analyze and identify the platforms on which the company’s target audience spend the maximum time. The product marketing strategy should ensure that the products are promoted through channels that make the most sense for the brand and audience.
The last step in the product marketing process and one of the most critical aspects of a product marketing strategy is to analyze and track the results. Once the product marketing strategy is implemented and the product has hit the retail shelves, the next step is to understand how successful the product is in the market. The metrics to track here include website form submissions, email clicks, reach, and conversions. The gaps in meeting customer demands can be identified in this stage and necessary changes can be made by the brand in the nick of time.
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What is a product development strategy?
The market today is far more competitive than it used to be probably a decade ago. Single product designs are becoming obsolete, causing revenues to falter. Savvy companies have realized that product evolution and modification are inevitable to stay at the top of the game in the industry. An effective product development strategy is essential for this. Let us first understand what it is.
Product development strategy definition
A product development strategy can be defined as a strategy that involves developing new products or making modification to existing products and then offering them to current or new markets. A product development plan or a product launch strategy is employed when there is no scope for growth in the current market with the company’s existing offerings. Here, the companies have three choices to make- create an updated version of the current product, introduce a new product, or cease the production of an existing non-performing product.
Benefits of product development strategy
Product development strategy acts as a framework for introducing new products or for improving the performance, cost and quality of existing ones. One of the key product development strategy advantages is that it helps companies achieve their business goals including venturing into new markets, selling more quantities to current customers, or winning customers from competitors. However, a new product development strategy requires careful planning in order to minimize the risk of costly mistakes. Some of the other notable product development strategy advantages include:
Win business from competitors
An effective product development strategy proves to be helpful in winning businesses from the competitors who are unable to meet the new performance levels of the company. A product development plan also helps improve performance and thereby raise revenue and profits by charging higher prices. Gaining firsthand information from sales representatives or the consumers themselves will be useful in identifying the performance factors that are most important to the market.
Reduced cost and improved competitiveness
A good product development strategy should take into account the best ways to reduce costs. When the costs are lower, the company is at liberty to lower their prices and consequently win new business. Reduced costs also contribute to increasing the profit margin. How to achieve reduced costs? The product development teams can attain this by eliminating product features that the market does not need, using lower-cost materials, and simplifying the manufacturing process by redesigning that product.
Improve reputation and goodwill
The company’s product development plan must include targets for quality improvements. This helps boost sales. It must be also ensured that you deal with companies who have their own set of pre-defined quality standards. Making quality improvements as a part of the company’s product development strategy also makes it easier for companies to enter the markets with stringent quality and regulatory requirements.
New product development strategy: Key questions to answer
Question #1: who will lead the new product development strategy?
Although a company might possess all the expertise and capacity required in developing a new product development strategy, there are chances that they might be consumed with other projects or lack specialized expertise to address specific challenges. A key component of a company’ product development plan will be to list out who will participate and how it will be managed. Companies can opt from the following options:
In-house: The product development strategy and the project management are executed by the company’s own resources.
Outsource: An external partner is employed to design the product, manage the process, and source and coordinate the work of additional suppliers. The company’s employees provide them with business oversight, identify requirements, and contribute feedback to the project.
Hybrid: In some cases, it becomes more feasible to manage the project in-house and then coordinating the work of a design firm and one or more suppliers. This is a mix of moth in-house and outsourcing functions.
Question #2: How to validate the product design?
Commercial failure is one of the biggest risks associated with a new product development strategy. Even if the product development is on-time and meets the specs and budget requirements, chances are that the sales will fall flat. So, throughout the product development lifecycle it is vital to seek validation of market demand, the product’s value proposition, and the product design and features. Some of the main strategies to achieve this include:
Crowdfunding: Use a popular crowdfunding platform depending on the product category. This may prove to be highly effective to promote your idea early in the development cycle, attract investment, and validate the appeal of the product idea.
Prototyping: Companies can use prototypes at several stages of the product development strategy to demonstrate the product idea, gain feedback, and secure lead customers.
Low-volume tooling: Major investments for hardware products include production tooling and setup. Companies can start by building less-expensive, short-life tooling for a low-volume production run of your product in order to facilitate a market test.
Question #3: What is the best business model for acquiring customers?
The company’s customer acquisition and revenue models may have implications for the product design. Products that work on modern technology such as IoT consist of ecosystems of hardware, applications, connectivity, data storage, and data feeds. This expands the company’s range of possible business models, here are the options you need to consider:
- Subscriptions for data feeds, storage, or hosting
- Opportunities to increase user engagement and the network effect, exposing
- Purchase, lease, or metered usage for hardware or application components
- Free basic functionality with paid upgrade opportunities
- Recurring revenue opportunities through consumables, maintenance, and upgrades