Marketing Insights

5 Common Product Launch Mistakes—and How Not to Make Them

Got a product launch coming up? Follow these keys tips to make best use of your time and better manage your budget.

Regardless of the type of organization you work for, a mainstay for B2B marketers is managing  product launches. Stakes are often high, with so much budget and time riding on making prospects aware of a new or updated offering and supporting sales opportunities.

When putting together your next marketing plan around a product launch, don’t fall for these common missteps. 

Mistake 1: Not Identifying the Right Message Early Enough

All good product marketing begins with understanding your prospect’s pain point and the product’s unique value proposition. So well before you jump into building sales collateral or planning any media, it’s vital to first ensure your messaging is effective.

Talk to existing customers, prospects and your product developers while the product is still in the development stage. These early conversations will help you better understand the market need, the product’s capabilities and differentiators and nuances of the buying landscape. Once you develop this understanding, only then can you anticipate and strategize around information needs.

Mistake 2: Underestimating the Needs of Internal Stakeholders

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in building catchy tag lines and flashy campaigns for prospects that you may overlook your other key audience: those across your organization who need a unified understanding around the product launch. Be sure to allocate time for developing internal presentations that share key messaging, address FAQs that your staff may come across and provide details on the launch plan. Yes, ensuring comprehensive sales team collateral is a must—but you also want to be sure customer service reps, technicians and any other public-facing roles are fully in the loop. (Tip: Be sure to monitor FAQs and regularly talk with sales and service staff even after your product launch.The insights you receive will help in refining messaging and addressing any changes in product value proposition as needed.)  

Mistake 3: Going on Autopilot with Audience

We all get into patterns with pulling the same lists and booking the same types of media. But a product launch should receive careful review. Consider how the decision makers and influencers involved with this product could be different than the norm. For example, should you be ramping up print ads, paid social and other “awareness” placements in trade media to get the attention of those who won’t be as familiar with your company and its products? Should you be reaching out to other job titles? Would the product be of interest to new verticals?

Mistake 4: Planning the “Big Reveal” Around Shows

An air of mystery is exciting. And keeping competitors off your scent sounds great, right? But planning a big reveal around a trade show comes at too heavy of a cost: You’ll likely be overlooked by those attendees and trade media who are planning their itineraries for the event.

The most successful product launches come with a strong lead up of promotion and support for press coverage. (Tip: For best practices on working with editors, see “Top Tips to Get Editors to Listen.” )

Mistake 5: Failing to Pace Yourself

A successful product launch takes months of planning and promotion, so it's no wonder that some organizations may be tempted to dump nearly all of their resources toward these efforts. But you can’t lose sight of the rest of your pipeline. Be disciplined about allocating time and spend across all of your projects. It’s important to keep your brand front and center in routine intervals and nurture prospects around your traditional product line as well so you don’t lose hard-won ground.

5 Common Product Launch Mistakes—and How Not to Make Them

Written by

Sarah Loeffler

Sarah Loeffler is Director of Media Innovation and Marketing Insights at PMMI Media Group

sloeffler@pmmimediagroup.com

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