Launching a product can be one of the most exciting but stressful experiences for a CMO. Not only that, but it can be hugely risky too—on average 40% of all product launches fail.
Understanding how to launch a product successfully is, therefore, essential. Five by Five recently conducted a study of 730 senior marketers in the U.K, U.S, and Australia, and asked for their views on product launches.
We’re all aware of the significant impact that digital and social have had on the marketing landscape. If you look back five years ago, you could argue that it has changed almost beyond recognition. The study found this to be the number-one impact on launch marketing, significantly changing the way launches are managed and measured, and it has opened up much greater opportunity for marketers.
But with every new opportunity come new challenges. The risk of failure and pressure to make the right decisions are commonplace. That, combined with senior marketers spending an average of 40% of their time working on launches, has highlighted a need for some guiding principles to help maximise launch success.
So here are five key concepts that CMOs can follow to help ensure their product launch is a success this year.
1. Understand The Global Customer
Even if your initial core target audience base is local, it’s important to think globally.
The study revealed that two thirds of marketers now use social listening to support new product development—seeing it as a more cost-effective way of gathering in-house data and insights, listening to and identifying consumer needs.
Brands and their CMOs should now be thinking on a global scale for their product or service and scope market demand and competition on a much broader level. Research what is being offered on international platforms and look at other markets and categories for inspiration. If you can overlay these conversations with sales patterns, you can often expose locally nuanced opportunities for your product in new territories.
Success will come from understanding your global customer, their desires and needs, and how your new product will help them resolve a struggle or fulfil an aspiration.
2. Align Departments
Thirty eight per cent of marketers stated that slow processes were one of the three biggest threats to the success of a launch. Launches have become more multi-faceted, this means that effective communication internally is crucial for success.
In 2017, brands need to recognise the importance of launching from the inside out. Overcoming slow corporate processes and a lack of solid internal communication is now more important than ever. It only takes one break in the chain for failure to occur. If customer-facing teams aren’t fully aware of the launch and brought into the process early enough, this may impact negatively on the customer experience.
Appointing a project manager with skills in driving the project forward and aligning departments, as well as involving external agencies early in the process, is absolutely critical.
3. Be Brave With Creative
Disruptive ideas are now the norm. With 40% of marketers believing ineffective marketing communications are one of the top reasons for failure, marketers need to revolutionise their approach to creative in 2017.
Launch marketing also needs to be treated as a separate part of your marketing strategy. It requires a different creative approach, and often a dedicated team that specialises in launching.
Brands simply cannot afford to kick back and settle for something mediocre when the battle for cut-through is so competitive. You have one shot to get a launch right and, when the stakes are so high, marketers need to ensure they have the right creative for their campaign that will deliver success.
Take the relaunch of Ghostbusters this year. Sony Pictures took over Waterloo station to publicise the new film. The campaign involved a huge sculpture of the iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man emerging through the floor, with globules of green slime falling from the ceiling and branding throughout the station. The campaign was bold and eye-catching, and had terrific spread by word of mouth. It’s through brave ideas and tactics such as this that you’ll get your launch noticed.
4. Prioritise Engagement Over Broadcast
The flexibility, measurability, and adeptness of social media now make it the priority channel for launching new products and services. Three quarters of the marketers surveyed said that they prioritised it above all else.
But while marketers are recognising the value of this and utilising it to their advantage, the structures and behaviours of media planning and buying are deep rooted. Moving away from traditional media such as TV and print feels like a step into the unknown. Brands and CMOs need to adjust their mindset and prioritise engagement via social over the traditional broadcast campaign if they want to win over future consumers.
5. Stick To Measuring Business Objectives
A colossal 88% of FMCG marketers now think they’re more informed than ever, while nearly nine out of 10 think campaigns are more measurable. However, while measurement is certainly more sophisticated than ever before, there is a risk that it can become too granular. Investing time and money into targeting very small groups of consumers can be counterproductive and actually return a negative ROI. Marketers need to spend more time focusing on what is really important to their business and solely measure this.