The key to a successful launch of a new product or business is a successful prelaunch of a new business.
Think back to your days at primary school. Your parents couldn’t just fill the house with balloons and cake and expect other children would just turn up to your birthday party. Preparation will have started much before this, on your first day of school in fact.
A successful birthday party was the result of hours of hard graft on the playground (“networking”) – introducing yourself to the other children, finding out what they liked, letting them know more about you, and building friendships.
From there, others would begin to trust you and respect you. You would also likely learn who couldn’t be trusted quickly.
It would be this research that would help your parents know what types of games to organise, the flavour of crisps to put out in bowls, and how many people to expect would actually turn up.
Your research would also tell them if it was best for you to give the invitations out yourself in class, or for them to speak directly with the parents of your classmates. It was important for them to take the best route to make sure everyone who needed to know, did.
The successful launch of any business can also be aided by detailed and thorough research – of your customers, competitors and suppliers. The BIPC Northamptonshire has access to over £5m worth of market research tools and databases which can help you do just that. Join us for our How To Research My Market Workshop to find out more, or contact us for a 1-2-1 appointment.
Once your ideas have been researched, and you are confident that you are able to get at least a small number of people in the room, the challenges change. The launch of a new product will naturally bring risk, and it will bring new practical obstacles too.
It is reasonable to suggest the likelihood of the initial version of your product will not be the last, nor probably even the first that you try to launch on the open market. The design will be refined as you go.
The speed at which you scale the size of production batches will likely be a balancing act between your finance, differing manufacturers’ minimum order quantities, and user feedback. Sensibly this will likely mean that the batch numbers will start small and grow as your confidence does in the product.
Having a million unsellable units of your first, flawed version sitting in a warehouse is a situation that every business can avoid.
The interactions you have with your test user group are invaluable and is a relationship which should be nurtured. The test group should match the demographic of your target market and can provide your company with testimonials and advocacy of the product upon its full launch.
Give them the prestige of knowing they are the first set of people to try the product and how important they are to you. Who doesn’t enjoy telling an “I saw that band play live before they were famous” story. Use this to your advantage.
A happy and valued test group will naturally share their experience with others in their circles – potentially your future customers.
Once you are happy with the outcome of your product development, it is time to head to Hollywood. The launching of a new film is a good comparison to launching a new product.
Take these four pre-launch techniques used in the film industry and consider how similar could be introduced into your business.
1. Critics’ Choice
It is unlikely that many people watch a film that they know nothing about. Film critic reviews help to build anticipation and an idea of what to expect. Why not contact local (or national) publications, or other respected organisations/individuals in your sector and ask them to run a feature on your new product.
2. Release a trailer
Trailers give a little away for free. They tease the audience with what is next to come. Why not document the development of your product, or business journey on social media before you are ready to launch.
Gaining credibility by being interesting, insightful and respected in the sector before you have anything to sell, will rapidly elevate your business through the know-like-trust-buy phases of customer interaction once the product is launched.
3. Your Product 2: The sequel
The new product you are set to launch may not be your first, so your business and its existing offering may already have a solid reputation and loyal customer base. Leverage this brand value to promote your new products, existing customers are more likely to be happy to spend their money with you again than risk purchasing from an unknown supplier.
4. Take presale orders
Let your most eager customers reserve the full feature length, directors cut version of the DVD release. They wouldn’t want to miss out would they?!
This is a tried and tested prelaunch strategy, which can also see some early revenue enter the business should you choose to ask customers for a deposit or payment upfront.
This is particularly helpful for products launched with a premium pricing strategy - to give your customers time to save/arrange the required level of finance needed, whilst remaining engaged with your brand.
The Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire supports entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses from that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching and developing a business. We run workshops and information and advice sessions on self-employment, intellectual property and much more.
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