Here’s a conversation that I’ve had personally, on many occasions, with business leaders in varying markets.
(Names withheld to protect the innocent)
Many companies – especially smaller companies with limited resources – treat marketing like an afterthought. They’re invested in producing the best products or services possible, and it’s all hands on deck! Marketing is that nebulous “thing” that they’ll get to… “eventually.”
Did you know that the Android Store alone publishes over 6,000 apps PER DAY! There are over 5 million Kindle eBooks published, and it’s estimated that a new title is published every 5 minutes. Over 7,600 games were released on the Steam platform alone in 2017. That’s around 150 titles per week.
Whatever industry you’re in, it’s safe to say you’re not alone. And with the constant changes in search algorithms, social media marketing platforms, and consumer habits in general, you can’t leave the discovery of your new product up to chance. The biggest mistake companies can make prior to product launch is to push off advertising until “later.”
An effective pre-launch campaign can mean the difference between a hit and a flop.
The biggest mistake companies can make prior to product launch is to push off advertising until “later.”
What Makes an Effective Pre-launch Campaign
To understand the desired effectiveness of a pre-launch marketing push, we have to first examine the goal: namely, making a profit after a lengthy R&D process.
In the days of old (and by that, I mean a couple years ago), the traditional marketing funnel was used to understand the pre-launch campaign process. You cast a wide net, see who bites, qualify the leads, and nurture them through the funnel until prospects become customers.
I’m not going to say that the funnel method doesn’t work at all anymore… but it’s starting to look more and more like a dinosaur.
With today’s marketing tools, you can do better, and achieve better, with less investment. Even the thinnest shoe-string budget can produce qualified leads quickly.
Cutting Through All That Noise
In 2007, a study by Yankelovich, a market research firm, estimated that people saw an average of 5,000 ads per day. That was eleven years ago! I’m pretty sure no one wants to repeat that study. Anyway, they’re probably too busy clicking some post on Facebook that’s actually an ad in disguise…
What was that? Sorry, I got distracted.
Just kidding, but not really.
The modern internet user is so bombarded by product messaging that they tend to gloss over anything that isn’t immediately of interest. It’s too noisy online, and we filter out the rabble as a defense mechanism. We also tend to follow the shiny object. When we see something we like, we click.
And that’s the sweet spot… but it’s important to remember: no one wants what you’re selling.
No One Wants What You’re Selling
That’s right… if you’re just marketing a product – on your website, through social media ads, at trade shows… it doesn’t matter where – very few people are going to express interest. The old method of “show ’em what you’ve got” gets filtered by the modern consumer who is constantly inundated with product and brand messaging.
Instead, you need to understand WHO is interested in your products, and WHY they’d want to buy from you. In order to catch the eye of a social surfer, or get that email prospect to open and click through, you need to get down deep with them and demonstrate – in as few words as possible – how you’re going to improve their lives with whatever it is you’re selling. They’re not interested in what you’re selling; they’re concerned with what’s in it for them.
Turning Heads with a Compelling Brand Story
The sweet spot for a pre-launch campaign is to put a well-defined, laser-focused and people-centric message in front of prospects who are already likely to be interested in your products. A compelling campaign requires two different pillars of marketing pre-work: Persona Development and Brand Story Writing.
Your personas become the basis for your web targeting, email segmentation, and even determining talking points at trade shows. They define WHO you are targeting on a number of levels, including interests, behaviors, demographics, wants, fears, etc.
Your brand story is a multi-layered, well-defined messaging guideline that helps you talk to audiences from the very broad to the singular person. A brand story is value-focused, providing a clear definition of the customer benefit.
This Seems Like a Lot of Work
It is a lot of work. I’m not going to lie. Creating a brand story takes time, effort and skill. That’s why many business leaders make the second biggest marketing mistake: They throw any old message at the wall and hope it sticks. They push the wrong content to the wrong channels, resulting in few, if any, leads. They present inconsistent messages to market, eroding brand trust. Or they simply produce too little, too late, resulting in countless missed opportunities for building customer relationships.
The second-biggest mistake businesses make is publishing rushed messaging in an effort to get to market as fast as possible.
To achieve success, you have to start with your brand story.
Writing a brand story is an art form as much as it is a task on the to-do list. It requires a mix of industry insight, market knowledge, trend analysis, and good, old-fashioned creativity. When done right, your brand story serves as a launch point for every communication – both internal and external – leading to greater consistency and ultimately, greater consumer trust.
However, when you start with a brand story and use it to launch your pre-release marketing campaign, you set yourself up for greater launch-day success and continued success with every product iteration.
Your brand story is a platform that enables you to:
- Pay less per click while generating higher engagement for every message sent
- Spend less time weeding out unqualified leads and more time building customer relationships
- Enjoy greater launch-day purchase numbers
- Benefit from earned media, as your prospects share your message with like-minded friends
- Drive consistency into both your internal and external communications
- Achieve consistency and cooperation between your sales, marketing, and product teams
Ready to Try Something New?
There’s an old adage that says, “If you want different results, you have to try something new.” A strong brand story could be the secret sauce that your brand is missing for success. And if you’re thinking of launching a product without giving some time and attention to marketing, you’re bound to repeat the cycle of slow release-day sales and a tough, uphill climb toward recognition in the market.
The good news is – you’re not alone. I’d love to help you out! Give us a call or drop us a note. I offer a free, one-hour consultation to see if I’d be a good fit for helping your brand launch that new product.