Having led the launch of numerous consumer products over the past 30 years, I’ve learned that launching any new product successfully requires a combination of careful planning, execution, and measurement. Here are seven tips to help you launch a new consumer product successfully:
- Conduct market research: Before you create and launch a new consumer product, you need to validate that people will actually buy it. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs build a product to fulfill a need they’ve felt themselves, only to find it is something very few people are willing to pay real dollars for. It is crucial to conduct market research to understand your target audience, their needs, and preferences—and find out how much they will pay for a solution like the one you are planning to build. This will help determine whether to proceed and if so, provide insight into the features and advantages you should focus on to enter the market with a valued competitive advantage.
- Develop a roadmap: Based on your research, identify what channels your target audience use most frequently and what messaging is likely to resonate with them. Refine your positioning, which is a very concise and clear articulation of the greatest value your consumer product delivers to the people who value it the most. Create a comprehensive marketing plan incorporating tactics such as social media, influencer marketing, email marketing, direct mail, and digital advertising. If you’re serious about success, consider an Innovative Product Go-to-Market Roadmap.
- Create a brand identity: Create a compelling brand identity that will appeal to your target audience, and be consistent in using this identity across all marketing materials and channels. This includes not only your logo design, but also specific fonts, brand language and visual styles for graphics and typography.
- Develop packaging: Even if you’re only going to sell on Amazon, unboxing is important. For many of your customers, it is the primary connection and introduction to the brand for a real customer. Create packaging that is visually appealing, easy to understand, and communicates your brand message and product benefits. Include welcoming language, and everything the most clueless customer will need to succeed with the product.
- Build distribution channels: Identify the right distribution channels, such as retail stores, eCommerce platforms (Shopify or WooCommerce) or in-house sales. There are tradeoffs to using channels like Amazon. (They have enormous reach and distribution, but Amazon and WalMart own the customer, and put other, often lower-cost competitive options in front of every prospective buyer.) Develop partnerships that help to establish and expand product placement.
- Launching: Plan and organize a launch event to showcase your product to the media, bloggers, and influencers. The launch event can be the culmination of your hard work and help to drive excitement and participation. Decide if you need to reserve budget for a PR agency retainer, or to find and hire influencers whose followers align with your target audiences.
- Track progress: Track progress by setting key performance indicators (KPIs), analyzing sales data and customer feedback, and making necessary improvements to achieve goals.
Launching a new consumer product is a challenging and time-consuming process, even for brands that have done it a hundred times. The risks and failure rates are daunting. But with proper planning and careful execution, it can be massively rewarding for both you as the product maker and your customers.