Bringing a new product to market can be a busy and exhilarating time for a company. No doubt, if you've ever experienced a product launch (you can find tips for building one here), you understand the wide variety of emotions that come along with it. But whether you're an entrepreneur, a small business marketer or a product manager for a larger organization, the number of hands in the marketing pot can vary. Though one thing is for sure: you should always be ready well in advance, and have a strategy for dealing with potential obstacles. Here are 6 critical mistakes to avoid when creating your new product marketing plan:
1. Thinking you don’t need a marketing plan until you’re ready to launch.
The keyword here is plan. When it comes to the marketing, you need to think about what that entails for your productt's launch at least 6-9 months out (if not longer, depending on what the product is and how much information you have from the development team). You can break down the tasks accordingly. So the first section of your plan might be “Tasks to do 9 months out.” Then the other sections will follow:
- Tasks To Do 6 Months Out.
- Tasks To Do 3 Months Out.
- Tasks To Do 1 Month Out.
- Tasks To Do on Launch Day.
- Tasks To Do POST Launch.
2. Thinking your marketing plan ends the day of the launch.
You need a pre-launch plan (see the point above) and a post-launch plan. The pre-launch plan primes the pump, generating hype around your new product, preparing current customers for what's to come, and laying out goals and expectations for the numbers you want to hit after launch. The post-launch plan helps you hit those numbers (which is usually going to be measured in sales) and achieve those goals.
3. Not involving the sales team in the creation of your marketing plan.
We talk a lot about the importance of marketing and sales alignment, and once again, it’s essential for marketing and sales team members to collaborate on new product launches. Every product has a story, and both departments should be telling the same one. Marketing materials should align with terminology, branding and collateral that is used throughout the sales process. As prospects move through the buying cycle from lead to sales qualified lead to customer, the message they receive should be the same!
4. Not adjusting your marketing plan along the way.
Okay, so you’ve mapped out everything you need to do to prior to launch and after the launch. Think you’re done? Think again. As the saying goes, life happens. Your plan needs to be fluid, and you must adjust as new data comes in or as the marketing landscape changes. For example, let’s say you launch your product a couple days before a major news event happens. As a result, you’ll likely need to adjust some of your post-launch activities (e.g. the tone and content of posts on social media, for example…you wouldn’t want to be sounding all chipper and excited about your new product when the whole country or world is mourning a tragic event).
5. Overlooking a key channel.
Your marketing plan for your new product needs to cover ALL bases, not just your website and social media. Think of every aspect of your business, from customer service to after-hours messages to current ads that are running and everything else in between.
6. Not communicating the plan with your ENTIRE company.
If you’re launching a new product, you need to let everyone within the company know, including reception, customer service, etc. It’s not just the marketing department and sales team who need to be “in the know.” Everyone in the company should be able to speak about the new product, and use the language you've decided to move forward with.
Over the course of some time, your company has created this new product. It didn’t happen overnight. Neither will your product marketing plan. Just like your new product, your product marketing plan will need to be revised and refined. If you give it the time and the resources it needs, you can then sit back and watch your new product succeed!