10 Steps to Develop an Effective Marketing Plan Before You Launch Your New Product or Service
We can all agree that for a business to be successful, it needs customers. But to attract, retain, and grow your customer base, you need show them how your product or service provides real value they can’t get anywhere else. To do this, successful businesses develop a product or service launch plan.
An effective product launch marketing plan identifies a target audience and strategizes what tactics you’ll use to reach those targets at the right place— digitally and in-person— and at the right time. Effective launch plans also clearly define how your business plans to get new customers, reach new markets, and grow bottom-line revenue to prove ROI.
Use these 10 steps as a guide to successfully create and launch a marketing plan for your new product or service.
1. Learn Essential Marketing Techniques
Before you can develop and launch a successful marketing plan, you must learn the essential marketing techniques for your offering and industry or hire a trusted, competent specialist.
This requires identifying your target audience and implementing effective marketing practices that resonate with them. Here are some essential marketing techniques to learn:
- Content marketing: Focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing resources for a targeted audience.
- Email marketing: The process of messaging potential or current customers via email.
- Social media marketing: Using social platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn, to establish yourself as a credible and knowledgeable expert.
- Search engine marketing: Also known as paid search marketing, it’s the process of increasing web traffic by buying ads on search engines.
- Search engine optimization: The act of building your website and content around keywords or phrases that your target audience would typically use on a search engine like Google.
2. Brainstorm Sales Methods and Product Uses
A sales brainstorm session can help develop the best sales and marketing approaches for your product or service. When brainstorming, consider how existing or future customers will use your product, and what approaches you’ll use to sell it (ex: through a distributor, online through your website, etc.). Also, interview potential customers to determine how they find new products/suppliers so you can match your sales efforts to their buying process.
Follow these steps:
- Establish your offering’s unique benefit. Once you identify the one advantage that separates you from your competitors, you can use it to convince buyers and build sales strategies.
- Examine all the ways you can sell your offering. Listing all possible distribution channels will allow you to compare the pros and cons before deciding on the most lucrative networks. Again, find out where customers prefer to buy this type of product.
- Analyze margins. Discuss all costs, such as production and overhead costs. Then compare them with your current pricing structure to identify possible discounts you can leverage in future marketing campaigns.
3. Meet With Sales and Marketing Teams to Verify Market Potential
Assessing and confirming the market potential with the sales and marketing teams is a major component in your launch plan. It allows you to define a target customer while narrowing down the best sales approach from the brainstorm in step two.
Use the sales team as a resource to understand what questions or pain points current customers have. Use this information in your marketing plan to help build content (website pages, blog posts, social media shares) that address those top questions so customers no longer have to ask. This also shows you’re actively listening to questions or complaints.
4. Qualify Expectations
Will your product or service meet your sales manager’s expectations and help reach revenue goals? Is it marketable? Do you have proof that customers need this product or service and are willing to pay for it? Now is the time to get this evidence through research.
Set measurable sales goals by determining:
- How much revenue marketing tactics will generate
- The number of leads those tactics will produce
- How many sales will come from those leads
- The number of sales needed to reach that goal
Additionally, consider setting quarterly benchmarks to measure your progress and identify problem areas that may need more attention.
5. Get Commitment From Sales
All members of your team (including distributors and dealers) should be bought into your product or service and believe in what they are selling. To achieve this, educate your team about:
- The unique features that separate your product from the competition
- The value your product adds for prospects
- Why a prospect would want to buy your product
This will ensure everyone shares the same vision and goals, while creating a brand voice for prospects and customers.
6. Package the Offering and Create Sales Resources
Create sales support materials to teach your sales team about the product or service, as well as educate prospects. This marketing collateral will create awareness around benefits of your product to generate leads that turn into sales. These materials should include:
- Spec sheets
- Sell sheets
7. Verify the Marketing Plan With Manufacturing and Engineering
Ensure your marketing and manufacturing teams are on the same page. The goal of the marketing and sales department is to reach out to prospects and customers. Customer satisfaction issues occur when the marketing and sales teams pitch something that isn’t available.
Ensure that the engineering department agrees with your marketing plan before it’s implemented. This will also help you get the technical details you need to include in your sales resources and marketing tactics.
Finally, make sure you can match inventory to demand. Discuss the production capacity with your operations team to ensure that they can produce your forecasted demand rates at a pace that avoids late delivery.
8. Release the Product in a Pilot Basis to Get Market Feedback
Market testing offers two important advantages. First, it allows you to test the market under typical conditions to get an accurate measure of sale performance. You can get feedback on the product, pricing, marketing messaging, and technical documentation.
Second, it allows you to analyze performance and make tweaks to your plan, while helping you define long-term opportunities to identify new market segments for your product or service.
9. Oversee Sales, Customer Service, and Channel Partner Teams
Before making your first sales, be sure to train all of your sales teams so they are equipped to address all customer questions and feedback. Collecting feedback allows your customers to feel involved and provides insight on your product or service so you can provide the best customer experience going forward. Whatever you do, don’t allow your target customers to learn about the product before your sales, customer service, or distributor and dealer teams do.
10. Expand Marketing Efforts
Once you’ve set your goals, tested the market, and implemented feedback, expand your marketing efforts to drive more sales. Use the knowledge you gained from your first few sales to optimize your current marketing plan. For example, determine which marketing techniques were most successful. If you had a content marketing campaign that produced a significant amount of traffic to your website, consider developing an email marketing strategy that includes more information on that valued content.
What Else Do You Need to Develop and Launch a Successful Marketing Plan?
These 10 steps encompass the marketing aspect of a successful product launch. To ensure you’re equipped with everything you need for your next launch, discover the essential processes of a successful product launch when you contact our manufacturing growth experts. Request your free onsite consultation.