When preparing to go to market, a new product launch checklist is imperative. With one, a company can ensure the product is effectively targeted, verify the sales funnel is streamlined, and iron out any barriers that may keep the product from reaching its full sales potential. A checklist can help identify areas where a product launch may fail—for instance, in demographic targeting or with a marketing message that doesn’t resonate with consumers. Following a three-step new product launch checklist can help ensure your product is prepared to go to market and has the best debut possible.
New Product Launch Checklist Step #1: Perform Deep Demographic Analyses
No matter what the product being marketed, every large demographic can be broken into smaller subcategories, each of which may require a different approach. Consider a scenario where a makeup company is rolling out a new lipstick, along with a new customer relationship marketing strategy to sell that lipstick. While the target market may be women who wear lipstick, reviewing the features of the product—and the solutions it provides to consumer pain points—can help narrow that demographic further.
To find demographic subsets, brands need to ask in-depth questions about their product. Using the lipstick scenario, the brand should determine:
- The product’s primary selling point: The central selling point for any product is what distinguishes it from the competition. For example, resilience might be the primary selling point for a long-wearing lipstick.
Once a selling point has been identified, marketers can start targeting individuals for whom the product would solve a specific pain point.
- The reasons behind the primary selling point: A brand must go beyond merely identifying the pain point and discover the whys behind an issue.
In the workplace, for example, a lipstick that wears off too quickly might make a busy professional woman feel unkempt. In social situations, a woman out for an evening may find it frustrating that her lipstick wipes off with every drink or bite. These scenarios represent two different consumer mindsets: different motivations but with the same problem. To reach consumers effectively, brands must do more than just identify a pain point; they must understand why it’s a pain point.
- How insight on the primary selling point reveals demographics: Understanding “why” also allows marketers to identify “who.” In the lipstick scenario, the brand now understands that their long-wearing lipstick is desirable to women whowork long hours, don’t have the time or ability to reapply often, and who must remain consistently polished. Models, actresses, news anchors, public speakers, and pretty much anyone in the public eye could thus be one perfect demographic for the lipstick. Evaluating the reasons behind the pain point reveals a subset of the initial demographic—lipstick wearers—who could be highly motivated to purchase.
By breaking down exactly why the product appeals to consumers, a brand can better target it to those most motivated to buy. This step is a vital part of the new product launch checklist, as it also allows a brand to establish the right target market for testing.
Step #2: Perform Limited Market Testing
Limited market testing allows a brand to test a product on its ideal demographic to receive feedback on issues that should be resolved before the product is fully released. Focus groups, pre-launch events, and product sampling can serve as elements of market testing. They can also help build pre-launch buzz as well as identify potential market influencers.
In the lipstick scenario, for example, a brand might engage a news anchor as a product tester. Not only can she provide valuable feedback, if she likes the product she might evangelize the lipstick among her friends.
If, on the other hand, the long-wearing lipstick does not perform well on camera, the brand might decide to re-target its campaign to focus on a more general consumer who needs a long-lasting lipstick—say for a night out. Product testing within demographic groups helps narrow the target market for a product.
Step #3: Analyze Sales Funnel and Path to Purchase Scenarios
While in a perfect situation, the path to purchase would be the same every time—the consumer identifies a problem, goes online to look for solutions, then discovers and buys a product—it is rarely the route followed. Rather, a consumer may find a product in a store, then buy it online a month later. They may impulsively buy something because of a promotion, even if they don’t need it. They may decide to buy, and then change their mind in response to something as random as the brand firing a spokesperson.
Because consumers are often unpredictable, so too are their paths to purchase. As such, brands need a way to identify the most common paths to purchase for their target customers. This is something easily accomplished through shopping apps, like Shopkick, which give brands access to valuable signals of purchase intent.
Data derived from shopping app user behavior can help a brand obtain higher ROI from its digital marketing efforts.
For example, a consumer might download the shopping app and view a video from a brand about a new product. They might purchase the product immediately after seeing the video or go to a store where they could use the app to collect rewards points for scanning the product by hand. In any scenario, the brand can access data that shows which behaviors most frequently lead to a sale. This allows the brand to develop marketing efforts that support those behaviors. Data derived from shopping app user behavior can help a brand obtain higher ROI from its digital marketing efforts.
By following this new product launch checklist, a brand can identify any potential sales barriers before releasing its product to the masses. Demographic review and market targeting allow the brand to determine the right audience for the product, while shopping apps can be used to analyze and capitalize on the path to purchase. By following a specific new product launch checklist every time a product is being prepared to go to market, a brand can iron out any minor kinks before they become major problems—and ultimately improve sales.
Shopkick helps our partners launch their product to the right consumers by offering them access to an engaged group of motivated shoppers. For more information on our innovative shopping app, contact us.
Image courtesy of style-photographs