A third-party app is more than just a marketing medium: It can be an invaluable part of a product launch plan. Third-party apps take the weight off the brand, freeing up resources that might otherwise have been allocated to development. They also come with built-in audiences, can provide insight on potential customers, and can even measure the results of a campaign in real time. Such timely data can provide a brand the details needed to successfully execute a marketing campaign that garners attention for a new product.
Any brand planning to incorporate an app into its product launch should choose a partner with an established user base. While it may be impossible to reach all consumers, across all mediums, at all times, the right platform can allow a brand access to very targeted audiences. Ideally, that platform should also support all the stages of a new product launch, from pre-launch to roll out and all the way through post-launch. Here’s what every brand manager should know about the three stages of a product launch plan, and a look at which types of third-party platforms facilitate a successful new product launch.
The Three Phases of a Product Launch Plan
While thousands of new products are launched every year, less 75% of CPG and retail products earn even $7.5 million during their first year. While many of those failures can be attributed to a lack of consumer demand, some are a result of a failure in one of the phases of a product launch:
- Pre-launch planning: Often, the biggest problems are found in the pre-launch phase, where expectations of future demand exceed actual demand.
Demographics are also determined and initial marketing plans are established at this stage. Faulty demographic data can further invalidate marketing plans.
- Launch timing: When a brand rushes a product to market, they run the risk of sacrificing quality for speed, which can result in poor product reviews. In addition, brands that become overly attached to pre-launch marketing plans or refuse to pivot when a product fails or a strategy is not working can be put in jeopardy.
- Post-launch maintenance: Maintaining momentum after launch can be difficult, especially in the CPG market, which sees thousands of new products each year. Many brands have had seemingly successful launches only to see demand quickly wane. Enthusiasm for a product doesn’t always guarantee sales, and brands must maintain marketing efforts even in post-launch.
Each phase of a product launch has its own potential pitfalls, making it easy to understand why so many new product launches fall flat. For a brand hoping to defy the odds, a third-party app, like a retail mobile app, can be a valuable ally during product launch.
How Third-Party Apps Support All Three Phases of a Product Launch
Using a third-party app during a product launch can be beneficial in myriad ways. It can provide data for determining demographics and marketing plans, a platform for reaching consumers, and a means of engaging those consumers in order to improve customer retention.
A mobile app marketing strategy that leverages a third-party platform can allow a brand to travel with consumers and gauge valuable signals of purchase intent that will help the brand inform on future marketing decisions. The right third-party app can help increase the likelihood of launch success by:
- Providing insight on potential customers: By partnering with a third-party app, brands can view data from audiences that may be unfamiliar with their products. The brand can study data from purchase history, surveys taken, and rewarded video watched within a cohort to better understand their target market.
For example, a brand launching an all-natural teething ring might see that, while in the app, a set of users purchased formula, watched videos on organic baby food, and filled out surveys ranking their interest in healthy eating. The data provided on those consumers would allow the brand to massage messaging and target ads directly to those with the highest potential for conversion.
- Turning a launch into an event: Teaser word-of-mouth campaigns are only effective when a product is so innovative that it is expected to change an industry. A good example is Alli, the first diet pill to receive over-the-counter approval from the FDA. Alli’s very application for FDA approval served as advertising, and the moment that approval came through demand for Alli skyrocketed—even before the brand launched a major campaign.
Because such success is rare, CPG brands releasing more conventional products must turn every launch into an event in order to create fervor. Mobile app marketing can help achieve this, as it provides timely notifications that get consumers to engage with a product the day it is released.
For example, Shopkick, which offers rewards points to shoppers when they scan the UPC of a product in a store, has been highly successful in driving consumer traffic to new product displays. Shopkick also offers high conversion potential since the consumer actually picks up the product. This kind of attention gives the launch an event-like feel which helps consumers remember the product during later purchases.
- Encouraging purchase and retention: Partnering with retail mobile apps that offer rewards such as Shopkick can be an effective strategy for inspiring brand affinity as consumers may perceive rewards points as having a higher value than their actual dollar amount. The emotional reward these programs provide helps brands inspire customer goodwill and encourage repeat business.
Third-party apps can be an invaluable tool in product launch plans. They’re adaptable to every phase of the process, can provide highly relevant audiences through demographic and behavioral targeting, and allow brands greater insight. They can also help brands build marketing campaigns that effectively reach potential customers, and provide incentives that encourage loyalty to the product and the brand.
Regardless of the product, in the CPG industry third-party apps should be part of the launch plan. The insights they provide can improve the odds of success for any brand hoping to make a big splash with a new offering.
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