Successfully launching a product is quite an endeavor even under perfect market conditions. Under the harsh economic reality of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has become a considerable challenge.
However, even during the current crisis, there are ways for you to effectively introduce new products to the market. I am a strong advocate of data-driven marketing, having a clear analysis of the target market and consumer is a fundamental aspect for a new product launch. Mapping and analyzing market shifts and trends helps you to focus your efforts on marketing channels that will yield the best results.
Hoping to collect more valuable insights, I’ve reached out to some of my colleagues. So here is what 13 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) from top Israeli companies had to say about a new product launch.
Do Your Research
An effective and successful new product launch always starts with proper research. Marketing professionals need to collect and analyze information about market gaps, consumer interests, popular platforms, and trending content.
“Marketers need to find what content is missing and publish as much content as possible so the company will be already seen as an expert in that specific field,” says Czesia Glik, VP Marketing at Intezer. Hence, optimizing your content based on keyword and topic research will allow you to generate traffic that will attract consumers to your product.
“The most important skill is to be able to collect signals from the market. These may be signals on your new positioning, new product, or pricing” adds Amit Levi VP Product & Marketing at Anodot. The more recent data you collect, the better you’ll be able to optimize your launch.
However, the research has to be focused on. “Do not perform prediction analysis based on any data other than that specific product,” recommends Bat El Azerad Heller VP Marketing at ESN Global Media Ltd. Make sure you look at the relevant products and market segments so you will get exact and actionable information.
Set Clear Goals
In order to successfully launch a product at any time, let alone during a crisis, you need set goals and a clear plan. And a data-driven one is even better.
“build pre-launch activities that will teach you about the right message, timing, approach, funnel,” says Sharon Argov VP marketing at CYE. “Data is the king – for any launch activity, I’m building a solid, slow pre-launch plan,” she adds.
Moreover, your plan should be as customer-centric as possible. “Have a specific goal in mind that relates to your target audience,” explained Aviv Canaani VP marketing at Workiz. It is easy to lose sight of your target audience when designing your launch strategy. However, as Canaani elaborates, “Your audience is probably a niche and your goal should reflect that.”
Use Your Entire Team
Launching a new product should involve all departments, not only the marketing team. “Make sure you align with your Sales ahead of time: Set a detailed discussion including Sales and dedicated Product lead to crystallize UVP/competitive edge/Q&A,” says Miki Hakak VP Marketing at Argus Cyber Security. It’ll help you set clear KPIs and align the various teams under a shared goal.
In addition, don’t forget the tech people. “Tech & Marketing are different people with different states of mind. learn and find the golden path to understanding each other and working together,” adds Omri Argaman CMO at Zoomd. Cultivating and maintaining interdepartmental collaboration will boost your efforts and create a more holistic product launch.
Aiming for perfection is good, but setting grounded, attainable, and realistic goals are great. Especially when the market conditions are not optimal, to begin with.
“80% is good enough,” says Gill Sagiv CDO & CMO at AIG Israel. “If you try to launch a 100% perfect product, you will lose time and energy, and most probably your competitors will get there first,” he continues. Getting a head start on your competitors will allow you to create brand recognition and a better market position.
It is ok to test the waters, even if your product is not at 100%. Use marketing tools that allow flexibility to your launch, so you’ll be able to adjust the product or campaign accordingly. Just as Elad Shmilovich VP Marketing at Splitty advices, “Companies, and their marketing leaders, should use SDR’s cold-reach out methods. This will provide a clear view of the Yes’s and No’s, by testing the different marketing pitch options directly to people. The reason why this is a better practice than an online campaign is that there are more variables in ad campaigns – if a campaign doesn’t work, it’s not necessarily a “NO”. There’s the image, text, ad location, call to action, time, channel, etc. Uncertainty exists big time.”
The bottom line is that you should trust your gut. “Launch when you feel like the product does more good than it does bad: A product is never perfect,” says Itzik Yarkoni VP Marketing at Powtoon. “The best way to understand the product’s worth is to launch it and gather feedback,” he adds. Take a leap of faith, it’ll pay off.
Focus On The Consumer
Last but certainly not least, always remember the client comes first.
“It may seem obvious, but we often forget that It’s not you, it’s them!” reminds Benzi Kluwgant Chief Marketing Officer at RapNet. “Always frame it around how it makes life better for your audience and solves their pain point, in language and terms that they can relate to,” he continues. don’t just keep your audience at mind. Try and understand their needs, wants, pain points, and behaviors. “People are your buyers. The better you know them (e.g. what motivates them, their pain?) the better chances your launch will be a success” says Gily Netzer, CMO at Cymulate.
“Profound understanding of your buyer personas and their unique pain points will help you bridge the gap between the technology/product and the customer pain, and then build the right GTM plan to take that technology to market,” explains Iris Zarecki 1 VP Marketing at Continuity Software
Positioning your product as solving consumer pain points is a sure way to get that extra boost. “When launching a product to the market the most important thing in my view as a marketer is to understand that you are not selling your product but rather solving your prospective customers’ problems. This means that your marketing approach should be centered around solution-building rather than on features and quality,” elaborates Oded Ilan, Global Director Business Development at Oracle University.
Oh, and don’t forget to communicate that to your customers. “Tell your customers how you help them only then drill down into what you’re offering,” Ilan adds.
To sum up, a successful new product launch during times of crisis is completely doable. Setting realistic expectations, harnessing your entire team, and keeping your consumers in mind will help you weather the storm and introducing your product to the world.