It’s hard to get noticed these days. In a pandemic-obsessed world, there just isn’t as much customer appetite for news about groundbreaking products or services at the moment, for completely understandable reasons. A competitive news cycle combined with fewer opportunities to showcase one’s wares conspires against successful launches in virtually every industry.
Not knowing whom to reach (or when to reach them, or where) complicates the chances of a launch’s efficacy and success. Convention halls are closed and live product demonstrations are on hold, perhaps forever. Press releases are ignored. Supply chains are interrupted. To effectively plan and execute a product launch amid pandemic-related challenges in 2021, marketers must be flexible and willing to rewrite all the old rules to generate awareness and build momentum.
When it comes to crafting an effective product launch in terms of the necessary planning, outreach, and media exposure needed to execute a successful result, marketers should go the extra mile to really hear what customers are saying. Know where the audience is communicating and listening — whether that be through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere — in order to understand their concerns, desires, and expectations. The digital conversations you hold are instrumental in building excitement for the product or service and overall brand affinity.
Seemingly everyone is online, with Facebook reporting a 70% increase in platform usage among users in lockdown since the pandemic began. This provides a great opportunity for businesses and brands to keep engaging with the public. Building and maintaining a strong social presence allows companies to join the conversation and promote themselves a bit.
To that end, it’s important to not give up on outreach efforts, as research shows that it’s taking at least twice the number of attempts to connect with customers than in previous years. With that in mind, create content on a variety of channels that speak to people’s unique needs during these uncommon times. Tenacity and resilience will be rewarded; timidity and reluctance will not. Research has shown that nearly all shoppers (96%) aren’t prepared to complete a purchase upon first interacting with a product advertisement. You need to maintain a constant cadence of compelling content to warm those leads and turn prospective buyers into satisfied customers.
Getting the Word Out More Effectively
Marketers and media planners who seek to navigate prelaunch challenges and maximize postlaunch success can utilize a handful of tactics to maintain momentum and continued awareness around a product. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but four of the most effective tactics include:
- Exclusive previews.
Using established, loyal customers can be a key element in promoting a new product or service. After all, they are most likely to buy that product and share their thoughts and feelings about it. This can take the form of a private online tour, preview, or demo. Or it could be an invitation to test out the product in person and give valuable feedback. Either way, play up the exclusive element to whet the customer’s appetite and make them feel special. People love VIP experiences, so give them one and reap the rewards of anticipation.
- Email marketing.
Keep using email! Some 82% of customers open emails from businesses, and 76% of email subscribers have made purchases from an email marketing message. They provide a gateway for getting the word out about a new product, and their efficacy can be tracked via analytics. This approach is incredibly cost-effective and scalable, and the ROI remains one of the highest when it comes to digital marketing practices.
- Virtual and in-person events.
Customers get excited about products and new prospects become personally engaged with brands because of well-executed events. They don’t have to be fancy, but a special touch can go a long way. Perhaps you can host a livestream on a social platform or hold an interactive Q&A session with interested users. Think about what excites you about new product launches and work to find a digital way to duplicate those experiences.
The faster marketers follow up, the more likely they are to keep buyers engaged. One study found that 78% of new business goes to the company that responds to a customer inquiry first. Following up with prospects should be a high priority in any marketing strategy, pandemic or not. You can use these touchpoints to troubleshoot the product, solicit positive reviews, answer stubborn questions, and build overall brand awareness in a competitive marketplace. Don’t leave your audience hanging; the simple gesture of following up can do wonders for the eventual success of a new product and the affinity people feel for your brand.