5 steps to a successful product launch
Post the pandemic, CPG companies are under more and more pressure to release new products to the shelves. So much so that Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey anticipates around a quarter of their growth this year will come from product innovation.
The goal of CPGs is to get consumers spending at the rate they did pre-pandemic, by enticing them with new and exciting products.
It’s important though, that CPG companies aren’t releasing these new products before they’ve put in the work and the research to ensure their success. This is why we’ve outlined the top five steps not to be skipped before your next product launch.
1. Conduct extensive market research
The CPG industry is one of the most competitive consumer spaces. Every year thousands of new products are introduced, and thousands of them fail. Studies show that as much as 70 to 90 percent of new CPG product launches fail within their first year. Why? The number one reason is a lack of proper market research.
First and foremost, market research should aim to find out if there is a real need for the new product and what value it brings to customers. Beyond that, it should answer a range of questions including what your target consumers' shopping habits are, the type of packaging that will catch their attention, the messaging you should use to promote it, and what consumers are actually willing to pay for it.
This type of extensive research can be achieved through focus groups, surveys, or interviews. In-person is best, as you collect vocal input from prospective customers. This input will help you finalise the product and determine how to best position it in the marketplace.
This step is arguably the most important because it keeps you from having tunnel vision and only seeing the product from your company’s perspective. Remesh provides a great list of survey questions your team can use when conducting market research.
2. Define your buyer persona in detail
Once you’ve confirmed there is market fit, it’s time to get very specific about who your target audience is. It can be tempting to cast a wide net, but the best course of action is to focus on a single buyer persona for the initial product launch.
You’ll have collected some of the data you need through market research, but now it’s time to enrich that data with other sources. Using an audience intelligence tool, like Audiense, is the fastest way to get the remaining insights you need to build out a detailed buyer persona. The more insights you can include the better, as this step will act as a building block for all other steps to come.
The example below is a “Gamers” buyer persona we’ve created using the Audiense Insights platform:
You’ll see it includes demographics, top interests, personality insights, preferred media outlets, top influencers and buyer behaviour! All of these insights will be paramount in crafting your winning marketing strategy in step 4.
3. Identify and analyze your competitors
Unless your product is the first of its kind, you will face competition. So the more you know about the competitive landscape, the better positioned you can be.
A competitive analysis helps you understand exactly who you’re up against and how they operate. Through your initial digging, you should uncover what your rivals' products excel at and what they're missing.
To go a level deeper, Audiense makes it easy to keep an eye on your competition through competitor analysis.
Specifically, you can use Audiense to:
- Unearth new or emerging competitors that weren't yet on your radar
- View new brands that are quickly picking up traction, and understand why
- Benchmark your brand and their brand against desired consumer communities to see who is taking the lead
- View competitors audiences, and uncover segments you haven’t yet considered
- Analyse the marketing content your competition is producing, that is resonating most with their audiences
- Discover the gaps in your marketing strategy
Below is an image of a Social Intelligence insights report, where competing beverage brands are benchmarked against a gaming audience, to view how they rank against one another:
*when you view this report below, pretend that your CPG brand is “Monster Energy”, and see how your competitors rank against you, when it comes to the target “Gamers” audience.
Regular competitive analysis should be part of your overall marketing strategy, but it is especially important at the product launch stage. Use the insights you uncover to make adjustments to your current product or launch strategy, and become a leader in your industry.
4. Craft your marketing strategy
By now you should have an in-depth understanding of the value your product provides, the audience it is intended for, and the products it's competing with. Now it’s time to use what you’ve learned to build a killer product launch marketing campaign. Here’s everything involved at this stage:
- Product Positioning: craft a value proposition and key messaging that focuses on the benefits and features of your product, as it relates to your target buyer persona. Make sure your messaging resonates with what your target audience cares about most.
- Marketing Channels: Based on your audience’s top channels and media outlets, create the best marketing mix of social media, email marketing, content and paid advertising.
- Content Creation: Your audience’s top-consumed content should guide your content strategy, whether that be blogs, videos, infographics or all of the above.
- Content Calendar: create a schedule for social that includes a mix of posts, stories, videos etc that will get your audience excited and prepped for the launch date.
- Pre-Launch Campaign: build anticipation on social media and email by giving your audience a sneak peek, and posting countdown reminders.
- PR: get the word out about your new product using your audience’s top news outlets, bloggers, and journalists.
- Leverage Influencers: partner with your audience’s top influencers to increase your products.
A tool like SOPRISM makes it easy to get targeting right the first time, it can show you the be social channels and media channels for reaching your target audience. Additionally it makes it easy to send exact audience lists to META to be targeted.
5. Monitor and measure your success
Congratulations! You’ve created and launched your marketing campaign and your new product has hit the stores (or it's just about to). But, you’re not done - in fact, you’re far from it. A product launch is not a single moment in time, but an ongoing effort, and it should be monitored and measured throughout.
Your team should be working with a marketing analytics tool that can track everything from your social engagements to website activity. By monitoring your entire campaign, your team can do more of what's working and less of what isn’t. Now is also a time to be listening to your customers and getting their initial feedback.
When your product has gained some traction in the market, Affinio is a great tool to view how your audience has changed because of it. Quickly run a report on the new following you’ve attracted:
Maybe new audiences have emerged that you never expected! Now you have access to the insights you need to cater to them as well.
The key takeaway from these five steps is that a successful product launch is one that is backed by in-depth audience research. At certain points of the process this means in-person interviews with prospective customers and at other points, it means working with tools like Audiense Insights to surface rich audience insights. Don’t let your product launch flop because you don’t have the right tools you need. Reach out to Audiense to help make your next product launch a success!