Your B2B product launch is an exciting, albeit stressful, time. The last thing you want is for avoidable B2B product launch mistakes to cripple your launch.
As Winston Churchill famously said, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." While your launch is not on the same league as world wars and mass injustice, the veracity of this quote applies to many areas of life, including your product launch.
The bottom line: You can avoid many product launch woes when you learn from the mistakes of others.
Let's get right into some of the biggest mistakes we've seen in product launches, and how you can avoid these in your own B2B marketing strategy.
8 B2B Product Launch Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Mistake #1: Not Doing Sufficient Research
This mistake could result in your releasing a product to an indifferent audience.
Your research comes down to one thing: Talking to your customers. This is best done at the development stage, when it's easier to make changes and additions.
Discover what pain points affect your industry. What problems do people face? Get them to share examples with you as a reference point. Here are a few questions to ask prospects or customers to get to the bottom of the pain point:
- What problems do you face?
- How long has it been a problem?
- What has this problem cost your company?
- Have others tried to fix this problem? Did it work?
If possible, ask for examples of specific problems your customers have battled.
All of this will provide insight into whether or not there's need for your product and just how great that need is.
If there's no real interest among your audience, go back to the drawing board and create a product that your audience will love.
Mistake #2: Not Working Enough on Positioning
Your positioning is the driving force behind your product's success. Don't go at it halfheartedly, as if it's an afterthought. It should be the most important part of your product launch.
When working on product positioning, it's easy to focus on what your product does. But a long list of features will put your audience to sleep. Forget features. Emphasize what customers can do with your product. How does it enhance their work experience? Weave that into your messaging.
Once you have your positioning locked down, it's time to share it with all of your teams. The goal is to have a cohesive campaign. You want your audience to see the same message no matter where they are -- be it social media, your blog, at a presentation.
There's one more point about getting your teams on board with your positioning. It stirs excitement. Circulate your key message and let the enthusiasm build. If your teams get on board with this message, it will most likely spread to your customers as well. If your team doesn't get excited about it, then you need another message.
Mistake #3: Not Beta Testing
So you've done the research and now have a product that you think your audience is going to love. But don't get ahead of yourself. There are still kinks that you'll want to work through before you go live.
This is where beta testing comes into play. Invite an elite group of your audience to test it. Choose beta testers who play hard ball. You want a completely honest appraisal before you release your product to the harshest of audiences. Choose ones who have a lot of industry experience and will be able to give you valuable suggestions to improve your product.
Take any criticism in stride and save your energies for beefing up your product. Meanwhile, use positive feedback in your launch materials to show third-party approval.
This is also a great opportunity to work with influencers. They will have some spot-on suggestions, but may also give you a valuable endorsement once you're out of the beta testing stage.
Mistake #4: Making the Announcement Before Everything is Locked Down
Whatever you do, don't announce too soon. Ensure that everything is prepped and ready to go before the news of your launch goes live.
If you go out prematurely and run into an unexpected delay, you risk your audience's losing interest and moving on to another brand.
What should be locked down ahead of time?
- Specialized content, such as blog posts, white papers, and ebooks, that promote your product.
- Messaging and positioning.
- Live event details.
- Social media posts and promotions.
- Third party reviews
Mistake #5: Not Living Up to the Hype
If your messaging claims that this is the best product to enter the industry, you better make sure it lives up to those claims. Otherwise, it is like building a tower without ensuring that the foundation can support it -- it could potentially come crashing down.
If your product falls short of your description, you not only risk losing your audience, but also your brand's reputation. We've heard stories of a brand's losing its audience's respect and trust because of such dishonesty -- and it's a long and difficult road back.
It's better to be honest and straightforward about your product's capabilities than to set the bar too high. If it truly isn't "the most innovative product to hit the market in decades," then skip the marketing hype and just tell us simply what it matters.
Mistake #6: Not Having All Your Assets Locked Down
If these are not ready to go at launch, you will run around like a chicken with its head cut off getting everything ready -- and the final product will most likely reflect that.
Start your content creation from the moment your product itself is locked down. Get members of your team and outside resources onboard as soon as possible. Create deadlines that will leave some breathing room before your planned launch.
Mistake #7: Not Establishing a Solid Distribution Strategy
You've worked hard on your product -- and it's probably an amazing product. No matter how amazing it is, though, if you don't get it in front of the right eyes, it won't get any lift-off.
This is why you need to spend serious time on your distribution strategy.
There is no shortage of distribution channels --social media networks, blogs, trade publications, news sites, and more. The reality is you can't do everything, nor would it be advantageous to your B2B marketing strategy to do so.
Take the time to review your research about your audience. Learn where they spend the majority of their time. How do they consume their content? What media types do they perfer? What sites?
Once you've collected this information, you may have too many channels. Pare it down to the most essential -- the distribution channels most of your audience frequents.
Then, diagram it. Use a content calendar to visualize your strategy. This will help you to see what holes you need to fill and ensure you're covering all of your bases.
Mistake #8: Not Measuring Campaign Results
From the moment your product launch goes live, you want to have PR analytics programs and other metrics in place to monitor your progress.
Set clear goals early on in your product launch planning. That way, you'll have defined reference points to help you measure your results. How many customers would you like? How many click-throughs? How many website visitors? Determine what metrics are important to you.
Just as a skilled pilot uses his or her instruments to gauge progress and make route and altitude adjustments, you too can use these metrics to adjust your product launch campaign to better attain your preset goals.
We wish you all the best as you prepare for your next product launch. May you avoid these B2B product launch mistakes and hit it out of the park.
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