One of the more serious errors we see in marketing also happens to be one of the most frequent – companies introduce their product or service to the market without a strategy, or with a strategy that doesn’t fit their offering. Did you know that only 4% of new product launches actually succeed? That’s terrible! Lots of companies bring their product or services to the market in a hurry; without assessing the customers and competition and without developing an appropriate marketing message, position, and go-to-market plan.
Launching a new product or service isn’t easy, and it’s easy to lose touch of the big picture when you’re swamped in the details. It’s therefore critical to take time and plan a marketing strategy before getting into the day-to-day operation of your business. Here are some questions to ask yourself when planning a marketing strategy:
• Market research
Use quantitative research to identify what your target market probably is, then go out and talk to members of that group to make sure. If you’re right, and if they appear enthusiastic about the product or service you are about to launch, it should go over well; if you’re wrong, at least you found out early, and before you invested too much. Either way, you’re guaranteed to get feedback that will help you improve your offering.
Once you have assessed the viability of your product or service, define the target market, positioning, value position and messaging of your product, pricing needs to be decided also. Getting these things down on paper will help you and anyone who works with you- stay on track, and recalibrate if your results aren’t what you expect. Make sure your messaging articulates ‘why us’? Then, it’s on to translating your strategy into tactics, via the marketing tools you use.
• Marketing tools
There’s a dizzying array of marketing tools available these days. (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube. Knowing what are they and how to use them, however, doesn’t mean they’ll all work for your business. As always, a little bit of hands-on testing goes a long way: Try using tools that you think might work, and measure your comfort level with them and the results you obtain. After you’ve sampled a reasonable amount of promotional methods, stick to the ones which work best for you, and provided the best results. There are so many variables in which tools will work in which situation that it’s hard to be more specific in this post, email me with questions and I’ll see what I can suggest!
To learn more about strategic marketing planning, download the executive guide featuring practical tips for success from 65 CMOs.