Launching a New Product on a Limited Budget? These Six Tips Can Help!

Launching a New Product on a Limited Budget

Not all new products launches can be supported with aggressive marketing budgets.  In recent years, most B2B marketers have been struggling to maintain even the most basic marcom functions, let alone any sort of integrated product launch plan.  And even if your overall marketing budget is solid, there are times the product being launched simply doesn’t warrant its own budget line item.  Perhaps it is a me-too product that is only intended to fill a gap in your line (or exploit a gap in your competitor’s).  Whatever the reason, sometimes launching a new product needs to be done on a shoestring budget.  But this doesn’t mean you can’t create a little buzz in the market.  Here are six things you can do to get the word out and position your product in even the most competitive environments.

Define Product Positioning

If you are launching a new product, you should have a clear understanding why.  Afterall, if you don’t know why, you can bet your customers won’t either.  Define the product’s features and benefits in a way that makes it easy for your customers to understand.  The better job you do with your messaging, the less time, energy and budget you will have to spend repeating it.

Lay the Groundwork

Occasionally in our past, we have had to challenge clients, “Why advertise?”  Odd words from an ad agency, but red flags need to be waved when a client is ready to begin promoting a product without having first developed the materials necessary to fulfill the customer’s informational needs for it.  Creating interest without being able to satisfy that interest will do more harm than good, so at a minimum, you should have a supporting product data sheet and a keyword-optimized web page with all the relevant information your customers will need to specify and buy the product.  You don’t need to spend a fortune on these materials, but they should look like professional.  Remember, many times your data sheets are your first impression, so make them count.  If you don’t have the budget to produce them out-of-house, at least ask your agency to design a template from which you can work.

Identify Core Markets

If your budget is tight, chances are running ad programs to a broad audience won’t be an option.  So work with your sales and product development team to determine which markets will likely have the greatest interest.  From here, determine which promotional avenues will provide the greatest efficiency and results.  Vertical market advertising?  Targeted e-newsletters?  Direct mail and/or e-mail?  Telemarketing?  Trade show promotion?  Paid search?  If you lack the resources to research all of these, consult with your agency.  Let them know what your budget looks like and ask them to come up with a plan that makes sense. 

Write a Powerful Press Release

A well-written, keyword-optimized press release may represent the biggest bargain in B2B marketing.  The key is to stick to the facts.  Give editors what they need in the way of detailed product descriptions, application information, performance specifications, pricing and availability, and you’ll become their best friend.  Give them a lot of overblown puffery and quotes from your VP of Sales and Marketing and you’ll end up in the trash bin.  And don’t forget the power of an attractive photo or illustration.  Editors like to make their publications and websites look good.  Help them out and your product might gain a featured position.  Once you’ve fine-tuned the release, work with your agency or distribution service to make sure it reaches all the right publications, industry sites, blogs and social sites.

Integrate Social Media

A lot of B2B marketers are trying to figure out how to integrate social media.  New product launches are an easy and very cost-effective way to dip your toe in the water.  Of course, you will have needed to establish a corporate presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., but new product introductions are a great way to keep content flowing and build your following.  Remember, social media is just that – more social.  Dial down the messaging to make it more personal.  Let people know what they stand to gain.  Post product demonstration videos.  Give them a reason to reply.  If appropriate, offer a free sample or trial.  If they’ve switched to your product, offer them a prize to shoot a brief video explaining why.  People like to talk, so give them a platform to do so.  Not only is it easy, it’s FREE!

Let Your Evangelists Spread the Word

We often forget that our best product evangelists are usually the people we work with on a daily basis.  From the receptionist and customer service representatives to sales and technical support, how many people in your organization have direct contact with your customers and prospects each day?  How about the folks with your channel partners and installers?  Provide them with a new product launch kit complete with target market information, competitive positioning, messaging and information on any relevant messaging.  Engage with them via social media and encourage them to pass the word via sharing and re-tweeting.  Keep them informed and they just might keep their customers informed too.  Again, the cost is small.  All it takes is a little effort and coordination.

So there you go.  Six things that will help you succeed when you are launching a new product on a limited budget.  Did we miss anything?  Let us know what has worked for you!

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