The time you’ve been dreaming of is finally here. All of those endless hours and, alas, sleepless nights have finally paid off. At long last, you know that you have in your hands (or perhaps on your screen) a WINNING product – one that’s going to transform the conversation in your marketplace, win you many loyal customers, and take your business to the next level.
So everything is wonderful…except for one detail. You aren’t sure how to introduce your remarkable product to the marketplace. And until you figure this out, the time you’ve been dreaming of is quickly going to turn into a nightmare filled with wasted costs, excess stress, and indeed, more of those sleepless nights.
Well, if this sounds like you – either today, or maybe where you’re headed down the road – then don’t panic. Preparing a plan for the new product introduction is a relatively straightforward process that, while not easy, is nevertheless a worthwhile investment in your business success. We look at the first 4 steps in this process, below. I’ll follow up with 3 additional important steps in my next post.
Step 1: Create your Mission Statement
What is the vision of your business? What are its objectives, goals and aspirations? And most importantly: how does your new product align with these? By crafting a focused Mission Statement and integrating it with your product, you establish the framework and foundation of your product introduction efforts. Think of this step like a compass; it won’t tell you precisely where to go (that comes later), but it will tell you in which direction to head.
Step 2: Analyze your Target Customers
Who are your customers? What motivates them to buy your new product? What are their perceptions of value (price)? By carefully understanding your target customers, you position your product into their world – because you can have the “latest and greatest” product available, but if it doesn’t fit a customer need or solve a customer problem, it won’t win their business.
Step 3: Analyze your Target Markets
Categorize your customers in terms of practical and useful groups, such as by industry, geography, vertical, and so on. Appreciate the fine distinctions between how these different target markets will perceive, evaluate and demand your product. As a bonus, the insights that you glean from this step will prove invaluable as you develop your sales and marketing material, too.
Step 4: Scope out the Competition
Even if your product is a major advancement on what your competitors are offering, don’t assume that you’re going to blow them out of the water. Rather, perform a careful analysis of your competitors’ operations. Learn how they position, price and distribute their products. Also pay attention to their marketing to see how they both respond and react to market changes. Remember, while it may be tempting to conclude that some or even all of your competitors are “flawed” or “incompetent” or anything else negative, the fact remains that they are your competitors, and you have to respect them as such. Besides, you’ll have plenty of time to prove your product’s superiority once its strategically and effectively introduced!