Submitted by: Francine Carb, President, Markitects, Inc.

What makes product and services launches unique vs. ongoing marketing communications PR and advertising programs? Almost everything. Time frames are shorter and launches are tied into real events and deadlines. Goals and objectives are completely different and aligned with longer-term business plan goals and objectives. For product and company launches to be successful, it’s imperative that a variety of marketing elements are utilized—both in the PR arena, as well as social, Internet, and traditional marketing communications. One aspect that is often overlooked, yet essential, is employee, existing client and supplier communications, which are often more important and have a higher ROI than riskier lead generation programs.

Defining the Stages and Elements of a Product or Service Launch

Launches are unique in that they must have a staged-approach with reasonable goals set, achieved or expected. Different marketing elements are used to maximize the return at each stage. For instance, PR should be used pre-launch to build excitement and get constituents on board. Social media and enewsletters can be used to report progress. Traditional media, including Internet marketing, are most appropriate once the company has established a presence and the product is ready for distribution.

During the pre-launch planning timeframe, it’s important to do your research, namely, interview and gain competitive intelligence from employees, Board members, customers, prospects, industry leaders and strategic partners. Developing a brand or product “Personality” early in the process will give you a strong foundation for post-launch back-to-business operations.

On the Launch Menu

Regardless of your taste or venue, your launch plans should include due diligence and consensus building regarding your:

  • Vision and goals—Big Hairy Audacious Goals
  • Positioning issues/Uniquely identifiable differentiators
  • Historical perspective core values and beliefs
  • Public relations/external relations objectives
  • Marketing objectives
  • Audiences served (current and future)
  • Ideal clients
  • Ideal client characteristics & psychographics
  • Competitive analysis/competitive map
  • Discussion of other organizations to emulate