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Leveraging Digital Marketing to Minimize the Risks of Failure in a Product Launch

Not everyone is ready to jump at buying a product they are hearing about for the first time. Launching a new product is a hefty challenge in part because there is no perception built around it and that feeds the intransigent nature of consumers’ buying behavior.

People tend to repeatedly buy the same items and products in their routines. A new product is just another blank page for the fatigued consumer who is barraged with thousands of advertisements for new products each year.

Ideally, a successful product launch starts at the ideation stage of product development. For a product to be successful in the market, it must be able to serve a purpose and satisfy a need.

In his book The Four Steps to Epiphany, Steve Blank argues that most of the product launches fail because companies are simply too busy in their ivory tower of product development to see if there is a problem in the market for their solution.

He then goes on to introduce the concept of customer development where customers are discovered and validated during the course of product development and people on the marketing side work hand-in-hand with the people on the development side to reiterate and readjust based on the feedback of the early adopters before finalizing the product for the mainstream market.

Following this philosophy, we can utilize some highly effective digital marketing tools to build and reach out to our minimum viable audience.

When introducing a new product to the market, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the potential customers are spread across different stages of the product adoption curve and several strategies must be employed to move each group down the funnel. Early adopters are those who we want to look for first.

MVP and Marketing Communication via Social Media

Many companies will achieve product-market fit once they have the early majority using their products. But before that, they have to build a small following enthusiastic enough to carry the torch and spread the word. If a company fails to find early adopters for their product, it’s very likely that the product will be short-lived on the market unless it is changed and adjusted according to the feedback received.

To find the early adopters, we should keep in mind that customers don’t buy products but solutions to problems. The early adopters’ relationship with a given problem is quite different from other groups in the product adoption curve. The difference is that not only do they have the problem and know they have the problem, but they are also actively looking for a solution.

Our initial marketing communication should be tailored to this group of customers because they are so hungry for a solution that they are already looking for one. They are willing to take a risk on our new product and even share it with others who are the potential early majority.

Social media marketing is the perfect tool for this purpose not only because of its zero cost of entry and potential outreach, but also its ability to provide and facilitate mutual communication which is perfect for soliciting feedback. The best part is that by engaging in social media early on, you gradually build a community that follows you along in your journey which lays the groundwork for your future publicity attempts.

Leverage Digital Public Relations

For companies who are launching a new product, a digital PR campaign is a fast, inexpensive, and accessible way—especially compared to traditional PR— for getting publicity and early customer acquisition.

Raising awareness among the target audience is one of the main objectives of any product lunch campaign. Using digital PR, we can introduce the product to the market by, for instance, targeting bloggers and influencers who have the right audience for our product. Using this method, the product, and the company gains credibly much faster because it’s being presented by those whom the audience trust.

Another way that digital PR can help is through search engine optimization and improving the website’s ranking. Search engines are one of the first tools that early adopters use to find a solution for their problems. Getting coverage from media outlets and digital publications tremendously helps with the backlink building that’s needed to rank for targeted keywords and terms.

Working on improving the organic visibility is important because the generated traffic can easily be tracked and measured which provides us with valuable insights as to who our target audience is and where can we find them.

Minimizing the risks of failure in a product launch involves validating lots of assumptions as early as possible. Keeping in touch with the market using novel marketing instruments can contribute to a healthy product launch in a meaningful way. Early engagement with the customers may challenge initial ideas and provide data that change the company’s course of evolution.