Launching a new product can be a daunting project for any manufacturer, so when the R&D is finally complete, the testing is done and part numbers are finally set, it’s important to implement a strategic marketing plan to ensure optimal impact on the market.
Follow these best marketing practices to guarantee your product launch receives the attention it deserves:
- Identify the “Lowest Hanging Fruit”
First, ask yourself “Who is most likely to buy this product, fresh off the launch?” After you identify the largest audience demographic likely to initially engage with your new product, contact media vendors that specifically cater to those readers/viewers. For example, if you see large sales conversion potential in the late model Ford market, approach magazines/websites that create content geared toward Mustang enthusiasts, Street Performance and Drag Racing.
Remember, you can always change marketing strategy to focus on new audiences as the product sells. When launching a new product, pay attention to the audience that is most likely to buy the product with the least amount of hesitation to grow sales in the early stages and build momentum.
- Create a solid budget
Make sure to set a solid marketing budget for any product launch. This helps ensure the marketing strategy is decisive, efficient and, most importantly, gets results.
The usual rule of thumb is to dedicate 3-5% of sales to marketing. With a new product launch, however no sales metrics are available to create this baseline.
Most performance aftermarket manufacturers look at similar products’ sales for a basic advertising budget guideline.
- Negotiate media buy
After you have identified your advertising budget, contact the magazines/websites from Step 1 and request media recommendations. This information should include frequency (number of insertions/impressions), issues (specific months) and size (ad specifications). Compile the recommendations to lay out your ad plan based on your budget. Keep in mind, you will need to provide creative (ad artwork) to the vendors, which may increase cost and therefore should be factored in to your overall marketing budget.
- Develop creative campaign(s)
While paying careful attention to your audience, utilize internal or external creative experts to develop an ad campaign built to the specs negotiated in your ad buy. Keep marketing on message with your overall brand but focus on the product launch with at least 70% of the real estate of the ad layout.
- Editorial Outreach
When launching a new product, editorial outreach is just as important as advertising. Product releases should be composed (in both long and short form) and released to appropriate media vendors for inclusion in upcoming issues/posts. In addition to disseminating product news, astute marketers search out new and original content to bolster the launch. Reviewing editorial calendars and providing parts for builds are great ways to increase editorial exposure well after the product is launched.
Always keep in mind: Marketing should be dynamic. Continuously identify weak areas in your marketing strategy and adapt to better reach your audience by the most efficient means. Just as your brand/company has changed over the past year (or even six months), your advertising should change.
New product launches are an exciting time for any manufacturer. But even the best new products need the right marketing support to be popular. Following a few best practices can be the difference between a successful product launch and a failure.
But just as your customers come to you for the best parts, sometimes it’s best to trust the experts. An advertising agency can take the guess work out of marketing your new product, especially if they focus in the automotive aftermarket.