Entrepreneurs are usually quite eager to bring their products to market. After spending countless hours on product development and design, many business owners think that generating sales will be easy. When they read statistics about the number of new products that fail, they are often surprised. Failure is usually due to bringing products to market improperly. For new products, marketing is the main determinant of future sales.
There are several steps involved in introducing and marketing new products to target audiences. The process begins with assessing the competition to see which companies offer similar products. After reviewing marketing materials used by these businesses, the entrepreneur should develop marketing messages that distinguish the new product from what the competition is selling. By pointing out the unique qualities of the product and how these can benefit consumers, the entrepreneur positions the item for success.
Marketing focus should include only those consumers who are likely to make a purchase. Some of them may currently be buying similar products and will appreciate the added features of the new one. Others have expressed a need for the unique aspects of the new product. It is much easier to meet a customer need than to create one so these scenarios represent attractive situations from a marketing perspective.
By evaluating the competition and determining the ideal customer to target, entrepreneurs can more easily identify how to set themselves apart from the competition. They can then create a unique proposition regarding the value of the product. Selecting marketing and sales channels comes next. Marketing can be done via catalogs, online, through retailers, or via print, television, or radio advertisements. Multichannel marketing is typically the most successful because it spreads the word to more consumers and makes shopping more convenient.
Despite the enthusiasm to get products to market, product launches should not be rushed. Marketing strategies and messages should be tested with focus groups, sample audiences, online research, and using other methods to determine their effectiveness. Results of this testing should be used to refine marketing approaches and materials.
When rolling out new products, marketing campaigns should be aligned with public relations efforts. Interviews, press reviews, articles, and launch events are examples of successful public relations activities for new products. Results from marketing should be monitored and adjusted to take advantage of the most effective efforts. As the product matures, the marketing campaign should be updated and the product design may need to be revised.