The majority of B2B tech companies are operating in extremely crowded markets. Businesses across most industries — from backup and disaster recovery to cloud security and big data analytics — have to find ways to rise above noisy competitors to establish greater share of voice and market distinction.
One way to achieve that is through a successful and strategic product launch.
A company is only as good as what it offers, but even companies with the best technology on the market need help generating awareness and buzz. With a well thought-out product launch, such exposure can not only be achieved, but turned into leads!
In the past, product launches were much simpler from a PR and media perspective. Just fax the release to your target journalists and hope an article appears. But, today, there are many more components to incorporate in order to rise above competitors and make your launch a success. In this three-part series, we’ll look at the most important elements of the three main phases of a product launch in order to make it a success: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch.
The pre-launch phase is by far the most important phase and often begins months in advance – and we’re just talking about the PR and marketing side of it, not the actual product development or testing! Below are five of the most important things to consider during the pre-launch:
1. Beta Customers
Testing the product with a few key beta customers not only lets the dev team work out any bugs or kinks while building customer loyalty, it prepares a great third-party endorsement for the product launch. Happy beta customers that can speak knowledgeably on the product make great references for media interviews, analyst briefings, case studies and even blog posts.
2. Collateral Prep
Beyond the product-specific elements like a website landing page, data sheet, analyst presentations and FAQ, the most important piece of collateral to prepare from a PR perspective is the press release. This is the key to align the product messaging among all teams involved, because it will influence the media pitch as well as additional collateral such as blog posts and bylines.
While getting media coverage for a launch may be top priority, developing a byline gives companies a new way to control the message through brand journalism (and while many publications won’t take product- or company-specific content, there’s often an underlying issue or pain point that any product launch addresses, which can be capitalized on).
To ensure that quality media coverage results on the day of the launch, and not just syndicated press release content, it’s essential to pre-brief all top product reviewers, media and analyst targets. Pre-briefing analysts can result in more credible endorsements, because businesses can incorporate their testimony in press release quotes (or blog posts) and use them as references for journalists.
With the right prep, beta customers can also be offered to media as credible references during pre-briefings. Of course, with any pre-brief strategy, companies need to closely monitor for leaks that may scoop the news.
4. Marketing Integration
Before a launch, it’s important to integrate PR efforts with other marketing collateral like infographics, whitepapers, webinars and demos. Having a coordinated effort on all fronts can help ensure a “big splash” on the day of the announcement.
5. Tradeshow Coordination
With enough foresight, launches can be optimized even further by being timed with a tradeshow or industry conference. At such events, there’s already a plethora of media and analyst influencers in attendance — as well as customers, partners and prospects. Attendees are often keen to see what’s being announced and what’s new at events, and will spread the word on social media channels, so this can be a gold mine for generating buzz.