An illustration for launching product campaign marketing blog post

Launching Your Campaign

How to build anticipation for your new product and service

Peter Wisniewski

By: Peter Wisniewski
October 2018

Our group loves building hype around new products, events, and services by focusing on product launches as part of our marketing campaigns. How to build anticipation before launching something new is a very important skill that most do not practice well. It takes so much time to put together campaigns, the last thing you want to do is to haphazardly put it out.

One of the worst things you can hear from customers is… “I missed it” or “I didn’t know you were doing that” or “Why didn’t you let me know”. No self-respecting business owner wants to miss out on a sale, so let’s review the top mistakes business owners do before a product launch and then how to fix ‘em.

Top 5 Product Launch Mistakes

  1. No “coming soon” ad work (posters, posts, PR messaging, etc.)
  2. Dropping your product before everyone has been trained on the benefits and market differentiation features without proper planning
  3. No mystery or suspense in your launch
  4. Not assigning a launch team to make sure all the tasks have been checked before the launch event (email invites, location, posters, stickers, giveaways, PR, blog posts, etc)
  5. No spending enough resources for your launch promotion

Our group thinks in a campaign mindset. Therefore, we think in terms of building anticipation, creating limited-time offers, educating the customer, driving sales, and lastly, following up! If you need to catch up, take a look at our other posts and case studies.

Let’s look at a possible timeline for your product launch.

An illustration showing the timeline for launching a product.

A Launch Timeline

It is important to plan out your product launch. If done correctly, your team and customers will get excited about your product. We work a timeline that takes into consideration product development in order to understand how much time and effort we can put behind the launch.

We start by figuring out what has been shared with customers thus far in order to understand how to best leverage mystery into the launch. Then, we create a few “coming soon” pieces in order to control the narrative of the product. Next, we craft a launch event and focus on the core customers. Finally, we start selling with preorders to gauge demand and fill the pipeline.

Product Development > Coming Soon > Launch Event > Preorders

Product Development

When you are developing your product, feedback is very important, but so it keeping your trap shut! Some people make the mistake of blurring the product development stage and initial launch. This really screws things up. Before you can get your product-support and sales teams trained, you have already mistakenly launched. This is a problem because products in development are sloppy, not complete, have glitches, and can completely change! You lose your product’s narrative and now rely on the rumor mill to sell your product. You do not get do-overs in most industries and we see many products DOA when things are not compartmentalized properly. We recommend that you make people that test your product sign non-disclosure agreements to be quiet (and control your story) during this phase, so they give enough time to develop your product.

I think that Steve Jobs understood well how these concepts not only drove sales but pushed his teams to hit seemingly impossible benchmarks. He was a master at creating mystery, leaking tidbits and keeping his teams on point. I think he shows us how important it is to keep the team focused during the product development phase, keeping secret and quiet helps this part very much. You’ll have to agree that when Mr. Jobs launched a product, he really launched it!

Coming Soon

Once your product is like 99% done, start your hype machine with a simple “coming soon” poster, post, banner, video etc. that relies heavily on emotionally charged imagery. This is all mystery, no features. This is meant to charge your base. You want things to boil for a bit, before throwing your noodles (features) in the pot. I personally love to see coming soon tied to a launch event.

Launch Event

When launching your product, the more creative, the better. The crazier the better. Most people do not remember the launch, they remember the product that they can buy. In our example, most do not remember Steve Job’s iPhone keynote (only us nerds). So, be bold and assertive.

Invites to your launch event should be equally creative and fun. You do not have to be super descriptive when it comes to what the event is about, but have fun with it and target your most engaged customers. They are the ones who really care about you anyhow, so do it for them.

We love keynotes, but really love throwback ideas that are tied to product launches. Wrapped trucks, giveaways, special guests, and interesting venues all help!

Preorders

No event would be complete without taking preorders. This is the smartest way to anticipate demand. Marketing masters understand this all too well. When I saw Elon Musk do it with the Model 3, I immediately understood the value of the hype.

You do not have to be Elon Musk to know the importance of preorders. We do it with one of our favorite accounts, Julie Ann’s Frozen Custard. When a new treat is devised, we work the influencers with free samples, we put up posters all over the place, we devise emails to take the preorders and have strategic pickup days to drive excitement and sales.

What’s Next?

When planning out your launch event, build excitement. No easy task, especially when you do not have experience and understand that things take a little time to develop. Understanding your marketing rhythm, or how often you work full campaigns, will clue you into how much time you’ll have to launch you upcoming product in the works.

If you need a helping hand, this is what we do! Contract us to consult, create, and cleanup. Contact us today to start a conversation about your project and how we can launch it into the stratosphere.