Unless your company is part of what I like to call the “Tech Select” (Apple, Google, Facebook…you get the picture), people aren’t reading news about your product launch. At least that’s what a conversation with a journalist revealed to me last week. According to his website analytics, few people read product announcement stories. Now, this might just be the case for this particular publication; however my hunch is that product news generally doesn’t get eyeballs unless it’s truly novel or it’s about the iPhone 5.
Likewise, this journalist pointed out the communication rules of engagement are changing for companies and the media, ensuring there’s no proven way to interact with outside audiences. With all the new “speakers” for information, it’s hard to create the “surround sound” effect both companies and the media want and need. Marketers face a daunting task since it’s their job to create that effect among all the channels.
This is especially true for product launches because those songs have been sung and the media are a bit tired of all those .0 press releases. So what should companies do? They need their target audience to know about the new product and eventually buy it. As digital communication professionals it’s time we rethink product launches and counsel our clients to go beyond just talking about features and functionality:
Show the Problem, Then the Solution
Figure out how to show the media the problem. It’s easy to tell them about it, but use video, infographics or unique research to illustrate the point and make them feel the problem. Only then are you ready to tell them about the solution. We did this with BitDefender by creating some amazing videos to introduce their 2011 product line.
Do the Opposite
Look at how most companies announce products and then do the opposite. Most companies aren’t going to get rid of their press releases (nor should they, since journalists do use them) but think about the press release as the last step. Instead, think about other launch models; for example, invite select customers to use the new product and let them announce it. Take Spotify, a popular European online music service. Instead of just offering the service in the US, the company is building buzz by offering select invites in the US market. This “in crowd” will generate amazing word-of-mouth, helping the company gain momentum in the States.
Be Timely, Really
Tie the product to industry trends by using what’s going on in the world to reinforce why this product matters. Sounds simple, but it’s not done enough.
What other product launch ideas have worked for you or have you wanted to try? What should companies be doing to re-launch the launch?