01/

How to Promote Products

Here is a good summary about promoting tech products. This overview goes into many different areas that are part of a new product program, as well as the three-stages of introducing new products.

Go here to find out more. 

02/

The Diffusion of Innovations

How do new products come to market? How are they accepted by buyers? What is the evaluation process? This post takes a look at the adoption curve. Read here.

03/

A Detailed Plan for Launching New Products 

If you think about it, a new product launch program from the PR side of things has three phases, pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. This post takes a look at all three different phases to launching a new product in the market. Here to find out more. 

04/

Breaking News! Thought Leadership Can Help Promote New Products

Buyers want to feel comfortable with a company's leadership team. They want to know the company is stable. Putting forth a thought leadership program can help accomplish this. Here for more info.

Promoting Products

I have been involved in launching numerous new products, services, companies, and technologies and have been on both sides of the equation: R&D and PR. Both disciplines have a product lifecycle and need to be developed simultaneously. I cannot stress this point enough.

Product PR encompasses many different elements that make up the campaign.

 

Product News. This is news coverage in media outlets for a brand new category, a new product, a new product revision. Product coverage might also begin when a product is being developed in its beta stage. Some magazines and sites, mainly tech press, will do a beta review and may also be called an early look, first look, or sneak peek.  

 

Buyer’s Guides. Many magazines have buyer’s guides which feature short summaries about products and information to find out more. These are usually free and by sending in information a product will get listed, although some might charge to do so.

 

Customer Win Releases. This news release is written when a customer buys or licenses a new product and the company selling the product writes the story and offers it to a magazine for coverage. This could be a trade magazine story for either the vendor selling the product or the customer buying the product. For example, a new data warehouse tool bought by a pharmaceutical company could get covered in tech and pharma press.  

 

Product Reviews. Many magazines have reviewers on their staff who will test out a product and review it for their audience. This could be a stand-alone product review or an industry round-up for a handful of similar products. For tech PR, the best way to manage this process is to get information to the reviewer such as product review guidelines, product data sheet, background material, features and benefits, and support contact information.

 

Awards. A product or solution implementation that was highly successful can often be submitted for an award. If a company and its product wins, it is an excellent opportunity for PR for the product and the company.

 

Case Study. A feature case study can be written by the tech company selling the product, or a pitch letter can be offered and often a magazine will assign a reporter to cover and write the case study.        

 

The Product Launch

So, let’s take a look at how all these different elements are implemented at launch time for a new product.  The new product planning should start around six months prior to launch. It’s best to start from day zero and work backwards to map out all of the tactics.  

Pre-Launch

  • Develop a strategic launch plan based on goals/objectives/strategies, competition, strengths and weaknesses, marketing channels, team and personnel responsibilities, budget, pricing, packaging, features, benefits, tech and customer support.

  • Develop a tactical plan with calendar items with this three-phased launch program (pre/during/post).

  • Write all background and marketing collateral for the product.

  • Develop key messaging such as differentiation, value proposition, talking points, and solving customer needs/pain.

  • Show it to analysts under non-disclosure and try to secure a quote and line up references and analyst commentary.

  • Line up other third-party “endorsers” such as customers, associations, professors, influencers and thought leaders.

  • Develop a beta program with beta customers and get testimonials.

  • Touch base with all other marketing, sales, and communication staff to ensure timing and messaging is integrated, coordinated, leveraged, and timely.

  • Seek out beta product reviewers for a sneak peek/first look/beta review.

  • Draft a new product news release and make sure it is optimized for online and formatted for social media. 

  • Offer it to long lead publications (and in some cases weeklies) for their magazine under NDA.

  • Get all images, photography and screenshots lined up and ready to go.

  • Write product reviewer’s guidelines and have in place to send to reviewers.

  • Line up product demo capability (software, download, install, or access to server) and be prepared to work with reviewers.

  • Develop and have ready all other sensory communications on behalf of the product: videos, podcasts, newsletter, data sheets, white paper.

  • Ensure that a special communiqué is in place for existing customers and key stakeholders.

  • Make sure that all marketing campaigns and outlets (e.g. website) and all corporate kits (marketing, sales, and press) are in sync with the same message and reflect new product mission; update all background and news material.

  • Develop a measuring and tracking capability to monitor success of campaign from start to finish.

  • Meet with spokespersons on behalf of the product and perform media training to prep them for interviews with press and analysts. 

 

Launch

  • Launch at a trade show event (if doable) and leverage all opportunities at the venue.

  • Along with the trade show, develop a multi-faceted press list based on as many angles as possible (new product, the focus of the product, regional press, marketing channels, bloggers, and vertical industry ramifications).

  • Get the release out to all on your press list.

  • Coordinate media and analyst calls, phone interviews, emails, and tour, at trade show.

  • Develop a briefing book for spokesperson for all media and analyst interviews.

  • Broadcast and provide content and news (based on social media etiquette) to your social media channels and external social media outlets.

  • Follow up with press to secure delivery of background material, images, interviews, and story.

  • Launch the news release over a wire service, after media outreach, if it makes sense for budget and release in relation to the news.

 

Post Launch

  • Offer product as a stand-alone review and try to get involved in industry round-up reviews.

  • Get product listed in all buyer’s guides and back-of- the-book write-ups.

  • Write and pitch all customer win news releases: try to secure news, local, business, and vertical press.

  • Seek out industry awards and submit the product.

  • Leverage the technical details and industry solution from the white paper and distribute across numerous outlets.

  • Work on securing case studies about the problem and corresponding product solution.

  • Keep an eye on the next product rollout (minor revision, major revision brand new product, etc.) and be prepared to start all over.

 

Wrap Up

The key to all this is the planning and execution. It sounds like a lot of work but to a seasoned professional in the field this program is quite manageable through proper planning and timely execution. The objectives of garnering market awareness, industry endorsements, and media coverage can occur by promoting the product on a daily basis (per the plan) over the six-month campaign and leading into future news and product upgrades. 

 

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