Three Common Communication Mistakes To Avoid During Your Next Product Launch
Product launches can be described as controlled chaos. They are the culmination of months, or even years, of effort that involves personnel and resources from various departments throughout the organization. Often, product launches are not as successful as anticipated. It is estimated that the product launch failure rate lies between 70% and 90%, and the primary reason for this failure is poor preparation.
Everything must come together like clockwork to make a product launch successful, especially when a direct mail campaign is involved in the launch. While many things can go wrong internally, when the external communication component misses its mark, the product launch is doomed.
Here are the three most common product launch communication fails, all of which are particularly impactful to a direct mail campaign, and how to avoid them.
1. Not targeting the appropriate market
One common communication mistake involves not keeping your in-house list, or customer database, up to date. Customers relocate, and updating your database to reflect this is crucial to hitting your target. Run your database through a national change of address process before your product launch mailing. This process will ensure that you aren’t wasting money sending your communication to incorrect addresses.
A related pitfall involves sending the communication to past customers who may no longer be within your geographic market. Not everything can be sold over the internet – often, the purchaser needs to be physically within the seller’s region to account for transportation costs. When this is the case, sending a communication to prospects outside of that geographic area is a waste of time and money. Go through your mailing list and exclude addresses that are outside of your product launch geographic area.
If you don’t have an in-house list or your in-house list is small, consider working with a fulfillment partner who can purchase a mailing list for you. The right supplier can work with you to determine the demographic profile of your target market and acquire the appropriate list to enhance your campaign.
2. Not communicating a clear message
Some product launches fail to live up to expectations because a clear message was not communicated. When a communication doesn’t identify the product is being sold, promote the benefits of the product, or include a call to action, the target audience won’t have any motivation to make a purchase. Your recipients may not understand what you are offering, why they should make a purchase, and what deal they may be missing.
For example, a business that is launching a new line of filtration systems for residential pools should do more than just communicate that this product is for sale. Launch communications should also illustrate the benefits of purchasing, or upgrading, to the new product. Additionally, the message should communicate a clear call to action (“Come in today for 15% off!”) When these standards are met, the target audience understands what product is being promoted and why they should consider making a purchase.
3. Improper timing of your communication
Companies can be so focused on getting their new product to market that they don’t think through the timing of their launch communications. There are two aspects of timing to consider.
One timing aspect relates to the nature of the product. Keeping with the pool filtration system example, it makes sense to start launch communications just before spring when the target audience is beginning to think about getting their pools ready for swim season. This is the time of year when pools are on the top of their mind, so sending the communication at the appropriate moment makes them more likely to act on the offer.
Another timing aspect relates to the deadline of your offer. If you don’t plan ahead, your direct mail piece won’t make it to mailboxes in time for your target audience to make a purchase decision and act upon it. It is essential that you consult with your vendor partner to determine the amount of lead time needed to design, print, and mail the communication to get it into the hands of the target audience to optimize sales.
Consult with your vendor partner early and often
By all accounts, the product launch failure rate is very high, but with thoughtful preparation regarding your direct mail campaigns, it doesn’t have to be. Don’t let these common communication pitfalls be the reason your product fails to launch successfully.
To improve the chances that you have a successful launch, begin consulting with a skilled supplier like ImageMark as early as possible. ImageMark can help you compile and optimize your mailing list, crystallize your message and offer, and map out a schedule that will ensure that your message reaches your target audience at the right time.