Product launches are hard. Let’s not pretend they are a walk in the park. Similar to a person juggling a dozen plates on stage, you have so many moving parts from product positioning to your
I have been fortunate and lucky to help fashion and technology brands launch really cool products over the last few years. I’m going to use that experience to help you launch and stay ahead of the competition. If your company has been around for a few years and is looking to launch a new product and become a direct to consumer (DTC) brand, then there are some key parts of your launch that you can not overlook.
Your marketing assets and your target audience is going to make or break your success. Don’t get me wrong, product position, site content and your product all matter as well. However, if you don’t target the right people and you don’t have the assets to show them, you are going to be dead in the water, even if you get everything else right. Let’s dive into why that is the case.
Knowing your target audiences
Have you ever been on Instagram and saw an ad for a product and wonder why? Why did that brand show me that product? This happens more than we care to admit as marketers. Targeting the wrong people or using a pray and spray approach in hopes that someone will connect with the right people is the best way to waste money.
There is an old saying I heard years ago and it goes something like this:
“It does not matter how amazing or innovative your product is if the right people don’t see your ad and care. The people who see your ad need to care enough to click the ad, find out more about your product and then come back and purchase it when they are ready. There are many steps in that process that is out of your hands, which is why targeting the right people is key.”
The question then becomes, how do you know what the right target audience is? If you don’t want to take a pray and spray approach then you are going to need a roadmap to help you determine your audience. Let’s walk through our process
The first place we go look is under “Audience” in our Google Analytics. Here you can find out the age, gender, location, language spoken and the devices your current customers use. None of this data is going to be perfect and it should always be taken with a grain of salt. This data does not take into account households who share a computer nor does Google (or any tech vendor) have a perfect handle on cross device tracking.
However, I always say it’s better to have some data than no data at all. Looking in Google Analytics, you might learn that people 35 – 44 and 45 – 54 buy and use your current product in roughly the same amount. You might also learn that you don’t favor one gender over another and that Spanish is spoken as much as English. Plus you find out the USA coasts are as popular as Chicago. If I was to lay out this information it would look like this below:
Laying out this information brings up a really important piece of information. You are going to have more than one target group of customers to market to. It’s rare to launch a product and only have one group of people to show ads to. With a product launch, you don’t want to limit your potential customer groups or limit how much testing you can do at the start.
Before we move on, one other place you can look at under “Audience” in Google Analytics is “Interests.” The reason we didn’t mention this before is because of the cross-device tracking issue we mentioned earlier. After Google Analytics, the next place every team should go talk to is your customer success team.
Beyond this opportunity is to connect and work with another team in the company. I find the customer success team is often overlooked in most organizations despite the fact they talk with customers every single day. They usually have a stronger handle on what your customers are thinking, feeling and calling the company about.
Some good questions to ask your customer success team are the following:
- Who’s calling in about X product?
- What is their technical level?
- Do they call in from a certain part of the country?
- Do the people who call in differ from those who we market to?
- Any interesting tidbits about our customer base we should know about?
These are some of the questions you could ask. The last two are particularly important because you may learn something you didn’t know before. At my last job, we learned a lot of agencies were a big part of our customer base, even if they were not directly paying us to use the service. That nugget right there gives you a whole new audience to target. If I were to add agencies above, I would have a third group to target.
The reason I would break out agencies is because their needs and wants are going to be different than those who work in-house at a major brand. The easy difference is they are going to want to be able to manage multiple clients from a single account.
Beyond Google Analytics and talking with your customer success team, you can use demographics data from your Facebook or Quantcast ad accounts. Both of those offer a different point of view of your customer and help you get a deeper understanding of who you might want to target.
Knowing who you want to target means you can make sure you have the right marketing assets for your product launch.
Getting assets ready
You shouldn’t get your marketing assets ready until you know who your target groups are. There are two good reasons for this:
- Your target group helps you pick your ad platforms, which helps you know what marketing assets you need
- You want to make sure your marketing assets match the different target groups. Your agencies are going to need a slightly different message than those who work in-house
If we take the example of targeting agencies, we need to figure out which advertising platforms we are going to use to reach them. Right off the bat I know I want to use LinkedIn as the targeting is perfect when you want to reach people at a company. Google Ads also recently introduced B2B targeting but that does not have an option for targeting agencies.
Sticking with LinkedIn, I know we are going to need a smorgasbord of marketing assets for the ad platform. LinkedIn has InMail, sponsored posts, text ads and even got into the video ad game recently.
If you have been running LinkedIn ads before, then I would look at what has been successful in the past and use that as a starting point to figure out what ad formats you are going to launch with. I would also use this opportunity to test out newer ad formats including video. Sometimes it’s easy to explain a concept with a 30 second video than a long blog post.
Once you know what ad formats you are going to use, start a Google sheet document with what technical limits are placed on each ad format.
- What is the max file size for a video ad?
- Can you have motion in your sponsored post images?
- What is the minimum banner ad size you need for each format?
Making sure you have this formation means you’ll run into less trouble launching ads on LinkedIn or any other ad platform.
One thing we have done internally as an
Once you have all this information laid out, you can start to come up with ad copy and a storyboard for your video, and figure out what the assets are going to look like. You can make sure you have assets speaking to each of your target groups. You don’t want to miss out on targeting anyone with your new ads.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you create two or three versions of ad copy or another version of your video and run A/B tests across your different ad formats. It’s rare to know exactly what each target group is going to want to see. Plus once you find something that works, you can duplicate the assets and scale up variants of that messaging.
Scaling of your marketing is a whole other post for another day. What I hope you got out of this article is the important work that should go into understanding who you will target with your marketing message and making sure you have the right marketing assets.
Launching your next product is not easy but doing a bit of research and early investment with your time, means you can hit the ground running and have a successful product launch.
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