B2B Marketing Strategies to Avoid Product Launch Failures
Propelrr ContributorDecember 15, 2021
Having a quality product or even a well-known brand name alone does not guarantee the success of your product launch. It takes a combination of those and the backing of solid B2B marketing strategies, too.
In fact, 95% of new products fail to make an impact on the intended audiences because of a lack of a solid B2B marketing strategy. Yes, poor designs may also account for these failures. But often, these futile campaigns result from poor product placements and lackluster differentiation.
To avoid this and ensure long-term profitability, it’s important to identify and examine all of your possible obstacles plan accordingly to mitigate them.
Planning a successful B2B product launch
Specifically, here are a few actionable steps you can take when planning for and marketing a successful B2B product launch.
- Focus on core elements
- Conduct sufficient research
- Have clear and well-defined goals
- Leverage curiosity to generate interest
- Align launch tactics with your intended audience
1. Focus on core elements
It can be tempting to rush an unveiling of your product. But don’t flash your new product to the world without laying the groundwork for digital marketing, demand, finances, and competition.
Take the time to set up foundational and audience-specific strategies. Then, make sure you have an efficient cross-functional planning team to plan out and implement integrated operating strategies.
Another common mistake is to believe that the actual moment of launch matters the most. But what you should have is a comprehensive launch strategy with three distinct phases:
- Pre-launch. This is the phase where you prepare distributors, train sales reps, and get your technical and field support ready.
- Launch phase. Here, it may be a good idea to target industry conferences to unveil new products. Again, this can facilitate discussions with qualified prospects.
- Post-launch phase. This is where you tweak your marketing message, pricing, etc. according to feedback gathered from buyers and sales teams.
2. Conduct sufficient research
An indifferent audience can be turned into leads if you take the time to understand their needs and pain points. Research is critical to this process because it facilitates conversations with your customers.
RELATED READING: Power-up Your Product Messaging With Heuristic Evaluation
You should start doing this at the development stage, where it is easier to make additions and changes to your product or launch approach if required. Use the opportunity to identify the pain points affecting your industry or problems your audience encounters.
Here are some questions to ask your customers or prospects:
- How long have they faced this problem?
- What other solutions have they tried?
- What kind of losses have they experienced as a result?
The answers can provide valuable insights into the market gap and how you can fill it. For example, according to recent surveys, over 70% of customers today prefer to pay with a credit or debit card.
Even in the B2B space, more and more clients want to be able to do things themselves without interacting with salespeople or support teams. This sort of understanding of the industry is necessary to create products that your clients need in the way they want to use them.
3. Have clear and well-defined goals
What does your B2B marketing strategy aim to achieve, both with this particular product and in the long term? A particular product launch is part of an overall strategy and brand, so it should integrate with your existing business goals.
Define and measure your goals carefully because that’s how you stay on target. SMART goal setting is a highly effective method to develop specific targets that you can achieve by launching your new product. You should have a list of goals that are:
- Specific. Know exactly what kind of marketing penetration, sales, click-throughs, and growth you are expecting.
- Measurable. Know how much is enough, or example, a 15% increase in leads or a 10% increase in market share.
- Actionable. The goals must be to improve business performance and have a measurable effect on your processes.
- Relevant. Do your goals reflect the pain point of audiences?
- Time-bound. How soon are you going to achieve them, this year? Next month?
So, for example, your SMART goal might be to achieve a 10% increase in leads coming in from social media over the next three months. The specifics will change with the product and marketing methods, but no matter what, your goals should be measurable so you can gauge your progress before, during, and after the launch.
When you launch, look for accounting tools that come with crucial features like automated analytics tracking so you can always monitor your sales and customer engagement.
4. Leverage curiosity to generate interest
Implementing a product launch strategy that uses mystery and suspense to pique interest can be quite effective. This approach centers around disclosing minimal information at a particular time. The secrecy and curiosity can build excitement and buzz when done correctly.
How can you leverage curiosity? The answer is to tease the release (or rerelease) of a product well in advance to generate interest. One of the prime examples of this strategy is Apple’s approach to launching new products. Since the reinvention of the company and its iPhone launch, Apple has used surprise and anticipation to get people excited for their latest release.
5. Align launch tactics with your intended audience
If you are releasing your product to a target market or if you’re expanding your products into a new region or country, it is vital to adapt your product launch messaging to the target audience. It is imperative to research the target market and be aware of cultural preferences to ensure your product resonates with the target demographic.
In B2B marketing, it is also important to adapt the launch of your products with the audience in mind to meet the requirements of the industry you are working in. Ultimately, your product should help them solve their particular problems, so you want to speak their language and show them how your product will make their lives easier.
What not to do
The more time you spend structuring, researching, and forecasting your launch, the higher your chances of success. Be open to making alterations along the way depending on input from customers and internal teams.
To better aid you in the process, here are some examples of failed product launches and what you can learn from them:
The main problem with Google’s Glass launch was the audience who did not actually want or need the product. Unfortunately, Google neglected to define and research their audience properly, presuming the hype would be sufficient to appeal to a broad audience base and sell the product without a fundamental value proposition.
Instead, it is essential to have an in-depth understanding of your target audience to ensure that your product will fulfill a market need and solve customer problems in a specific way. Never get to the launch phase without research market demand for a product.
Apple rushed the release of this personal digital assistance because of rumors of competitor products about to hit the market. As a result, they failed to test the technology, and its unique selling proposition (USP) wasn’t clear.
Unlike now, people then were unwilling to pay a premium price merely for the brand name. Ultimately, Apple’s product launch failure paved the way for the significantly successful iPad and iPhone. But it’s still a good example of the importance of resonating with an audience and being clear about how a product adds value.
As a B2B marketer in particular, it is essential to make sure that you highlight and communicate your product’s USP in all of your launch messaging.
Even though Coca-Cola is known for testing taste and other factors before launching a new product, it didn’t work with New Coke. They badly underestimated the emotional attachment of the loyal audience base to the brand, alienating its core target market. The brand changed to mimic its competitor, undermining its brand position.
While rebranding can benefit a company, it must be done strategically. You can even involve your target audience in the process so they don’t feel left behind.
Launching new products is essential for B2B businesses that want to advance and meet evolving market demands. But to ensure that you get as much awareness and interest as you can for these, proper planning is critical.
Apart from the planning, here are some other things you should keep in mind when launching new B2B products:
- Practice due diligence. So you can build and market a product that resonates with your audience, gets them interested, and provides a solution to their problems and hurdles.
- Run your launch in three phases. Ensuring this three-phase procedure is followed allows you to prepare all of your stakeholders to receive your product.
- Set goals and be SMART about it. Launching your new product should come with a purpose both for your business and your customers. Make these crystal clear and plan a practical approach on how to achieve them.
What steps do you take to ensure a successful launch of your new B2B products? Make sure to share them in the comments or let us know your thoughts over on Facebook, X, or LinkedIn. We’d love to discuss!
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About the Author
Lee Li is a project manager and B2B copywriter with a decade of experience in the Chinese fintech startup space as a PM for TaoBao, MeitTuan, and DouYin (now TikTok).