Now here’s something odd. You’d think selling something new is a marketing dream, what with the word ‘new’ being one of the most powerful advertising adjectives in the dictionary. But there is remarkably little written about this subject, and what there is, usually focuses on the Dragon’s Den scenario of selling a new invention to investors. In marketing it’s more usual to sell an ‘improved’ or ‘extended’ version of an existing product or service. But that doesn’t mean the world will beat a path to your door. So here are some observations from our experiences of selling new or improved products or services.
- Go back to basics. What made you decide there was a market for this product? What are the actual benefits of using it? Most innovation benefits boil down to saving money, saving time, improving the performance of an existing product or being on-trend in fashion terms. Which of these apply to your product? This is important because purchasers need to justify their expenditure, either to themselves, their bosses or their bosses’ bosses.
- Who is most likely to buy your product? It is an acknowledged truth that it’s difficult to persuade conservative, major markets to adopt something new. Then tend to wait and follow when others have tried it out first, rejecting innovation that will involve a change of behaviour or processes on their part. (This is all well documented in Geoffrey Moore’s famous Crossing the Chasm). So you need tightly defined target groups who, for whatever reason (smaller company, history of being ‘early adopters’ for example) are likely to be attracted to your product and (holy grail) recommend it to others.
- What else does your product have going for it? Is it the latest in a popular stable of products (this is often true of IT products or services). Is your company already known for its clever, useful new widgets? Is it made from a marvellous new material that makes the impossible possible? Give the customer something they can already relate to and build from there.
- How can you find these people and what is the most effective and cost-effective way to communicate with them? Consider this: if your product is so innovative it’s unknown, there won’t necessarily be obvious search terms/key words that relate to it. You may be better using direct marketing to kick-start your marketing campaign and drive visitors to your new site.
- What is the proposition? Try to put your love-affair with your new product to one side and answer this: if you had to stand on a soapbox in a crowded market and get people to listen to you, what would be the first thing you would say?
- … and finally … how much is the right amount to say? More is not always better. With a complex new business to business product or service it is better to generate good quality sales leads that you can follow up in person. In our experience, it’s often (though not always) better to excite your target market than to go into a level of detail that risks boring or confusing them.
At Two Lizards our extensive direct marketing experience means we are unusually experienced in advising clients on the launch of new products, services, companies or divisions. For examples of some recent case histories, see our direct marketing campaign for MarketingRadar, where the launch of their Radar Marketing Suite meant condensing a raft of business benefits into a single, problem-solving proposition. Or our strategy and website for the Language Development Partnership which focused on building a relationship with a niche market and driving them to a detailed and resource-rich website.
To find out more or to discuss the launch of a new product or service, simply email us now or call us on 01403 731028. We love new.