There are five key stages to a successful market launch for a new brand, product or ingredient: consumer insights, category direction, brand positioning, concept development, and communicating brand identity.
A sound marketing strategy begins with the consumer. What do they think? Where do they shop? How do they make decisions? I like to call it the ‘outside-in’ perspective and it can make or break your launch. Here you need to decide who to target: what consumer profile are you interested in and what need gaps or white space is there? And by profile, I mean looking beyond simple demographics to evaluating lifestyles and attitudes to shed light on behaviours. Secondary and primary research are key tools for this task. Consuming existing data is crucial to better understanding your marketplace. The more clearly defined your potential customer is, the better chance you have to reach them.
Once the ideal consumer profile is established, attention turns to their unmet needs and the product categories or health need states that might appeal to them. It is often helpful in these situations to assess possible market segmentation models based on the needs, attitudes, and behaviours, which might be relevant to the chosen consumer target. Remember that deciding ‘where to play’ is a key decision, which will have lasting implications for your product launch. Indeed, successful market execution flows from sound marketplace analysis, segmentation, and strategic planning.
When you know the consumer and what market/product segment you want to enter, look around you. There are competitors left and right, some of whom are directly competitive, and some tangentially competitive: each is important. A thorough and detailed evaluation of the competitive marketplace environment is vital to finalising any go-to-market plan or strategy. The tactical approaches are numerous, including visual brand mapping, standard SWOT analysis, retail store visits, eCommerce market place analysis, online product reviews, social media listening tools, and focus groups or online surveys. In short, there is no more important pre-market activity than studying and understanding your competition.
Concept Development and Testing
It is now time to determine ‘how to speak’ to the potential consumer. In determining which messaging is best and your value proposition, the ‘inside-out’ thinking is risky; neither you nor your internal team is the target audience. Consider and accept the possibility of myopathy. Test your proposition with a representative consumer population to make sure the brand strategy, positioning and messaging resonate. Quantitative and qualitative research come in handy here. The point is to test your brand value proposition before you go to market, not as you go to market.
Communicate Brand Identity and Messaging
Deciding ‘where to speak’ to the consumer and through which media vehicle is a complicated proposition. Knowing your defined consumer target will help you sort through the morass; for the most part, today’s consumer is digitally educated, mobile and socially connected. It is important to understand consumers shop horizontally across channels so ensure they see your messaging on many platforms. We call this the OmniChannel and consistent communication cross-channel is a priority and will help you build both reach and frequency for your sales message.
Good luck in your marketing journey!