Pre-Launching Products with Consumer Integration – Why Putting Your Customer Front and Center is a 2012 Imperative
By Julie Hall and Joan Schneider
Launching a new product or service in the age of social media isn’t easy.
As product launch specialists, we know that now it’s harder than ever to get your customer’s attention, and their dollars. Bust as more people embrace social media, brands have an opportunity to deepen customer relationships, drive loyalty and increase purchases. Extending relationships with and among customers is the new norm. It’s time to explore collaborative marketing and messaging with customers-and brands working together to find the right words and action to motivate customers to try and buy new products.
Consumer integration in action
Several brands are using customer integration in developing new services and products. New Balance customers helped design their Minimus running shoe line. Baskin-Robbins crowdsourced the creation of a new ice cream flavor. Mountain Dew’sDewmocracy campaign called on customers to advocate and gather votes for their favorite discontinued flavors.
By involving customers before making product development and management decisions, brands can acquire new customers and get existing customers excited before product even hits the shelf, leading to robust initial sales. What’s better than that?
The State-Gate Solution
Brand managers can profit from adapting Dr. Robert Cooper’s State-Gate approach to developing new products and initiatives by incorporating customer input:
- In the Preliminary Investigation phase, consider and identify what your customers really need. Why do they choose your products and brand over others? What would they change?
- For the Detailed Investigation phase, consider starting a beta program to test your product or services with a few core customers, secure feedback and use their input to refine your product.
- The Development phase provides the opportunity to craft your message with input from customers. What are they saying about your brand, product or service? What do they want to hear?
- In the Testing and Validation phase, introduce the redesigned product to the customers who provided feedback.
- During the Manufacturing Production phase, provide your employees with the training and tools they need to become ambassadors for the launch.
- In the Market Launch phase, involve the customers with whom you initially recruited to create the launch marketing strategy.
If you would like help planning your next launch, contact us email@example.com or on Twitter @SchneiderPR.
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