With the first quarter of 2020 almost halfway done, growth strategies for the new year are well underway. For a manufacturer, this might mean launching new products or expanding to new markets. Either of those two strategies requires significant investment in time and money.
How can we make sure that our product launch makes some real noise?
To find out, we polled sales and marketing leaders from across the state to share one tip for manufacturing firms and here's what they told us:
Market the Benefits, not the Features
"Learn what your customers truly need and/or want, then focus on how you deliver that. Always try to make others' lives better through your product. Less is better." - Glenn Wilcox - VP at Lightstat, Inc.
Conceptualizing a product is just the first step; after all, we are in the MANUFACTURING business, and processes will have to align for a final product. Manufacturing businesses should leverage IoT to create smart factories that accelerate production, with AI-powered analytics to reduce unplanned machine downtime, improve product quality and overall production performance. This makes a lot of sense. By identifying the market from a demographic perspective, and also the behaviors and psychological aspects, this allows us to think of the issues our product is solving. It gives our product a reason to exist and that's where the early conception of a product marketing messaging comes about.
You can read more about Industrial Manufacturing trends in the Deloitte report here.
Market your Product Early
Creating buzz around the new product is not dependent on having the actual product on hand. This is where cross-functional teamwork and communications are so essential, having product development teams work closely with sales and marketing is beneficial for creating customer expectations and increasing demand.
"Build anticipation before launch, especially with key customers. Arm the salespeople with value props, presentations, prototypes and any pre-launch offers 3-4 months before the product goes live. Make the prospect or customer feel that they are 'in the know' so that they feel special. Start a whisper campaign on social media and in trade publications." - Janice Despotakis - Marketing Manager at Madison Company.
Big manufacturing companies use this tactic. Apple or Samsung announce the "idea," or prototype for new smartphones, months ahead of actual completion. And although this sometimes backfires, case in point the Samsung Fold and the iPhone 7, early marketing continues to be a best practice when launching new products.
Let's say you decide to follow Janice Despotakis’ advice and start creating an early buzz campaign, arming your sales force with presentations and collateral around the new product, is that all there is? How can we think outside the box?
How about a video brochure!
Video content has become a great way to generate excitement around a new product. It can provide potential buyers with an interactive experience with the prototype, which increases their expectations and desires of having the final product.
"Buyers demand technical information during the research phase and a sales cycle and have traditionally gotten this information from technical people on your staff. Sales videos mimic this in-person information exchange, to build more qualified and informed buyers, and can be used as the sale progresses towards a much larger buying decision..." - Robert Weiss - VP of Sales & Marketing - Multivision Digital
From smart factories to digital versions of products, technology is changing the manufacturing industry. As production processes evolve to incorporate new tech, sales teams have to question the traditional sales approach. "Traditionally manufacturing companies had a library of brochures and other promotional material on a shelf, and over the next few years they should build up a library of sales video content. Sales teams will LOVE this because they will have targeted videos for each product/service category and be able to use them every day in the sales process - phone call follow up, before and after meetings, etc." - Robert Weiss
There you have it folks, some quick tips from your peers when launching a new product in 2020!