Thursday, December 11, 2014

#Marketing #IndieBooksBeSeen A Launch is a Process, Not an Event

Planning your launch so that each activity is integrated with the next takes teamwork, organization and patience. 

One of the biggest challenges for marketers is "the launch." Whether it is the initial company launch, the launch of a second generation product, or a launch into a new market segment; the process is similar and the results are equally important.

"Launch" is one of those tricky marketing words. If you ask three people for a definition, you will get three different answers. I define launch as the beginning of an overall integrated marketing campaign. When a launch is planned as a stand alone event - a big party with industry press, analysts and customers - you will usually see a spike in press coverage. That spike will generate awareness and demand, which leads to initial sales. But then it tends to flatten out. This is when people start to second guess their revenue forecasts. Sales start to question whether marketing is doing its job. Marketing starts to question why Sales can't close the deals. 

Every launch has a beginning, a middle, and an end. if planned well, one launch will lead right into the next. A launch can take many different forms. It can be a "big bang" or "crescendo" where activities lead up to or are triggered by a specific event. It can be more like "rolling thunder" where activities are happening over a period of time. The key here is that a launch is not an event. It is a series of related marketing activities focused around a single purpose - achieving your business objective. 

Pick a launch date (you have to start somewhere). The date can be tied to an industry event, a holiday or season, or basic product availability. 

Plan your launch by working backwards from the date. List all the activities you have planned for the launch. Identify the dependencies. For example, you need creative content from the landing page to include in the email campaign; you need the messaging before you create the datasheet; you need a customer testimonial for the website and the sales presentation. Based on the timing of each activity, create a timeline of when each item is due, and who is responsible for getting it done. 

Your plan should have 3 main sections. First, activities leading up to the launch date like developing the messaging, creating the webpage, sales presentation and datasheet. Second, specific activities that occur on the day of the launch like when and how the website goes live, the email campaign begins, the press release is issued. Finally, activities to continue the excitement like feature articles, customer webinars, sales contests, email and viral campaigns. 

Your launch plan does not have to be complicated. It doesn't need to be a living launch plan. Things have a way of changing. You need to be able to adjust quickly as you learn more, and identify the impact of changes on other activities. Having everything written down helps you identify the impact of changes across elements of the launch. 

It also helps minimize the "oops" factor - that tiny little detail that falls through the cracks and that you family and friends will remind you about for years to come. 

Information provided by Laura Lowell and, with permission, shared.

Author K. Meador is a mom to two grown sons who are currently pursuing their adult lives outside the home. She enjoys history, aviation, writing, and romance. In addition, she enjoys photography, walking, and visiting with family and friends. For the past several years, she has traveled with her job and has now settled down in Oklahoma City area.

Please leave a comment on this blog and share if you are so inclined.  Author K. Meador has multiple published books which are available in paperback, eBook, audio and Spanish.

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K-Trina Meador, aka K. Meador