Your product has been in R&D for years, final stage gate reviews for months and were just about to hit “Go” on your new product launch, and then … COVID-19. Now what?
Product launches can (and should) continue to happen but need to be reviewed in the context of the current state of the social and economic climate. Given how quickly the world is changing, knowing what to do when can be challenging but there are a few steps you can take to make sure your marketing strategy is ready to respond.
Revisit Your Messaging
What might have been a great campaign pre-COVID-19 could easily run afoul in the new normal, no one knows this better than KFC who had an unfortunately timed relaunch of their finger licking good campaign. Taking a more positive spin on this, have the market conditions created new opportunities for your product, are there potentially new unmet needs or market gaps where you can respond? In industrial markets, key messaging points worth revisiting include: strength of supply chain, sustainable materials, labor savings and the ability to serve multiple prices points in a single product portfolio.
While the coronavirus is having a massive impact on the entire planet, it’s also significantly affecting media consumption habits. Statisa’s research shows that in the US people are spending 30% more time on social media than before. Numerous reports have detailed the high engagement levels of video on social channels. The fact is, B2B marketers can’t avoid this tactic anymore due to its high engagement, ability to be repurposed across platforms and its ability to tell a great story on its own. I know what you’re going to say—video is too expensive. But budget doesn’t have to be the reason you stay away from video, there are tons of great options and ways to do lower budget storytelling through short-form videos, CGI and basic product demos.
Influencers Will Continue to Gain Influence
Let’s be honest, the two biggest things an industrial product launch will likely suffer from include: 1) budget, which means challenges getting content created; and 2) the ability to develop demos, offer in-person trials and sampling. An influencer campaign could be the cure. A good influencer strategy in 2020 will include one key thing: content generation as part of the agreement. Your influencer can take your brand where you can’t go for the time being—To the job site. To the distributor. To the factory floor. Use that; get them to capture as much content as possible. Next are live events. With trade shows being suspended for the time being, professionals are looking to maintain their connectivity to their network and their craft. Influencers’ ability to stay in touch with your audience through live events on social media, interaction through posts and stories on a daily basis will offer a unique opportunity for you to engage end-users.
Disrupt Or Be Disrupted
Many businesses have had to change their organization overnight to respond to COVID-19. Online ordering, delivery services or virtual customer service have been introduced in a matter of days for many industries. In a previous blog we talked about "Making Everything Easy," but easy is the hardest thing to do and now is the time to invest. Trial is key to adoption in so many industrial segments so get started by launching your product through an online sampling program. Alternatively, your entire salesforce and customer service teams are working remotely, so set up and roll out your virtual engagement experience. Your distribution channels are flailing and have no idea how to respond and sell your products. Sell direct and are to think different.
If you’re interested in connecting more about these topics, shoot me an email and we can catch up and discuss how your product launch can win in this new new.