Marketing strategy development is one of the most critical phases of new product development. Developing a marketing strategy helps to define who will purchase the new product or service, identify how much they will pay and determine who they view as the competition. Failure to complete this step increases the odds that the new product will not reach its potential due to lack of consumer focus.
Marketing strategy development is based on the premise of how to develop and enhance the marketability of your product or service. The focus is on what you do internally with your product to create those benefits and attributes that can be turned into sales.
A marketing strategy is more focused on things like the target audience, a strong value proposition, and reaching the target audience.
Essentially, it all comes down to what suits your company at a specific period. Consult your marketing experts to determine the most lucrative marketing model for your new product.
But first, let’s create a framework that factors in the entire product life cycle.
Sounds like a lot to digest. So, let’s break it down into the stages in the NPD process.
1. Brainstorm A New Idea
The journey to product launch begins with a new product idea and shaping a product concept. In most companies, ideation rests on the shoulders of a cross-functional team of marketers, product managers, and product owners.
With that in mind, your company needs a centralized idea cache for every product initiative. You can also extend idea generation to your audience by asking for feedback or general ideas, as part of the marketing campaign. And here, a marketing team can help with choosing the correct channels to present the initiative and set up the flow smoothly.
However, sifting through swathes of ideas can hinder concept development, hence the need for idea screening. Besides, every product idea sounds good on paper until you test it in real-life conditions. A marketer’s role is to collect suggestions and inquiries and shape raw concepts, and then, a cross-functional team brainstorming session can be held.
Normally, a product development team should have a dedicated representative from marketing.
For example, you’ll need the input of expert designers with design thinking skills when working on a website or mobile app. The expertise of designers helps shape product proposals and raw concepts into more realistic potential products.
The role of marketing teams at the brainstorming stage is valuable. They can support the process by being knowledge holders or idea presenters and validators. Marketing teams can also provide insights on how a new product may fit the market, how to promote it, which approaches to use, evaluate obvious challenges with an NPD market launch, and more.
2. Define Your Target Audience
Now that you have pinned down a new idea (or a few ideas), you need to conduct marketing research to identify a target market for the new product. Reach out to your potential customer or established customer base and seek their opinion on the new product idea.
Information from questionnaires, forums, and surveys can also help you determine the target audience. From this, you can create buyer personas and user stories that aggregate the following demographic data:
- Average age
- Marital status
Eventually, you can conduct a well-informed market segmentation procedure. You can also conduct competitor research by using a SWOT analysis to determine the best way to position your product.
3. Specify The Value Proposition
Once you have an idea and a target audience in mind, start working on the value proposition — the product’s purpose.
- What are the product’s core benefits to the customer?
- Is this a new product idea?
- Are you revamping an existing product?
Apple uses a marketing mix that combines the improvement of existing products alongside product innovation. This technique is effective because it maintains the same level of familiarity while ushering in a completely new product.
On the flip side, Tesla rolled out the new Cyber Truck with a novel working prototype, albeit a disaster of one. Notwithstanding, your company can emulate this model by producing a usable prototype or beta version for users.
4. Shape A Marketing Strategy
With the product almost ready for launch, you need to start thinking about the best marketing strategies for your new product development process. From the information gathered during market research and competitor analysis, you can decide on the best product positioning strategy.
This stage in the product roadmap is critical in terms of sales and conversions. You need to create a compelling brand message to drive your marketing campaign. So, the product manager and the marketing team must collaborate to generate a product story that resonates with the target audience.
This story can be adapted to suit various marketing channels and sales funnels. Prepare to diversify your lead generation with SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, organic searches, native ads, public relations, and more. To increase ROI, combine these tactics as they relate to your target demographic.
5. Testing And Product Launch
With your marketing strategy in place, start finalizing the product launch. As a marketer or product manager, you must prioritize an internal concept test before releasing the product to the public.
Why is an internal test necessary?
First of all, concept testing allows your company to visualize potential flaws in the design and realization of the product. For instance, testing will enable you to detect flaws and compatibility issues with your product — something Elon Musk probably forgot to do with his Cybertruck.
During internal concept testing, a marketing team usually helps with these areas:
- UI polishing from a design standpoint
- UX evaluation, e.g. you can conduct customer development sessions where marketers will evaluate product features, ease of use, and more.
- customer acquisition
- competitive/market pricing analysis
- marketing materials (promos, landing pages, onboarding approaches, and more)
- feature comparison and promotion in relation to direct competitors
Meanwhile, the product and dev team is responsible for the deployment of tech improvements resulting from UI/UX tests, the establishment of the required website/app architecture to integrate marketing materials, and documentation. So the efficiency of internal testing depends on the collaborative efforts of cross-functional teams.
Additionally, you can involve focus groups to do external testing. For this, you need an MVP or beta version of your product.
Next, you need to establish a pricing policy and test it before rollout.
- Is the pricing below or above the market average?
- Will the company recoup expenses after sales?
- Which sales funnel will generate the most leads and conversions?
Once you’ve settled on pricing and are satisfied with the product, you can now show the product to a focus group and push it to the marketplace.
6. Measure Success
The post-launch analysis is a critical product development stage, especially when working on a new product concept. You want to monitor the product’s reach and overall market success.
Use product-related KPIs to monitor impressions, conversion rates, bounce rates, and other valuable metrics. This data will help you fine-tune your marketing strategy for the product moving forward.
R.G. Cooper emphasizes the involvement of cross-functional teams as one of the critical drivers of new product development. You should create a cross-functional team not only to cover the development process areas but to monitor customer feedback/engagement for further improvements. Don’t forget to collect information from multiple users through social media and customer support.
Eventually, this critical success factor will facilitate your company’s post-launch product improvements, like updates and patches. You can also use the data to start a new retargeting campaign for the same service.
This stage completes the new product development and marketing cycle.
Tips for an Effective Product Marketing Strategy
1. Start Product Marketing Early
Before you begin marketing, it’s a good idea to define your product. Unless you’re a major brand name, customers don’t typically react well to ambiguity.
- What does your product do?
- How does it compare to your competitors?
- What values and attributes will your product have that set it apart?
Once you establish a clear set of benefits, then you can identify why there is a need for your product in the market. Consumers are most concerned about the price, quality, function, and availability of your product.
The biggest part of product marketing is testing customers. Many companies offer sneak peaks and sample groups to test products. Gauging reactions, filling out surveys, and collecting data about the usefulness of your product should be your first priority in generating your marketing campaign. Without a positive reaction, there won’t be a campaign.
A marketing consulting firm can help you identify product development issues and strategize ways to reach a wider audience.
2. Share on Websites and Social Media
Once your product is tested in focus groups and is received well, build a landing page for your product.
Add an opt-in email feature to collect more information on customer preferences, and generate interest at the same time.
Keep your consumers updated, excited, and informed as new developments occur.
Build a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and start informing customers about your product.
3. Get Your Team On Board
Is everyone in your company informed and excited about working on your product? Every employee has an idea, so listen closely. Sometimes the biggest marketing innovations come from unexpected team members.
4. Set Goals and Plan Your Budget
An essential part of any marketing strategy is planning ahead. How much time and resources are you willing to allocate to launch your new product? Designate teams and leaders that keep your company on time for a product launch.
5. Product Marketing Support
Develop content, brochures, videos, and materials to support your product. If your product is technology-based, begin training a customer service network and build a framework for warranty, repairs, and support.
Your marketing strategy should be a cross-channel collaboration. Use email, web, social media, SEO content, websites, and new digital strategies to reach your target audience.
What is Marketing Strategy Development?
Identify Target Markets
Target markets are those segments of the population that the small-business owner deems to be potential customers. A variety of criteria ranging from income level, to age, to geographic location can be used to determine these targets, depending on the product or services you sell.
Your marketing strategy should be designed to address these markets first and foremost. For example, Forbes suggests that if a company’s goal is to reach millenials, digital messages should be succinct, eye catching and engaging.
The remainder of the market can also be addressed with a separate undifferentiated marketing strategy in an attempt to leave no stone unturned if you so desire. Your target markets should be specific to your type of business and should be discerned through market research and experience.
Set Measurable Goals
Clear-cut goals are an essential part of marketing strategy development. Your small-business goals should consist of distribution and financial mile-markers that will gauge the success or failure of your marketing strategy, and will help you to know when you’ve hit on the right strategy for you.
Goals and projections should be based on customer and market research, starting with past performance, and factoring in the changes that additional marketing efforts and promotions will bring. If your marketing strategy fails to reach the goals you’ve set, alterations to the plan and additional investment may be required to right the ship.
Conduct Marketing Research
Don’t be left in the dust when it comes to digital marketing. Data mining from multiple online sources and Artificial Intelligence allows you to zero in on your customer’s likes, dislikes and buying behavior, according to Markets Insider. Once you have this information, you can select the most effective media channels to disseminate your message.
Sometimes surveying your own clients is the best way to get a firm handle on who your marketing targets should be. For example, if you notice that 80 percent of your sales are made to members of the legal profession, your number one target market should be lawyers and paralegals. Market research is also a key part of marketing strategy development, even though it deals with larger generalities than you may be used to.
For instance, you find through research that 78 percent of luxury cars sold in your area are sold to homeowners and only 22 percent to renters. If you own a luxury car dealership, you know that your marketing strategy should be directed at people who have their own homes. Research helps to eliminate wasted efforts and fine tune your marketing so it hits the targets that will mean the most to your company’s success.
Evaluate and Adjust
The development of your marketing strategy does not end once the campaigns hit the market. It is an ongoing process that requires constant evaluation and adjustment to be successful. If economic factors or changing trends cause sales to suffer, your marketing can be altered to take up some of the slack.
If your product line changes or your market position shifts, your marketing strategy will have to change along with it to ensure that the initiatives you produce are relevant to the current situation. Marketing strategies cannot be developed and left to run on autopilot. If they are to be successful they must remain in a state of constant evolution.
To be successful, each new product must have a marketing strategy development plan. Learn about the components of this plan and how to develop one for your company.