Should You Launch a Consumer Product in a Pandemic?
This pandemic has led to a sharp reset, forcing many of us to evaluate what we really need and want. This reset has spared no area of our lives, including the products we choose to invest in.
If launching a consumer product was in your fall roadmap before the pandemic, we don’t necessarily think you need to scratch it off the list. In fact, we think you can still make it a success.
- Know your audience – And we mean really know them. What do they care about? How has that changed during the pandemic? Where do they hang out online? A deep understanding of your target audience, how our current environment has impacted their worldview and the areas that drive influence can make your launch efforts more effective.
- Take your risk temperature – There’s always a list of risks versus rewards when it comes to launching a product in “normal” times. Today, the potential downsides are significant: Will anyone care about your product now? Consumer spending is tight across the board, so even if they do care, will they buy? All that said, a potential — and significant — advantage of the current climate is that there are fewer launches in the market, potentially reducing the competition and lowering the demand for your customers’ attention.
- Be mindful of messaging – All external marketing materials — from website copy down to speaker talking points — need to acknowledge our current situation and how your new product will help your audience live better, more fulfilled lives. Keep in mind that the pre-pandemic messaging pillars still stand, including highlighting the unique advantages of your team and product.
- Find your crew – Create a surround sound effect with your launch. If you’ve identified your specific audience and where they hang out online, the next step is identifying the top 3-5 channels your audience really trusts. No matter the market, we trust earned media is likely a top channel ;). Concentrate efforts on these channels. The net does not need to be cast far and wide, but it’s critical to bring the top reporters, influencers and other voices that your audience trusts into the fold.
- Test the market – So, what if you now have rock-solid answers to the previous ideas and you’re still not sure how your product will be received? If you have flexibility around your launch date, consider testing the market. This effort can be as private as approaching your top advocates and getting their unfiltered feedback or even surveying the market. Another avenue could be a beta launch like mmhmm. Their launch video shows exactly what their product does and teases what’s to come, but it’s only available for beta sign-up. This preview tactic can yield incredibly valuable audience insights and better steer the big launch.
- Add to your playbook – for some companies, launching a product is an old hat — the team knows exactly the steps to take and channels to lean on. We’re not in normal times anymore, so now is the time to experiment with at least one new approach. It can be as incremental as adding a GIF to a suite of product photos or as significant as hosting a virtual reveal for select media and influencers.
We’d love to hear from you! Are there any launches that have caught your eye during the pandemic? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.