Welcome to PACE-IT’s Career and Entrepreneurship
Presentations. My name is Mary Keany and this presentation covers customer profile and marketing
plan. We will discuss how customers make choices, customer profiles, the marketing plan, product
launch and post-launch events. Assembling the market plan is somewhat easy.
You have most of the components. The missing ones are the product launch and the ongoing
marketing activities, which we will address next. Timing for launching a product is everything. Apple launches its products at the Mac World,
their developer conference. Microsoft used to launch theirs at the CES which is the Consumer
Electronics Show. If you launch your product too early, for example, if your product is
not ready for the day you made a big splash about, you’re in trouble. Your customers will
be disappointed and your competition will know that you missed the mark and will use
that to their advantage by pointing out your inability to deliver on time and on budget. It’s equally bad to wait too long. You will have a slower ramp up, missed opportunities,
and give your competition the competitive advantage you wanted to have. Just right is the perfect timing. With any product lunch, you have to have a power message customers will remember. For example, on the slide you see the Blockbuster “No more late
fees. The start of more.” This is very confusing and it’s not clear what Blockbuster is trying
to communicate from their tagline. The iPod, however, provides a clearer message: it’s
a device that will hold 1,000 of your favorite songs in your pocket so you don’t have to
haul around stacks of bulky CD’s. A successful launch is a collection of multiple
activities, some happening in parallel, and some sequentially. Depending on your product,
your target audience, and the budget you have, you might not have to do all of these activities.
You will have to prioritize based on which ones have the most impact and the ones that
fit your budget. Let’s take a look at what you need to do before
the actual release. First, you need to develop a message. The message needs to be consistent
across all marketing components including the tagline, the elevator pitch, the value
proposition, and the key differentiators. If you say one thing on the brochure but your
tagline has a completely different meaning, you will confuse the customers. You want to
repeat your message over and over again. Yes, there will be different levels of detail.
For example, the tagline is the shortest, followed by the elevator pitch, then brochure
that includes the key differentiators and value proposition. They all have to say the
same thing. They are just substantiated by different levels of information.
Before you release the message, it’s good to test it first. Good testers are your sales
force, current customers known to give you good and honest feedback, and your partners.
Once you validate your message, then you can start developing your collateral. At the minimum,
you should have the ones listed in this slide. Depending on your industry, product, and budget,
you might elect to do more or less of these. Then you need to look at the technical documentation.
From the users manuals and other customer-related documents, to your tendering materials, standard
pricing, and introductory offers. If you have a demonstrable product, demos
of products, being physical products or software, are the best way to showcase your product.
The demos don’t have to be sophisticated, they just have to work. So, practice, think
of a demo as a mini play in which you and your product are the main actors and your
customers are the audience. The more you tailor your demo to their needs and show the product
as the solution to their needs, the better chance you have to impress them.
Then it’s time to reach out customers with newsletters, on a customer forum and a blog
if you have one, and by inviting them to a webinar where you introduce the product and
give a demo if there is one available. You should also target other third parties that
help you directly or indirectly sell your product. In parallel to this, you should train your sales force, do an in-depth product overview
webinar, create the presentation they have to give to customers, and better yet, have
a session where your expert does the presentation so the salespeople can hear what to say and
how to say it, what questions they might get from the customers, how to answer them, and
how to handle potential rejection. If the product is complex and only the experts can
do it, make a short video of the demo given by the experts, and give the video to the
sales team. If they are not comfortable demoing the product, they can at least play the video
for the customers and answer questions. If your product requires partners to sell
it, you should treat them the same way you treat your sales team and train them in the
same manner. If your product compliments or augments other products, you should create
a presentation and a demo showing how you plan to integrate the two solutions, how they
will work, and how they will help the customer and fulfill their needs. Create the demo scripts
around the customers’ needs. Before you officially launch, you should have
your website updated and create a short video about the product. You should also reach out
to influencers like blogs, publications, and other media. For the actual launch, make sure
you pick a big industry event or a big event for your company, for example, Apple’s equivalent
of the Developer Conference. You might need to have many relaunches later in different
industries and in different geographies. If you are going through all of this effort,
make sure you have, at least, a press event. You should also reach out to other media that
will be at the event. Now that the product is officially launched,
organize joint presentations with your beta users or customers who order the product.
Record testimonials and create a collage of them on your website either as video clips
or just snippets of information. Get the sales team to identify potential customers
and set up meetings. Road shows are also great. They can be expensive, but if done right,
they can be very good at generating leads and interest. Another way to generate leads is to purchase targeted mailing lists of potential customers. To maintain momentum, you need to continue marketing your product. If you have customers
who are already using your products, ask for their permission to write case studies based
on their needs and scenarios. You might even ask them to write a technical paper together
with you. You should at least get their testimonials. Here are some more ideas to keep the momentum
going: email and online updates, technical presentations at industry events, periodic
webinars or media like technical articles. We have discussed how customers make choices,
customer profiles, the marketing plan, product launch, and post launch events. I hope this
video has been helpful and thank you for watching.