- by Rory Ramsden
When you look at the product launch sales numbersthat the guys from Cupertino rack up before even the product is in stock in their glass and sparse cathedrals, you can only stand in awe and agree that they certainly know how to execute one product launch after another. Apple is, after all, the second biggest company in the USA by value. That is no accident. And it all happened in just 15 years. Proof positive that product launch marketing the Apple way works.
If just a little of this magic dust could be sprinkled on to your marketing strategy, just imagine how it would kick start your profitability. It’s not rocket science. Apple use the same launch template every time. You should too…
Here is the 8 step Apple product launch process adapted for your use…
#1. Focus on what your people really want not what your staff can create – Steve Jobs did not do market research. Instead he looked at best selling products already in the market and imagined how he could reinvent them, thereby disrupting the status quo in a very competitive market. This strategy allowed him to storm into new markets and dominate them in moments. All the existing players in that market are left scrambling to catch up.
#2. The Vision:Start with Why – Steve Jobs in his legendary product presentations never spoke about product features. He captured the audience’s imagination by explaining how it would change their lives. He stirred the frustrations that people were having to put up with in using the existing solutions then went on to demonstrate how his new shiny object of desire overcame all of these and then some.
He focused on the ‘Why’ not the ‘what’ or the ‘how’. This takes discipline. When you do a product launch, you tend to major on all of its technical aspects. You want to focus on all of the inbuilt features. It’s an easy trap to fall into. The trouble is that your audience doesn’t give a fig about all the hard work you’ve done until they can relate to your offer. First and foremost, they want to know that you understand their problems and that you are there for them. Then, they want to know why they should care. And finally, they want to know how you can make their lives better .
That’s why putting your product launch in context is the first most important step to take. Then That’s what gets people excited.
#3. Build early Buzz and Interest – Running a teaser campaign is a classic Apple tactic. The latest product is ‘lost’ in a coffee shop somewhere. The bloggers start genuflecting about when this new ‘thing’ will do and when it will be launched. Speculation builds. Fans start ‘Googling’ to find out more before posting status updates on their Facebook wall and possibly tweeting about what they have discovered.
The product launch bandwagon is rolling. Remember that the second time Steve Jobs came back to Apple, it was almost took moribund. He started from scratch. He started from a place not entirely dissimilar to the one in which you find yourself now. He built Apple into the goliath it is now by stacking one product launch on top of another. The marketing strategy he used is not exclusive. You can do it too.
You might not have the New York Times or CNN arguing about what your upcoming product is going to do, but you can certainly cause a stir in your niche and get your target market buzzing with anticipation too. Then your product launch will start with a BANG…
#4. Tell your audience what you stand for – This is another classic Steve Jobs tactic. He knew that people buy things because they identify with them and because they want to be associated with them. They think their cool so they buy them in the hope that their friends will think they are cool too.
Tapping into your audience’s psyche is crucial. Expressing their vision of themselves in your launch story helps them identify with you. They know you are on their wavelength because you share the same core values. Do something none of your competitors have ever done before, take a position that’s bold and imaginative, paint a picture of the future that your customers want to live in, and then put your whole company into motion creating that vision.
It’ll inspire people. Right or wrong, the world loves visionary companies with the courage to lead. Instead of fighting to get people to talk about you, they’ll be chasing you to find out what’s going to happen next. A powerful way of doing this is by talking about a common enemy. In Apple’s case, this was Microsoft. In Microsoft’s case, it was IBM. In your case it could be the IRS. Or if your in the garden maintenance business, it may be weeds in the flowerbed…
#5. Turn your product launch into a sequence of events – If you were able to take the Steve Jobs Marketing MasterClass, you would learn how Apple turns each product launch into a sequence of events culminating in a highly anticipated stage presentation that has attendees tweeting and Facebooking about as it happens.
You may not be able to book out your downhill for your launch but there’s no need to. You can stage a sequence of webinars or teleseminars in which you first outline the opportunity, then educate your audience and finally talk about what it feels like to own the solution. At no time, will you talk about your product. You will be painting a picture of the future and proving to your audience that they can own that future too. It’s a process. A system that can be put to work in any niche for any product that has the potential to upset the status quo… It can even be part of your marketing strategy too.
#6. Do a beta product launch, then stack one on top of another – Launch your new product to a small segment of your overall customer or prospect list. The ask for feedback. What could be better? What is surplus to requirements? What should be added in to your offer?
Now optimise everything. Your sales funnel. Your copy. Your offer AND your product. Then do another product launch to a second segment of your list. Only this time, offer your first time buyers an upgrade for FREE. Now get more feedback and repeat the optimisation process. Now you are ready to do your third product launch. Only this time, you will do it to your whole prospect list. This is the launch that should result in a big pay day.
#7. Draw out the Suspense for As Long As You Can – By giving away powerful tips that will immediately help your prospects get closer to their goal, you will build excitement and anticipation. Remember that no-one will know your actually doing a product launch unlike Apple who have to shroud every detail of what is coming down the tubes in secrecy.
You will take your market unawares. They will probably have never been involved in a product launch sequence before. They won’t know that you are taking them on a journey which will culminate in your offer. They’ll just be loving the great value that you are giving them. They will join your launch conversation and anticipating the next event in your pre-launch sequence.
Keep the suspense going for as long as you can then pivot and start talking about your offer. Thank everyone for being with you on your product launch and invite everyone to ‘cut to the front of the queue’ by joining your early bird launch list.
#8. Attract Joint Venture Partners – Each iteration of an iphone adds another mobile carrier to the list of those promoting it either in the USA or abroad. Each one is really please to be able to promote Apple in their shops because they know their customers will get real value from owning one.
It can be the same for you. You are probably on your competitor’s mailing lists and they on yours. When they see you killing it with your latest product launch, they’ ll come running asking to be able to promote your offer to their list. Be careful. they will want you to reciprocate so only work with the ones with the best reputation in your market.
Bottom Line: You can use the same product launch marketing strategy as Apple. Your launch will probably never be as big as that of the Iphone 4s but that’s not my point. My point is that you can adapt the Apple product launch to your needs and if you don’t feel confident that you will push all the right sequence, you can hire a launch manager to help you chart your progress.
Oh, and by the way, if you have not done a launch before or even if you have and now realize that hiring a launch manager would be a smart thing to do, you may be wondering how much hiring a product launch manager will cost. The quick answer is not as much as you might expect. Our aim is to structure a win-win sort of a deal with clients. We get paid when you get paid. That is we work on a percentage of the ‘pre-return’s gross’ revenue that your product launch makes. Naturally, you have to pay a fee to get on our calendar. We can only take on 2 or 3 clients per year so our time is valuable and we must know what our schedule is well in advance. It would be unfair on our other clients if we didn’t insist on this. Find out more by booking a free consultation with me now