So you’re ready to launch your new product. After all, the Internet makes it easy for anyone to compete in a global market.
But remember that while the Internet makes it easy for you to compete, it makes it as easy for millions of other businesses probably offering the same products and services as you are.
Do you have a product launch strategy that will capture the attention of your target audience?
Consider what they buy, how they buy, why they buy, and where they buy when launching a new product.
What they buy
People buy products.
Although this sounds like a no-brainer, the nature of the Internet coupled with technological innovation has caused a drastic change in what it means to “buy a product”.
While before, “shopping” was as simple as going into a store and buying groceries, the Internet has provided consumers with a global catalogue of goods, services, and information. And while a “sales transaction” once consisted of exchanging goods and services for cash, today, a transaction can be as simple as clicking on a link or subscribing to a mailing list.
If you’re selling or marketing your goods, services or information online and your potential customers are not looking online, your business may be in trouble. For this reason, it has become increasingly important to understand what your product is, how they would buy it, why they would buy it and, probably most importantly, where they would buy it.
How they buy
There is a general procedure that a consumer follows when making purchasing decisions.
First, they identify a need then they conduct an information search. What is very interesting is that consumers first search their memory banks for information before they turn to external sources of information. If they find what they need to know internally, it’s very unlikely that they would seek further information.
The implication here is that if your competitor has already implanted the benefits of their products or services in the minds of your target market, they’d probably not look for your products or services on the Internet. This may mean that some offline tactics should support your online marketing attempts.
Why they buy
There are multitudes of psychological, personal and social factors that influence why consumers buy, which makes it difficult to predict the success of your online marketing and sales efforts.
Psychological factors include motivation, perception, learning and attitudes that determine buying decisions. Personal factors personality, self-concept, lifestyle, and social factors include family influences, reference groups, social class and culture. When you are planning your online sales and marketing strategy, it could be very useful to assign particular psychological, personal, and social profiles to potential customer groups. This takes some of the mystery out of the nameless, faceless entity at the other end of your website thus making it easier for you to preempt and satisfy their online needs.
Where they buy
Customers shop rather erratically depending on what, why and how they buy. They could prefer to either:
- Search online and purchase offline
- Search offline and purchase online
- Search and purchase online
- Search and purchase offline
Possible places to purchase offline include:
- A retail store
- consumer’s home, possibly though direct sales channels, mail orders, or telesales
- A consumer’s workplace, very much in the same manner as at home
- parasite point of consumption (e.g. newspaper stand at a restaurant)
When you plan your product launch strategy, you should refer to what, how and why your particular target market would buy. Then you should consider if they may prefer to use any of the offline means instead of or in conjunction with the Internet. This should help you create a targeted, effective business model geared at satisfying your customers’ needs while generating a return on your investment.
About the Author: Allison Ross is the owner of Simply Colossal eStrategy Consulting, a Cape Town based marketing consulting company. The company’s methodology is based on a mini-thesis that focused on Internet adoption and estrategy development and has been refined through years of helping small business owners make the challenging transition from traditional business to online business.