Building trade marketing: How to create a successful product launch

You’ve created the building tool of the century. A life-changing, revolutionary product that’s guaranteed to take the market by storm. Or is it? Unless you can create a clear, effective, impactful product launch, your show-stopping creation may never get further than your factory floor.

As a specialist in building trade marketing, and with more than 40 DIY and building product launches under our toolbelts, we’ve crafted a simple guide to creating a successful product launch that will help you generate the buzz your product needs, as well as the sales you want.

Research, research, and yet more research

Before you even start thinking about launching your construction or DIY product, you’ll need to have conducted thorough market research to test your product against market needs. How else will you know whether there’s a demand, or who is going to buy it?

  • Is there a market need?
  • How does the product meet this need?
  • Is your product the right product to meet the need?
  • How does it differentiate from other similar products?

That’s a lot of questions, but with significantly more products failing rather than succeeding in their first year of business, thorough market research is crucial. Harvard Business Review examines various reasons for new product failures – of which lack of market research, is one of the most significant.

It will also help you position your product so you’re clear about who your customers are, why they’ll want to buy it, and how you’ll need to sell it to them.

Create strong positioning: think ‘people, not product’

A clear and effective positioning will help your customers understand your product and give them a reason to buy. Even in the building and construction industry, people buy benefits, not product specs, so position your product in terms of impact on their lives or work – how it meets their needs, rather than techie data – and you’ll be on your way to creating a strong, headline-grabbing, customer-creating, product launch story.

Ask yourself; how will it make their lives better or their work easier? Does it solve a problem? Does it make a dangerous, or risky job safer? Or a time-consuming and labour-intensive task effortless?

Take it a step further – are you selling safety, reliability, convenience, efficiency, quality, or even time? Make sure to prioritise benefits language over dimensions, weights and material composition – save the tech for your website where those that want to know can easily find it.

When Irwin Tools launched its Xpert handsaw range into the European building trades market, it understood the daily grinds of the building site and what impacted tradesmen’s everyday tasks. By developing the product range with a unique tooth configuration, Irwin guaranteed that its Xpert saw cut three times faster than its competitors – a significant performance feature with multiple benefits for its users.

Create internal buy-in

Engaged, loyal and energised employees should be your biggest allies and brand advocates. Keep them updated on the launch and make sure they are fully informed on product positioning, key benefits and why it’s so remarkable.

A ‘key facts’ document will make sure everyone across the business is on-message, whilst an internal launch with thorough training on product functionality and its main USPs will turn your sales and customer service teams into local experts and product advocates.

Get influencers talking

Whether it’s DIY enthusiasts, loyal customers or industry figures with a respected voice and social influence, getting opinion leaders talking about your product will help give it the profile it needs.

Consider sending exclusive or insider information, or a sample to trial and review. Maybe they’ll write about it, blog about it, create a video of it in action, tweet it or put it on a well-known forum.

Needless to say, the added benefit of impartial authenticity is countered by the need to surrender control over what exactly is written.

Turn your stockists into product champions

Unless you exclusively retail direct to the public, you’ll want to make sure your stockists are feeling the product love with samples, information and training. After all, there’s a mutual benefit to your stockists and customer-facing retailers loving your product as much as you do; the more they understand and love it, the more they’re likely to recommend and sell it.

Win your customers over with your little black book

Your customers are special. Make sure they not only know it, but feel it too, by giving them something unique. Whether it’s an invite to an exclusive preview, or a ‘first chance to buy’ offer, this is when your customer database comes into its own.

Don’t let your loyal customers hear about your revolutionary, life-changing product on the grapevine. An eye-catching email with links to product and pre-order, or ‘where to buy’ information will keep them feeling valued, informed and ahead of the game.

You’ll also be giving them something to talk about. Why not seed a #campaign hashtag into your email to help kick-start the conversation?

PR, adverts, social, blogs

Unsurprisingly, how you decide to get your story out there will need to be audience and product specific, using a carefully selected blend of the following:

  • Press releases at strategic intervals throughout the launch – consider whether you’re targeting trade or consumer press
  • Adverts online or in print. Make sure you’re targeting your paid space appropriately so you reach the right audiences with the right message
  • Strong social media with ‘coming soon’ tweets, ‘leaked’ product details and an ‘owned’ launch hashtag, can help you build and monitor buzz
  • Features trade and consumer magazines are a great place for product insight, with many running regular product review sections
  • Regular blogging and content marketing will help keep your website fresh and search-friendly, whilst also giving you new angles to talk about on social media. Videos on product features, unusual and clever uses and customer reviews are all effective product content topics.

Run a show-stopping launch event

Not for every product, but for some, a well-considered, audience specific launch event can be an effective way to showcase your product, create some noise and leave a lasting, positive impression on key customers or stakeholders.

When we supported the launch exhibition event for an innovative new tool to the professional carpenter and builder market for Dale Hardware, called JigTech, we knew it had to stand out. As well as a creative, bright and contemporary exhibition stand design, we also created a head-to-head interactive competition within the space for visitors to win a branded JigTech motorcycle.

Create a strong online presence

Make sure your online presence reflects the offline look and feel and reinforces the hype and excitement of the product launch.

Start by creating a visually appealing website or landing page with great imagery, attention-grabbing headlines and infographics on major product benefits.

With 83% of the UK’s adult population now tweeting, ‘gramming, snapping and liking, businesses can’t ignore the power of social media. Thanks to its engaging post and advertising formats, Facebook is a prime tool for building brand awareness and driving visitors to your website. Plus, with more advanced targeting than any other social media advertising platform, it’s incredibly accurate and cost effective.

When we launched the “Make a Gift” Campaign for hand tool brand Worx, we created a series of videos for Facebook to direct traffic to online retailers such as Argos, B&Q and Amazon. Over a 4-week period, Worx saw huge growth in sales with one retailer alone receiving 32,000 click-throughs direct to buy pages!

For more digital inspiration, check out our quick-read guide to digital marketing trends for the building and construction industry.

Timing counts

Unless you’re not at all confident about your product and don’t want to risk negative reviews pre-launch, it’s a good idea to start targeting your contacts early.

Bloggers, journalists and even customers love to have pre-launch insider info and sending the message out early will give your product the best chance of creating noise from the outset.

If you’re looking for an integrated marketing agency or specialist building trade marketing agency in Birmingham who can strategise and execute an impactful product launch, get in touch or call John on 01675 467 462/ 07748 114444 or email jwilford@rave-communications.com.

 

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