By Gabriel Onyango
Launching a new product is like the first week back from honeymoon, the reality of life kicks in and you realize the long struggle waiting for you ahead. Most often entrepreneurs are still running high from the electrifying experience of developing a new product or service. Expecting that customers will, like a tsunami wave, pour over your product fighting just to get a piece, until you launch and no one is a tad bit interested.
Make a bang!
If there is anything you take home from this article let it be this, never launch a new product without a fat, attention-grabbing bang. Richard Branson-owner of the Virgin Group is a master of the bang. When launching Virgin Cola to compete with Coca-Cola in the United States he literally invaded Time Square in New York with a military tank and went ahead to ‘fire’ it (they had set up pyrotechnics on the Coca-Cola sign to make it look like it had exploded) ,Virgin had initiated an assault on Coke. The stunt made a bang but Virgin Cola was eventually put out of business when Coca-Cola orchestrated a move to kick Virgin out of stores in American (according Richard’s book: Losing My Virginity).
As much as it is an interesting preposition, I am not telling you to go hire a tank and ‘invade’ Nairobi. if you have even seen our city council ‘askaris’ at work, or spent a night in one of our police cells you won’t need telling twice that you need to be careful about how you make your beloved bang in Kenya.
Startups are not the richest of businesses nor do they possess the biggest of marketing budgets but segmenting your market is good way to ensure that your marketing efforts create the biggest momentum to push your product ahead. Identify who your audience is, their likes, motivations, habits, where they are found and then position your product to reflect a quality that arouses your segment’s motivations. Whether they know it or not this group of customers will be your volunteer army, buying your product and helping you create awareness.
Do a prelaunch marketing drive
If you are a fan of movies or TV series, then you know what a good trailer can do. It can make the coldest of people pull their hair out, scream, even pray-for a time machine at least. Why? Because it stirs anticipation in people, it builds tension-which makes you tell anyone that cares to listen about the upcoming movie-at least that’s what I do. Now imagine creating so much anticipation, for the launch of your product/, service, such that people can’t shut up about it; that’s the power of a good prelaunch marketing campaign.
Have a web presence
Since you have created such anticipation and a bang for your new product, people are bound to look you up online. According to Google, 82 percent of smartphone users shopping in stores go online before making a buying decision. Create a clean mobile friendly website, showing your products and services (remember to make your phone number easily visible), this will be the web that captures all those people looking up your business online.