25 Oct

What to do for a successful product launch

You have a fabulous product you want to launch, the following list  of necessary steps will help you make this critical step in the process successful. It’s easy to overlook something important in the excitement, but such mistakes can cost you.

  1. Know your audience. If you build it doesn’t guarantee that buyers will come. It’s one thing to have a good idea, it’s another to have an audience for that idea. Define your market clearly and have a clear understanding of their needs, how they can be reached and who your competition is.
  2. What makes your product or business special? Once you know your competition, you must have a clear understanding of what makes your product different, the same, or better. You must be able to differentiate yourself or your product from other options aimed at your target audience.
  3. Selling. Once you have all the details from above, it’s time to train your staff to sell. All the details above should be put together in a format that can make it easier for them to sell effectively, answer any necessary questions as well as feel comfortable suggesting the product. If it’s new, focus on only the one product so they are clear and focused.
  4. Make sure you have enough product on hand, that the pricing is set, the displays are effective and that the promotion details are in place and clearly understood.
  5. If you’re a manufacturer, make sure the distribution plan is in place before you send out press releases and advertising. Don’t waste money on promotion without understanding distribution and of course, inventory. Being able to react to customer demand while also replenish your stock must be planned out. It’s one thing to anticipate business and exceed expectations, but not have enough inventory to fill orders.
  6. Plan how you are going to communicate your launch. If you want media publicity and/or to advertise, plan ahead as most have deadlines you’ll need to meet. Don’t wait or you won’t get the results you hope for. If you’re doing a PR campaign, you’ll not only need the time to make deadlines, but to follow up with the outlets as well.

If you want a checklist that’s more detailed, feel free to email me (renee@rubymarcom.com) and I can send you a pdf.

22 Oct

Social Media: Are you getting the results you want?

I just returned from the Blog World and New Media Expo conference in Las Vegas. This conference doesn’t just focus on blogging, but on internet advertising, social networking, marketing experts, and on how well known name brands and celebrities use online branding and social media as well. This was the third year for Blog World and more than 5,000 people attended. This year the event was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. It was a great opportunity to learn, network and grow.

Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck doing what you know and thinking it’s the only way. My own experience with working with new media is that I don’t often have the opportunity to speak with other professionals doing what I’m doing…to compare notes, exchange tips and develop ideas. This conference allowed me a chance to interact with like-minded individuals and come away feeling truly connected.

I’ve been watching how people are using Twitter and Facebook, and make no mistake, some are doing a fabulous job…but it’s an investment of both time and money. It’s alright to ask for help. We are treading into new territory – some of you for the first time – using this new media…I will never be an accountant, I don’t want to be. Recognize when you are out of your element and develop strategies to make what you’re doing most effective. Unless you make the investment to do it right, it will not give you the results you might expect.

06 Oct

How does your logo stack up?

Whether you have a new business or an existing one, taking a moment to evaluate your logo and it’s effectiveness is an exercise I would strongly recommend. This isn’t something you need to send to an expect for feedback – you can do it on your own.

First, logos represent your brand image and communicate a lot about your company to existing and potential customers. It’s often a first impression – visually – that your customer associates with your business. A logo should be something that you’re proud of, that you feel embodies the vibe of who and what you as a company represent.

A logo is NOT something that should be taken lightly or changed frequently.

Now onto the concept of evaluating your logo…
1. Make a clean print out of your logo on white paper.

2. If you have weekly staff meetings, make this an agenda item to discuss, if not, simply approach a few employees with the logo and gather their honest feedback.

Ask yourself and your employees:
A. What is the first element of the logo that catches your eye?
B.  Does the design meet the objective of representing your brand?
C.  Is it memorable enough to leave an imprint in your memory?
D. Is the graphic easy to recognize?
E. Is the font easy to read?
F. Does the logo remind you or resemble anything else?
G. How does the logo compare to your competition – is it different or similar? (it should not be similar)
H. Would the logo be as effective void of any color – just black and white?
I. Would the logo stand out in a crowd?
J. Overall, does it look well-designed and have an aesthetic appeal?

3. Once you gather the feedback, ask a few customers who walk in as well. They will feel honored that you wanted their opinion and your evaluation would be incomplete without their comments.

If you have any questions about the evaluation process or any of the points I’ve made above, please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts!