A lot goes into launching a consumer product. We had a recent prospect request for a fully scoped launch plan, with the specific ask of making sure we include an integrated strategy at its core. They are in stealth and want to do things “the right way.” To the prospect this meant a methodical process of creating market demand for their product, one aimed at filling a gap in a very traditional space, while still protecting their IP until the formal public launch.
It’s a fun challenge that any agency would embrace, especially given the blank slate with no mistakes or limits to overcome. It’s also a great opportunity to bring our strategy models to life in a real-world scenario. As we’ve outlined in our consumer themed customer journey whitepaper, using a data-driven customer journey model is a great starting point to frame this type of plan. The customer journey process can give a brand:
- Understanding of what channels deliver results
- Discover the sequence of the customers’ path to purchase
- Help to determine the right messaging for each channel
- Reveal hidden opportunities to boost revenue and bottom-line results
Using this data-driven process helps to quickly identify opportunities and gaps, and takes the guesswork out of what tactics should be used when. And given this is a pre-revenue company, we have the chance to walk follow a clean, tried and true path vs. dealing with existing business issues.
For the unfamiliar, a standard traditional consumer customer journey is usually in 4 phases – Awareness, Consideration, Evaluation, Purchase. Here is an often-quoted version from McKinsey:
Using a data-driven model, we can identify the key information we need to be tracking at every stage as we take the competition by surprise. This model helps show the topline data we’ll be looking for at each level.
Awareness is generally described as creating an initial understanding and/or educating new audiences about a product or service. Given we don’t have any current Google Analytics or marketing automation data, it’s helpful to start with an industry baseline. For this we rely on Google’s Customer Journey to Online Purchase tool. An example below shows the generic path Google sees for like sized companies within a larger industry. We see here that in this case awareness needs to start with social media, followed by display click before getting into more defined search. Given this we would recommend a heavy focus on social influencer identification, focusing specifically on understanding the specific platforms and types of content that drive sharing and engagement. We would then plan to reinforce these initial social efforts with by display click ads based on search/geo criteria to raise our brand’s profile ahead of formal launch.
As social educates the market and we tailor or display click efforts to both drive initial audience to our brand’s brochure site, we will also make sure to have a variety of content to share on the site. This will be a mix of ungated and gated content. Ungated to keep audience engaged and grow our audience for eventual remarketing/retargeting, and gated to capture emails for future drip campaigns. We know in the journey that search and email are important to keep prospect attention and drive them to purchase. As such we’ll need to carefully consider how to keyword optimize our ads, and how to effectively retarget our audience to drive further consideration post-launch.
Although we can jumpstart the process by buying some generic lists, we know true consideration comes when a potential buyer matches their needs with our product, which can be a winding and elongated process, even for consumer products.
Being able to keep in front of our newly educated audience increases our chance that they will come back and revisit our site. Also, having the email addresses enables us to update as many people as possible on potential sales deals, new products and offers to enable a lifetime relationship.
This is where traditional PR, SEO and amplification come into play. We will leverage our content strategy to drive additional search and keep in front of potential buyers, based on top search data and what site pages and content are performing best. We need to continue to drive search for both our brand and the product set to stay top of mind. Third party earned media extends our reach into new audiences, drives our search results with links, and gives us fodder for social and other amplification strategies such as native ads, promoted posts and syndication. Knowing who our core audience is and what their search habits are keeps the pitching, SEO and amplification tactics focused on the right publications, platforms and messages for larger impact. As a startup, we need to ensure every marketing effort is focused on driving consideration and revenue, and constantly monitoring the data will help us stay on track.
Assuming the main website and GA goals are configured correctly, there are a few main areas we would focus on to see where these efforts are driving visits, consideration and purchase. The three areas we would look are New vs. Returning Users, Assisted conversions and Time Lag.
New vs. Returning Users
As we build audience and remarket/retarget to prospective buyers, we want to see what is driving them to come back to us, what content is keeping them engaged and how each audience is contributing to our revenue goals.
This is where we can see how each marketing channel is contributing to both the bottom line and in assisting in cultivating and moving interest to consideration to purchase. Since we know the general customer journey path, we can see where/how our channels are performing vs. industry standards so we can adjust accordingly. We can also see where our particular market segment and customer path might differ. For example, if new users are down and we see social is only assisting in a small number of conversions, we would take a hard look at our social content and promotion strategy.
Time Lag Report
Since we would have goals and multi-channel funnels, we can take advantage of the time lag report. This shows us a sense of our sales cycle. Do more people buy right away, or does it take several visits/days for them to choose us? Knowing this can help tailor remarketing/retargeting tactics, ad strategy and social strategy as well.
Using a data-driven customer journey model is essential to help design a pre-launch strategy, map out specific tactical investments and to have a clear roadmap of when and how much to invest in the variety of marketing tactics.
Senior Vice President