Over the weekend I swung by my local home improvement store. In the garden center section, they had lots of plants for sale, everything you’d want to make for a great summer garden. Tomato plants, cucumber plants, herbs of all kinds, you name it, it was potted and ready for you to take home. Then I looked at the price tags: $9 – $15 per plant! Just a short two months ago, you could have had seedlings for $4 a plant. Just three months ago, you could have purchased packets of seeds with up to 20 future plants in each for $1.50.
As you get closer to the harvest, it costs more and more to get the same result because there’s no hurrying a plant up. If you want to have fruits and vegetables for this season, you now have to buy in at significantly higher prices compared to gardeners who got started with their seed trays in February.
I see an inordinate number of requests for SHIFT’s help every day as the person who operates the marketing automation system. Every request, every RFP, every inbound lead appears in my inbox at one point or another, and it’s enormously helpful for me as a marketer to see the words actual customers and prospective customers are using. What’s astonishing to me is how many marketers and company owners write in asking about how we can help with their new project launch in just 4 weeks. Can we? Absolutely. But the cost to do so is going to be significantly higher to make anything happen compared to what it would have been had they asked us 12 or 16 weeks out, because there’s significantly less time to plan, to do outreach, to identify the audiences and prepare them for the product launch.
New product launches are like gardens: if you want to have a successful new product launch, the sooner you can get going with your PR, marketing, and communications, the more successful the launch will be. The longer you wait, the more expensive it will be until you reach a point where, like your garden, there’s no catching up.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Strategy