By Rick McPartlin
The answer is … YOU DON’T!
Three words in this question define why businesses can never “launch new products into the market.” These three words — new, products, and market — get companies in trouble when it comes to launching.
- New is something “not existing before, or discovered recently or now for the first time.”
First Reason: Very few companies ever launch something new. Most of the time what companies want to launch is something a little different. Examples would be a better process to build a home, a better video game, the best pizza in the city, or SEO marketing. In these cases, there is very little that’s new, and the buyer seldom knows what parts are new until after they eat the pizza, live in the house, or play the game. Every one of these is a little different, but not new.
Second Reason: No one can buy or sell a product. The creation of “an article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale” is clearly just one step in the process of selling something. Every product needs to become an offer and placed in a revenue process so a buyer can acquire it. The process can be door-to-door, online, in a store, at an auction, or in a B2B selling model. A product without that process is impossible for the buyer to acquire. The product must be transformed into an offer, which is then placed in the process for sale. The transformation occurs for anything that is sold, and the transformation is intentional or unintentional. Intentional is safer for the buyer and more profitable for the selling organization.
- Market: “A regular gathering of people for the purchase and sale of provisions, livestock, and other commodities.”
Third Reason: Markets buy commodities — or something a little different. Offers (products) fall into one of two cases in the extreme.
The first of two extreme cases is when the offer is by definition new. The “regular gathering of people” (the market) will not be there “for the purchase” of something they don’t know exists. Even if you tell them it exists, they don’t know why they care or how to use it. In a B2B world, those that haven’t heard of this new offer (product) will not have a budget or any way to do an ROI to justify the purchase.
The second extreme case is when the market is gathered to purchase, and as the definition says, they are gathered to purchase a commodity. You don’t have to launch a commodity product. It is already in the market, and the buyers know as much as they want to know about the commodity other than whether you’ll lower the price.
When trying to inject a product or service profitably into a new or existing market, pay attention to these four guidelines:
- When someone says new product, be sure that is the case. What companies normally sell is a different, better or cheaper offer that includes a product and/or service, but what they sell is almost never a new product. If it is a new offer, it requires the creation of a new market for your new offer.
- The market can’t buy a product until it is transformed into an offer ready for sale and placed in a process.
- Buyers can’t truly buy a new offer (product) in an existing market because the market doesn’t know the new product or offer exists until the seller evangelizes to them, and the market won’t care if the evangelism isn’t compelling.
- Markets are where buyers buy things they already understand like offers for commodities or the “same as only different.”
How about a rewrite for the original question: How Do You Launch Offers?
- Offers are presented for acceptance or rejection — “a promise that, according to its terms, is contingent upon a particular act.”
To get anything launched successfully, you must start with a well-defined and executed offer. This definition talks about the offer’s promise and terms and defines it as contingent upon a particualr act (how your process enages the buyer). Once the offer is defined and you are ready to execute the offer’s end-to-end engagment process, success is a result of how the offer is presented to the buyer regardless of whether it’s new or just different.
The target buyers for this offer may be in the commodity market. Or, they may also be completely unaware that they need this offer. Regardless, the offer must be presented, and success will be measured by the buyer’s acceptance or rejection of the offer.
Let’s make this the final version of the question — “How do you successfully launch an offer?” — and let this be the answer:
- Define your offer — is it truly new, or is it just different?
- What is the offer’s promise?
- What are the terms?
- hat does the end-to-end engagement process with the buyer look like for this offer?
- Figure out where to find the buyer based on whether this is new or different.
- Determine how the offer can best be presented to the buyer.
- Remember: Not only doesn’t the product sell itself, it can’t even be purchased until it’s transformed into an offer.
Like many GREAT products of the past, yours will fail if you don’t do a good job transforming the product (new or different) into an offer and getting it launched to the right buyers.
Rick McPartlin is the CEO of The Revenue Game and is a revenue generation consultant and Vistage speaker. McPartlin was a Vistage member development chair from 2002 to 2009.
Originally published: Nov 21, 2011