Global management consultancy Bain & Co. surveyed more than 650 marketing executives in the U.S. and found that product launches at their companies were up 27% on average in 2018, with those companies spending upward of $10 million on each one. So, Bain and Twitter teamed up on a list of best practices to make those launches pay off.
Bain and Twitter said in a release last month that companies following these best practices saw revenue growth rates from brands climb 1.5 to two times higher.
The two companies found that three-quarters of respondents believe the near-term results of a launch are a reliable indicator of long-term success, and launch leaders—the top 15% of respondents who reported financially successful launches—said they recognize that the period once the product or campaign goes live is make-or-break, partly due to consumers being jaded by launch saturation.
Moreover, one-half of those marketers said the make-or-break period has gotten shorter over the past five years.
Bain and Twitter shared the five best practices they were able to mine from those launch leaders to separate them from the rest of the pack:
Learn before you launch
Launch leaders were 2.4 times more likely than other companies to use social listening data to refine their strategies, messages and offerings, making them 2.3 times more likely to understand the priorities of their target audiences.
Bain and Twitter wrote, “Marketers make initial assumptions about how many people, and what kinds, will buy or engage. That’s fine, but those assumptions should be pressure-tested by mining the reams of data now available about consumers. Identifying and understanding the target audience is merely a prelude to customizing the product and marketing motions that will appeal to that audience. Many prominent launches by otherwise great marketing companies, ranging from Arch Deluxe hamburgers at McDonald’s to Netflix’s Qwikster DVD offering, failed in part because marketers did not design and run user research sessions that take real-life behavior into account.”
Own your voice
Bain and Twitter found that launch leaders were 2.3 times more likely to emphasize evoking an emotional response and twice as likely to believe audiences viewed their messaging as authentic.
The two companies shared this quote from the head of marketing at a direct-to-consumer company: “If you’re a diaper brand, just talking about the diapers becomes old. How do you have a point of view about motherhood, family, doing it all?”
Go for influence, rather than reach
Leading marketers and content creators were 1.8 times more likely than other to invest early in specific audiences that were more likely to engage with their content.
They were also 2.4 times more likely to create shareable content, enabling their fans to spread the word.
Go big on the reveal
Bain and Twitter found that launch leaders were 1.7 times more likely to blitz on three or more channels simultaneously when introducing products or brands.
Those blitzers averaged six channels at once, including social media, display ads and paid search, along with print, direct mail and other public relations campaigns.
Prepare to pivot
Launch leaders were 2.9 times more likely to monitor all of their platforms during the launch period in order to make real-time adjustments to their content and strategy.
Those adjustments often begin with messaging, followed by channel mix.
Bain and Twitter found that they were 2.5 times more likely to have the proper analytical talent and coordination across marketing silos.
Twitter vice president of U.S. client solutions J.P. Maheu said in a release introducing the study, “We’ve seen the power that a successful launch can have on the long-term success of a new product, product extension, feature or brand, particularly when it is powered by Twitter’s audience. Working with Bain, a best-in-class firm, has not only qualified that impact, but also brought to light the specific tactics marketers can use to move the levers of success.”
Laura Beaudin, global head of Bain’s narketing excellence practice, added, “We know from our extensive work with chief marketing officers that marketing launches are never easy, but the stakes have never been higher. A lot has to go right within an organization for a marketing launch to be even remotely effective. Not surprisingly, launches require rigorous planning and a willingness to be flexible, but perhaps most importantly, it’s engaging with the consumer right from the start. Listening to potential customers at the outset is essential if marketers want to realize success in the long run.”