“The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%,” says Rob Kalin, founder of Etsy.
Launching and marketing a new product is a herculean task.
With countless challenges awaiting us towards the final stage of a product launch, we have the added responsibility of keeping a track of our numbers. It’s easy to go overboard with exciting add-ons; next thing you know, you’re dealing with budget bloat.
We’re trying to build a product from scratch, so we want to identify resources with the lowest cost. It’s also important to take cognizance of any hidden costs that may sneak in while you’re too absorbed crafting your new product’s launch to perfection.
60% of products fail to make it to the market. So, as marketers, we must focus on maximizing our product’s ROI by keeping our spending lean while still amply boosting product awareness.
8 Ways to save money as you launch your next product
Product managers and marketers are collectively capable of saving businesses a truckload of money by being calm, intelligent, and capable.
Nevertheless, there are more ways for them to trim the costs associated with a new product’s launch and marketing. Let’s look at a few of them.
1. Invest time in Product Discovery
Startups are attuned to a fast-paced, growth-focused environment. It’s almost a sin to defer a task and spend time pondering over an idea without taking actionable steps towards materializing it.
As unproductive as this might seem, obsessing over growth metrics and zooming through user research can be a costly bet. This is effectively like gambling on what the users are looking for, and even the most experienced marketers can be way off in determining the user’s needs.
An extensive product discovery process is non-negotiable for businesses that want to minimize the costs associated with launching and marketing a product. Product discovery helps validate a product idea before a large sum is committed to designing, building, and marketing the product.
In addition to conferring agility to the business, product discovery also contributes by facilitating innovation and helping designers and developers obtain the customer feedback they crave.
2. Thoroughly study market data
Apart from keeping the team on their toes, product managers also have the responsibility of compiling business intelligence and relevant market data. This data is essential to establish the scope for a product and draw an initial marketing plan.
It may seem as though glossing over gauging market data saves cash, but it can lead to the product manager missing crucial details that can prove to be a costly mistake when the product is ready to launch.
Collecting market data and synthesizing the information into an actionable marketing plan, in the long run, saves valuable resources and ensures that no unwelcome surprises disrupt the product launch.
3. Be mindful of scope creep
Scope creep is a silent killer of terrific products. It’s understandable that when they have an excellent product on their hands, it’s hard for a team to contain their excitement. Constantly throwing new features into the mix can result in unmanageable growth.
As the spec sheet starts to accumulate features, the production costs start to balloon. It’s only when the team revisits the budget file collecting dust in a corner shelf, that they realize they’ll need to tweak and refine the features to control costs.
The timeline is thrown out of whack; the product needs to be launched soon, and the team still has cost overruns to fix. See how this can be frightening?
It’s essential to deal with scope creep right out of the gate. This saves the team and the business money, time, and reputation.
4. A well-thought product plan
The enthusiasm of startups rallying into the development phase is admirable. The product’s success, though, depends on more than just their enthusiasm.
The product development process comes with its own set of snags and bottlenecks. The presence of an experienced product manager is essential to keep things on track when the process hits a speed bump.
A product plan is a comprehensive document that discusses the product’s vision, the development milestones, and the marketing strategy. The plan brings the benefits of enhanced efficiency and productivity by offering the team a high and low-level view in the development process of the product.
5. Consider a referral program
Customer acquisition understandably tops a new product’s marketing checklist. However, a referral program can be a powerful way to leverage the current network to grow the new product’s reach.
Marketers can solicit recommendations from their network in simple ways like loyalty programs and referral discounts. Another popular way is holding a giveaway or contest with your new product as the prize, where participants are made to share a Facebook post and the post with the maximum likes wins.
When the winner is finally announced, make it a grand affair on the business’s Facebook page and tag the winner—this will maximize the post’s reach.
A referral program is a win-win-win for the referrer, the referral, and the business. A referral program also makes a current customer feel more invested in the business because as a referrer, they’re recommending a product to someone who trusts them.
Referral programs are a relatively low-cost component in a marketer’s toolkit that grows the audience and underpins the business’s client acquisition efforts.
6. Create Recyclable Content
Content creation comes at a very real cost. The more content marketers use for the new product’s marketing pursuits, the more dents they will see on the budget.
To remedy this, marketers should focus on investing in content that is versatile, has a longer shelf life, and is reusable.
Think of product descriptions as an example. Product descriptions must be written such that they can be used across marketing assets including the e-commerce store, website, social media posts, and flyers.
If the budget includes writing an ad copy, expand on this copy to create infographics, a product video, or a blog post.
Repurposing content this way can save the marketing team plenty of hours and dollars, that can be spent on other tasks and marketing assets.
7. Make the most of free social media features
While paid ads are a go-to for many marketers, the power that social media offers to marketers for free should not be overlooked. Using these free features can trim your marketing spend and consequently increase your ROI.
If executed strategically, scheduled posts on social media can be an effective marketing tool for a new product—and it’s free.
Introduce your products for free on social media websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or anywhere that the business has a large enough audience. On platforms like Instagram, hashtags are a potent way to reach a large audience—again, at no cost!
Facebook even has a page dedicated to free tools.
Although, it’s understandable that marketers might feel they’re not doing enough unless they run sponsored posts. So, go ahead and do it. However, make sure to strike the sweet spot.
Spend a few dollars for 10 or so days each month (could be more or less depending on the budget), and fill the gaps by posting organic content. This will bring the aggregate spend down and still grow the new product’s awareness amongst the target audience.
8. When you can, DIY
Paying an external agency is often an easier way to get things done. Sometimes, it’s even necessary and allows leveraging their expertise to achieve our marketing goals. Nevertheless, doing things in-house when possible is a great way to control marketing costs.
For example, if someone on the marketing team can create content for the new product, this might be a good time to offer them a promotion. Rewarding an employee still costs less than paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to an outside agency.
Naturally, this is not always an option. If none of the team members know how to design marketing collateral for the new product, paid outside help remains the only option.
However, there are always some tasks the marketing team can accomplish in-house, and this is a potential area with an opportunity to minimize the marketing costs associated with a product launch.
Cost control is easier said than done, especially when launching a new product—an endeavor that is abundantly daunting by itself. While minimizing costs, it’s essential to ensure that the product doesn’t underperform against competing products. Finding that sweet spot to maximize the ROI can be intimidating.
However, there are some ways to save money when launching and marketing a new product. We’ve discussed a few tips that will help product managers and marketers stay aligned with their budget goals while still amplifying the new product’s reach and awareness.