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Two Questions Every Product Launch Should Answer

Dave Niemi | Nov 09, 2015

It’s not often that you can introduce an entirely new product category to the marketplace. Unless what you’ve developed is truly a breakthrough, you’ll be entering a market with established competitors and existing expectations. The challenge is to stand out and claim a niche that describes your strengths and appeals to your target audience.

Therefore, when you introduce a new product to the marketplace—especially in a mature market with a large number of entrants—chances are good that you’ll have some convincing to do.

We recommend you start by answering two essential questions your target audience is sure to ask:

  1. What problem does it solve?
  2. How is your solution different?

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What Problem Does It Solve?

When you introduce your product, distill your message down to a single rallying point to bring focus to your marketing message. By zeroing in on the one primary problem you propose to solve for your customer, you can build a communications program that delivers a memorable promise.

For example, we recently helped The Principal Financial Group introduce a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) to the crowded investment marketplace. The strategy we pursued was based on a central objective that financial advisors are always working to achieve: securing a regular source of investment income for their clients.

The resulting campaign focused primarily on the challenge of finding reliable income amid the ever-changing conditions of the financial markets—especially with the prospect of rising interest rates on the horizon. In other words, our rallying point was “income,” and the problem solved was that of how to invest for income despite uncertain markets.

 

How Is Your Solution Different?

In this market space, investing for income is a common goal. To help Principal’s ETF stand out from the competition, we had to articulate how their approach set them apart.

To accomplish this, we backed the promise of income by introducing a number of proof points that supported our claim, emphasizing two key elements that helped differentiate the Principal ETF from its competitors:

  • The flexibility of the ETF’s portfolio to pursue income opportunities across multiple sectors
  • The established track record of the ETF’s investment managers

These points were delivered in various forms, including a messaging format that was organized around three key traits of the Principal ETF portfolio team: its active management, its agility to diversify across multiple income sectors and its awareness of varied opportunities.

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“Different” Is the Operative Word

For a new product, it is essential to identify how it differs from—and rises above—all the alternatives that are already available in the marketplace.

If you can identify points of differentiation among the following three areas, you’re well on your way to defining your product’s essential point of differentiation:

  • Purpose—Does your product’s promised outcome align with that of the target audience?
  • Process—Can you focus on a single key aspect of how your product delivers the desired outcome and explain simply how that plays out?
  • Performance—Do the central players in the development of your product have an established track record of prior success?

The answers to these questions tend to make themselves known during the process of research and discovery that informs the strategic planning stage of your product launch.

At Blue Flame Thinking, we pride ourselves on our ability to identify and communicate these differentiating points in a compelling and original manner. Let’s talk about your next product launch. Contact Steve Schmieder today at 312-327-5120 or sschmieder@blueflamethinking.com.

Dave Niemi

With 27+ years in the financial industry, Dave has a deep well of experience from which to draw as he directs our editorial services and content development efforts for the agency's financial clients.

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