The end-of-year countdown has begun…
Many of our clients are working on rapidly advancing their product platforms in the back half of 2023. Across the dozens of marketers I’ve spoken with over the last several weeks, many have a focus on significant product launches in early Q1 2024. As a result, they’re asking how to maximize the launch via PR.
Let’s be clear: B2B tech product launches are some of the most challenging PR initiatives. They are also critically important. Coverage of a launch is high-value for companies seeking to establish a market leadership position and grow their valuation. Yet, the media are not all that interested in covering new products from companies they’ve never heard from before. If a company has no prior PR exposure or PR efforts have lapsed for months or more, the company needs to be reintroduced to its priority media. As a result, marketers need to be premediated in their approach to PR.
What’s more, product launches can become complicated quickly. They may represent a cascade of product pivots or new market focuses. To succeed, companies have to plan a strategy to maximize the visibility of their product platforms.
Here are the key assets and strategies anthonyBarnum regularly recommends:
- Start early – After extensive investment in preparing a product for market, the PR team needs some time to build momentum for coverage. We recommend retaining a PR firm at least three months prior to the launch to undertake several critical initiatives to ensure positive outcomes, including pre-launch media outreach.
- Warm up the Media through Thought Leadership – anthonyBarnum’s case studies consistently show that product launches gain greater traction when targeted media have been pre-introduced to the company’s technology and valuation proposition. Reporters are less likely to cover a company’s launch or get behind the importance of the launch if the company is unfamiliar to them.
- Message Matters – It’s important to wrap the narrative of the B2B tech product into a high-value message. The PR message needs to be different but complementary to the marketing message. It needs to position its capabilities, the benefits, and the solutions it offers to its market. Instead of a feature-rich product release, the platform’s value needs to be positioned as relevant in the context of pain points and trends facing its end users.
- Proactive Media Outreach – Depending on the type of product and market, it may make the most sense to give specific reporters a pre-briefing and the ability to cover the release before an announcement goes live over the wire. This will depend on each company’s specific market and media environments. This adds time to the entire launch process and should be evaluated from the beginning.
- Plan Q4 for Q1 – If the product launch is slated for January – early March, marketers need to retain a PR firm in Q4. An ideal scenario is to warm up the media in late Q4 and be positioned to be out front within the first three weeks of the new year with the launch—before competitors. During the first couple of weeks of January, the media tend to be more receptive, and the landscape tends to be less crowded, creating a strategically valuable opening where higher concentrations of coverage can be attained by the PR team.
From very niche vertical platforms to high-impact transformative technology products, launches are critical to a company’s PR strategy. They should be approached with enough time to maximize the outcomes through a series of initiatives designed to create a powerful set of results.