Launching a new product is a risky business. According to the Harvard Business Review in 2004, only 1 in 10 new products were considered successful. Of course, it's often the case that the bigger the risk, the bigger the potential rewards.
With continuing low consumer confidence, media reports of foreclosures, high unemployment and talk of "double dip" recessions, the course of action for many companies has been to simply invest as little as possible in marketing, minimize risk and wait out the storm. For some, this approach might be best. For others, now is the time to seize an opportunity.
Do you have a new product or an existing brand that doesn't have enough awareness in the market? A product that would offer real, tangible benefits to your prospects? Does it make their job easier? Save them money? Help them attract new customers? If you answered yes to any of these, now may be your time.
A down economy is a great time to build brand awareness with a marketing program. The opportunity is there because potential buyers are actively looking for new ways of doing things -- and quite frankly, they have more time to pay attention to your message. Think about this way. A company that has production running at or near capacity, and is flush with orders, tends to be "fat and happy." And if it isn't broken, why fix it? A recession has a funny way of showing people that some things are broken, and sends some (the kind you want as a customer) looking for solutions, the solutions that your brand will provide.
There are ways to be aggressive with your marketing and still manage your risk. Conduct market research to see if your new product will resonate with your audiences (e.g. do they want it?) and to find out exactly with value propositions will motivate them to buy. You can also do test markets to limit the scope and expense of your initial launch and see how your campaign actually performs, before a full scale roll-out.
A product that truly offers benefits and addresses unmet needs will be very interesting for those looking to thrive despite a bad economy. With the research and a sound strategic marketing plan in place, this may be your ideal time to launch.
Judson Luke is vice president/director of research at LePoidevin Marketing (www.lepoidevinmarketing.com), a strategic public relations and marketing firm based in Brookfield, Wis. He can be reached at 262-754-9550; firstname.lastname@example.org.