When you are developing a new product, your focus is first on the technical, financial and commercial feasibility of the project. When all those boxes are ticked, and product development is taking of, it is time to involve the marketing communication responsible as well.

As it is quite a challenge to brief Marketing Communications on a project that is still in the first phase of the development process, and a lot of aspects are still unknown or unclear, some guidance might be helpful.

I wrote this post for product managers who need to brief their marketing communication responsible on a new exiting product.

First of all, I want to briefly explain why it is so important to involve the marcom responsible so early in new product development.

The three main benefits are:

  1. Marcom people tend to look very critical at your product proposition and can help you make it more specific.
  2. You are challenged by them on the features and benefits compared to your competition, which is a good thing! It forces you to give it a critical look.
  3. No more wondering why there are no product leaflets, brochures or commercial product samples, as they are included in the overall project planning at the start of the project, when you discuss such topics early during new product development.

If you like to read more on involving the marcom responsible early in new product development, check my blog ‘What are the benefits of involving the marketing communications team very early in New Product Development’.

I have listed 12 tips that helped me in briefing my marcom responsible. Hopefully they will come in handy for you as well.

  1. Start with describing the goal of the product.

Answer the following questions: What is the name of the new product? What is the product description? What is the target market of your new product? What are the sales objectives per country or region?

This information will help your marcom responsible to get a global understanding of the product idea and which market you are targeting.

  1. Describe in detail the target audience of your new product.

What level of technical product knowledge does your target audience have? What is their function in the distribution channel? What is the best market approach for this group?

This information will help, in defining which marcom materials are suitable and what the complexity of the content of these materials can be. Of course, you can have multiple target groups with a different content strategy.

  1. Describe the features and benefits of your new product in comparison with its major competitors.

It shows where you excel over your competitors and this will help you define the unique selling proposition and create a niche for your new product. Your sales people need to be able to advice and convince your customers to buy the new product. Your customers need to understand its features and benefits of your new product very well in order to believe the product proposition.

  1. Also list the strengths and weaknesses of your new product.

It will help you in anticipating on these weaknesses during new product development, right from the start. Does the competition have the same weaknesses? Can you maybe add an extra feature or offer an extra service to overcome a weakness?

  1. Create an overview of the product positioning of all your competitors.

When you have an overview of your competitor’s product positioning, it will help you in defining the market niche. When you can define the market niche where your new product is targeted at, you can also define the right product positioning and main marcom message.

  1. Define the product positioning of your new product within your own product portfolio and against competition.

You will see in one glance whether you have placed your new product in the right market niche compared to your existing product base and compared to competition. This overview should avoid that you are competing against your own products instead of against the competition.  Your new product should gain additional turnover instead of cannibalising on the sales of other items in your product portfolio.

  1. Write down the key message.

What is the main message you want to communicate in all your marcom materials? This message should be appealing to your target group, it should trigger them that your new product is the solution to their problem. The key message is very important and your marcom responsible is the best person to help you with that. If there is no marcom responsible available in your organisation, there are a bunch of creative agencies out there to help you.

  1. Add a detailed marcom materials overview.

Add the technical and commercial materials you think are needed to introduce this new product successfully into the market. Think about user manuals, datasheets, quick reference cards, brochures, teaser movies, website, online banners, social media campaign and training material. When you create this overview, you can better estimate the total marcom budget needed to realise a successful product introduction.

  1. Indicate in which countries you are planning to sell this new product and in which languages you need the marcom materials to be available.

The marcom responsible needs to know in which countries the new product will be sold, as the required translations of marcom materials need to be included in the marcom budget. Also consider whether the high costs of translations are justified compared to the estimated sales, you might want to investigate this at the beginning of your project. Translations and proof reading of these translations take time, you need to include this in the overall project planning as well.

  1. Another important topic to define is the marcom budget that is available for this new product introduction.

Make sure that before the budget rounds take place in your company, you have approval for your new product development projects. Before the start of a new product development, it’s good to know whether the required marcom budget is available and assigned to your project. It is a huge commercial risk, when a new great product can’t have a proper product introduction.

  1. When reserving a marcom budget, you also need to list the marcom costs that are expected.

You can do estimations with your marcom responsible based on experience from previous projects and by asking for quotes from creative agencies on the creation and translation of marcom materials. The detailed marcom deliverables overview, which I gave you as tip 8, can be used for this:-).

  1. Define the marcom planning of this new product introduction.

In your overall project planning, you have defined the dates of your project milestones, at least if you are making use of a new product development process:

  • QG0 Concept Start
  • QG1 Project approval
  • QG2 Commitment date
  • QG3 Design Release
  • QG4 Launch date
  • QG5 Evaluation

It is best to align your marcom planning with the overall project planning. In this way you assure that all marcom deliverables are ready in time.

If you need some more background information on how to define and implement these milestones in your project planning, please check out my blog ‘5 steps to implement a New Product Development process in your organisation’.

Based on these dates you can define the delivery dates of your marcom materials, needed for major internal and external launch events, trade shows or customers events. You know well in advance when you need commercial samples for trade shows and trainings. With this information, you can plan in more detail with the develop team when product samples need to be available.

These 12 tips are very useful when you are going to brief the marketing communication responsible on your new product. Combine the above information into one document, to keep a good overview for your marcom responsible and yourself :-).

Hope you benefit from the tips, the same way I do!

What are your tips to make your marcom briefing successful?

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *