By Nishtha Chouhan
Is Product Launch just an Event or Process that drives organizational growth? The latter provides a scalable process essential for on-going product roll-outs. Lots of hard work goes into a successful product launch. Since customers don’t like change, and new product launch offers new features, it’s important to showcase the value of the change for customers. One key ingredient that can fuel the successful Product launch is leveraging the rich, varied, multi-sourced, readily available information. Yes, tons of information which is like a gold mine and is available to us more easily/readily than ever before from various different sources. Industry experts call it Big data. Today Big Data can pull gold out of this information gold mine and positively impact a product launch. What follows are 3 secrets of how Marketers can tap on the power of Big Data for a successful and impactful product launch.
Secret #1: Use Big Data to optimize content strategy and targeted messaging
Creating an innovative product that solves a real problem for a customer isn’t enough; the main challenge is to communicate the clear compelling value of the product to your customers. You can only ensure you get customer’s ear by speaking the language that resonates with their needs and preferences. Today Big Data is empowering organizations with wealth of information that can be used to create the perfect message for all customer bases. There are myriad of ways to understand buyers, their pain points and preferences based on real-time customer interactions on various platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and web blogs. Big Data brings all these data points together from various sources, unlocks them to provide customer intelligence. Marketers can leverage this intelligence to create messaging that targets the buyer’s persona.
For Example, Big Data is allowing big Hotel brands with huge Customer bases attach many more customer attributes for Customer segmentation. Today they have the flexibility of collecting every bit of information available about their valued customers either via actual transactions, customer interaction data and real time updates of their customer’s plan, likes/dislikes from their twitter/Facebook or other social media profiles’. They can identify customers who like to spend their reward points on weekend travel and customers who like to redeem on gift cards and others who like to use their points with travel partners. Predicting a customer’s spending pattern using Big data allows Hotel brands to create targeted content strategy.
Secret #2: Use Big Data to identify influential customers and incentivize them to influence others
One of the studies done by Forrester Research indicates that today your most valuable customer is the one who may buy little but influences 100 others to buy based on blog postings, tweets, Facebook postings, and online product reviews. Big Data helps businesses create a single view of customer using the 360 degree customer profile by marrying internal CRM data with data collected via social media, weblogs, transaction etc. This single view helps companies identify their influential customers. Companies can engage these influential customers early by initiating a soft launch or beta testing (common in software world) of the product or service. For example, Gmail was soft launched in 2005 and was fully launched much later. This strategy is effective in two ways: First, it helps businesses test market and quickly gather feedback which helps tremendously in fine tuning product features and campaigns. Second, companies can reach out to much broader and targeted audiences in a very cost effective manner and can create a buzz in the market through these influential customers who are also bloggers, tweeters, and Facebook users.
M&M’s pretzel candy is one of the most popular product launches so far for M&M brand. It’s a relevant example of how the company identified its influential customers/fans through prelaunch Facebook campaign then incentivized them with free samples. The fans initiated by this campaign established a buzz through social media channel and tremendously helped the product fly off the shelf very quickly when it was finally launched.
Secret #3: Use Big data to provide direction to Product development
Big Data doesn’t just help during pre-launch or launch, but it’s a useful tool to monitor on-going product performance and keeping customers engaged post-launch. Insights into how customers are using the product and what they enjoy most can open the doors for improvements in future launches resulting in happier loyal customers.
Zynga, creator of most popular Facebook game Farmville, collects terabytes of big data in a day and analyzes it to improve the game features and customer services. As indicated in a WSJ article after Version 1 launch of the game, the company analyzed customer behavior and found that customers were interacting with animals much more than the designers expected. So in the second release game designers increased the game offerings with more focus on animals keeping customer’s more engaged.
Big data is proving to be a game changer for Marketers in Enterprise and SMBs who want to deeply engage with their customers and launch products with a memorable and valued customer experience.
Nishtha Chouhan is an experienced Marketing professional with over ten years of combined experience in Product Marketing, Product Management and Technology consulting in both B2B and B2C industry. She is currently working on the Marketing team at Informatica Corp. She has helped international firms achieve strategic business goals while working in UK, India and United States.