Product Launch Best Products and Budget Allocation

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Budget Allocation for Tech Product Launches

While there is more information available to marketers today than ever before, marketing remains more art than science. Consequently, there is no such thing as an ideal marketing budget, let alone an ideal marketing budget mix. Indeed, marketing a new product in the tech industry, or any industry, requires flexibility and honesty as the results of the initial campaign(s) become known. However, a review of expert opinions and company surveys does provide some useful rules-of-thumb which a new or existing firm may find useful in planning the initial marketing campaign for a new product or service.

MARKETING BUDGETS ARE NOT FIXED IN STONE


TOTAL MARKETING BUDGET

There is no single "magic number" when it comes to how much to allocate to marketing for a new product, let alone the specifics of how that marketing budget should be used. For example, in drawing up a marketing budget:

  • A typical "magic number" for the marketing department's budget is 10%.
  • However, even a 1% increase produced a 2.5% revenue increase and a correspondingly better ROI in at least one Duke University study.
  • Tech companies spend an average of 15%.
  • However, for a startup launching a new tech product, even a 20% budget "might not be enough," while an established Fortune 500 company might only spend 5% of its revenue on marketing.
  • Other experts recommend that small businesses devote 12-20% of their budget to marketing and established businesses 6-12%.
  • However, this goes against the advice of the US Small Business Administration, which suggests that companies earning under $5 million spend only 7-8% on marketing.
  • SaaS companies (especially those funded by venture capital) tend to spend even more of their revenue, with Salesforce spending 53%, just for example.

The primary takeaway from the above is that there is little to no agreement on even how much of its budget a business should spend on its marketing, let alone how that money should be allocated.

MARKETING BUDGET BY BUSINESS STAGE

Consequently, there is no "fire and forget" solution to choosing the right advertising mix. Even so, a few experts have attempted to offer some general rules-of-thumb based on the nature of the company in question. So, for example, Greg Swan of CPC Strategy suggests the following budget breakdowns based on the business stage:

STARTUP

  • Demand Generation — 60%
  • Demand Fostering — 20%
  • Demand Capture — 10%
  • Re-aquisition — 10%

MATURE BUSINESSES

  • Demand Generation — 30%
  • Demand Fostering — 20%
  • Demand Capture — 30%
  • Re-aquisition — 20%

HISTORICALLY WHOLESALE

  • Demand Generation — 22.2%
  • Demand Fostering — 11.1%
  • Demand Capture — 44.4%
  • Re-aquisition — 22.2%

OTHER OBSERVATIONS

  • These budget divisions can also be compared to the stages in the customer funnel, with Demand Generation / Awareness at the top of the funnel, followed by Demand Fostering / Interest, Demand Capture / Consideration, and Re-acquisition / Purchase at the bottom.
  • Demand Generation tends to have the highest budget because consumers only spend 21% of their online time searching, with the remaining 79% of their time "across websites, mobile, YouTube, and Gmail."
  • Consequently, a new startup or even a mature business trying to capture consumer attention on a new product must advertise across multiple channels.

Apart from these, CPC Strategy notes that there are several other models which might require their own mixes, including (quoted verbatim):


KNOWING ONE'S CUSTOMERS

In many respects, the ideal marketing budget mix depends greatly on one's expected customer base. Consequently, businesses make significant investments in building their market knowledge:

  • 8.6% of B2B and 6.6% of B2C marketing budgets go towards developing new marketing knowledge and capabilities.
  • 4.5% of B2B and 6.3% of B2C marketing budgets go towards marketing research and intelligence.

Most experts in this area suggest using the information gleaned from the above to create a buyer persona for one's target audience, then design the marketing budget — and even future iterations of the product — around that.

DIGITAL MARKETING MIX


According to CMO Survey data, the average allocation for a company's digital market in a B2B business is as follows:


This mix is changing rapidly, however, with the following channels experiencing the most growth in 2018:


Another survey found that content marketing is an extremely important part of the mix:

  • The average company spends 26% of its total marketing budget on content marketing.
  • The highest-performing companies spend 40% of their budget on content marketing.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Digital marketing firm Sculpt recommends the following budget rules-of-thumb on how much to spend on social media marketing:

  • Use 10-25% of the marketing budget for social media marketing.
  • Assign 60% of the social media budget to brand building.
  • Assign the other 40% to sales activation.

In addition, larger, more complex organizations require more budget allocation to their social media governance than small, agile startups, especially if they are in a regulated industry.

INFLUENCERS

While the available data is not specific to the tech sector, influencers are an important part of an overarching strategy for the overwhelming majority of industries:

  • 93% of marketers use influencer marketing.
  • 84% say that they find influencers to be effective.
  • 60% plan to increase their influencer budgets.

In terms of budget, the amount allocated varies:


INGENUITY OVER PERCENTAGES

Ingenuity in marketing can count for a lot more than getting the right marketing budget mix. For example:

  • WePay took advantage of PayPal receiving negative publicity for freezing accounts at PayPal's own developer conference.
  • WePay representatives arrived and "dropped a huge block of ice with frozen money and a simple message to PayPal users: PayPal Freezes Your Accounts."
  • This resulted in a 225% increase in traffic and a 300% increase in sign-ups.

A good list of marketing ideas of varying degrees of ingenuity can be found at the Shane Barker blog.

Part
02
of two
Part
02

Product Launch Marketing Best Practices

Team collaboration, setting KPIs (key performance indicators), rolling launches, and ongoing promotion are four examples of best marketing practices for product launches. Setting KPIs and goals, is recommended for hardware product launches. Each strategy is analyzed in detail in the next section, which also includes a research methodology for the findings.

TEAM COLLABORATION

SET KPIs AND GOALS

  • According to Think Bonfire, a digital marketing agency, the very first step in hardware product launch involves setting goals and selecting KPIs. These KPIs reflect what the product launch wants to achieve. It is also imperative to define success and benchmark the impact of the launch against the success metrics.
  • Launching goals is also crucial in aligning with the business' marketing strategy and business goals. They ensure that teams are focused on critical business factors rather than overspending effort on metrics that do not lead to actual sales.
  • There are several goals a business can focus on. Some include attaining X amount of leads in X amount of time, percentage points increase in social media conversions, etc.
  • With digital marketing, companies focus on several measures. Others include targeting a certain number of sales, website traffic, press attention, and a share of voice on social media. Digital Currents, a digital marketing agency, provides an example of a company that set their goal at 750 upvotes in 24 hours but ended getting 850 upvotes.

ROLLING LAUNCH AND ONGOING PROMOTION

ONGOING PROMOTION

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To uncover examples of best marketing practices for product launches, we examined several reports published by market research and consultancies such as McKinsey and KPMG. The search also extended to business news reports published by credible sources like Forbes, and news articles and posts published by digital marketing agencies like Think Bonfire and Digital Current. An examination of examples of best practices in those websites showed that there are no specific best practices for launching tech products. Most of the sources checked, including the McKinsey report focused on general commercial product launches. Only Think Bonfire featured a list of practices recommended for hardware product launches. Moreover, there were several best practices repeated across the sources we explored. Thus, we only selected those best practices that are recommended for tech products and mentioned in multiple sources.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Focus on quality. When announcing new products or features, it is important to have relationships with reporters and know what their areas of interest are. It is better to find one reporter who can do a terrific job sharing your message than to blast your message to hundreds who have no interest at all. Don't spam your news; match it to the right audience. - Charlie Terenzio, revcontent.com"
  • "Use all of your channels. Your customers want to be communicated with where they want to receive information. If you limit your launch to an event, you're undoubtedly going to miss customers."
Quotes
  • "Using social media to launch a new product is exhilarating. It’s also overwhelming if you haven’t planned accordingly. From pre-launch activities to influencer outreach, your launch plan will make or break the success of your software, service offering, package, app or book."
  • "To get started, go to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Look at your keywords or hashtags to see frequency of conversation, engagement level, and type of content shared. For example, you’re an educator releasing an online program for people that want to learn how to speak French."
Quotes
  • "If you work in technology, you’re familiar with the hype around a new product launch. Hardware product launches these days are made for the digital world, and that means throwing out a press release with a bulleted list of features and specs won’t cut it if you want your product to gain any real traction."
  • "Ninety-five percent of new products fail, and while a wide range of factors can influence success or failure, you’ll want to make sure a poorly planned launch isn’t a factor that brings your product down."
  • "If you’re launching a hardware product for the first time, being creative is just as (if not more) important. You need to capture the attention of people who possibly haven’t heard of you. Consider what makes your product different, its benefits, and why your audience should care about it. Think about your audience’s pain points too."
Quotes
  • "In our survey, the single most important driving force behind successful commercial launches (averaged across sectors) was team collaboration, especially the ability to unite around one direction and to execute as a team."