Skip to main content

How to Successfully Launch B2B Products and Services


A new survey produced by Schneider Associates and the Center for Business Innovation at Babson College details some very interesting findings on what makes for a successful B2B product or service launch. The free report, entitled Business-to-Business Launch Survey, profiles the ten key lessons B2B companies can use to improve their odds for launch success. The study investigated effective product and service launches to help B2B product and service managers improve their launch practices and success rate.

Among the most interesting findings in the study (and keep in mind, these are the successful launches):
  • Just 22% of B2B services companies and 37% of product vendors followed a formal, documented launch process—though another third of each group said they used "a general, undocumented repeatable process."

  • Planning most commonly started anywhere from three to 12 months before launch—though nearly 40% of B2B product companies didn't get started until within three months of the planned launch. Correspondingly, about 30% of respondents said they would change launch timing for their next release.

  • Product companies were four times more likely than service firms to use an outside PR firm to assist with their launch. Not surprisingly then, nearly 30% of service launchers expressed an interest in improving their PR campaigns, compared to about half that percentage for product firms.

  • Roughly a quarter of respondents—the largest group—considered their launch process "complete" once the first commercial sale was made. Another 20% placed called the process complete six months after the first sale, while about 10% said the launch process continued through the first year after initial sales.

  • Astoundingly, a third of respondents hadn't established a specific launch budget, and 18% didn't even know if there had been a budget established! In addition, 42% of B2B product companies didn't know the percentage of their overall marketing departmental budget was dedicated to launch activities.

  • Among the companies that did set a launch budget, more than half established this budget during the product or service development phase.

  • Just 16% of B2B service providers used an external PR, advertising or digital agency as part of the launch process; 40% of product companies included outside firms.

  • While a number of metrics were used to measure launch success, "achieving sales targets" was by far the most common measure, cited by nearly 60% of service providers and 70% of product companies.

  • "Sales force preparation" was identified as the most important contributing factor to launch success, followed by word-of-mouth and online campaigns. Word-of-mouth promotion was fostered by press releases and articles, webinars, and customer seminars and testimonials. Nearly half "were happy with their Internet-based activities."

  • Three things you probably didn't need a survey to tell you: 1) nearly 40% of respondents (the largest single group) said that if they could change one thing next time around, they'd want a bigger budget. 2) "Launch delays are almost inevitable." 3) New-to-the-world products and services have greater launch impact than line extensions, upgrades or copy-cat offerings.

There's lots more. To improve the success of your next B2B service or product launch, check out this study. Finally (being an agency type) my favorite quote from the report:

"Having the right marketing professionals participate in designing your launch from the start is critical. It's worth noting that nearly all the factors B2B launchers in our survey chose as being most important to their success are best handled by a marketing communications firm."

*****


Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digitalrdm.com

Comments

All Time Greats

Best of 2008: Social Media Optimization, Part 6

This content has been moved to Best of 2008: Social Media Marketing on the Webbiquity blog. ***** technorati tags: online video SEO reputation management social bookmarking social media marketing SEO and reputation management Search Engine Journal Loren Baker Google Video ClipShare PHPmotion 30 largest social bookmarking sites Anything Goes Blog Stuntdubl social media can increase revenue Social Media Today Jacob Morgan increase blog traffic How To Make My Blog Marko Saric what not to do in social media Interactive Insights Group Robin Broitman social media gaffes Target Motrin Starbucks Whole Foods FedEx del.icio.us tags: online video SEO reputation management social bookmarking social media marketing SEO and reputation management Search Engine Journal Loren Baker Google Video ClipShare PHPmotion 30 largest social bookmarking sites Anything Goes Blog Stuntdubl social media can increase revenue Social Media Today Jacob Morgan increa

Blog Pitches - Good, Bad and Ugly

This content has been moved to Good, Bad and Ugly Blog Pitches on the Webbiquity blog. ***** technorati tags: How To Pitch To Bloggers, Laura Moncur, Cece Lee, Lauren Barrows, Dean Levitt, Mad Mimi, Flimp Media Inc., rich media marketing platform, AngelVision, VHD Technology, Ajaxian, 37signals, Backpack del.icio.us tags: How To Pitch To Bloggers, Laura Moncur, Cece Lee, Lauren Barrows, Dean Levitt, Mad Mimi, Flimp Media Inc., rich media marketing platform, AngelVision, VHD Technology, Ajaxian, 37signals, Backpack icerocket tags: How To Pitch To Bloggers, Laura Moncur, Cece Lee, Lauren Barrows, Dean Levitt, Mad Mimi, Flimp Media Inc., rich media marketing platform, AngelVision, VHD Technology, Ajaxian, 37signals, Backpack Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

How to Use SEO: Leverage SEO To Be Found Online and Boost Your Online Marketing

All businesses that want to attract customers online, no matter the business size or age, have few options other than Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  SEO In The Box™ by Results Driven Marketing®, LLC There are roughly 1.8 billion websites online, and basic SEO allows Google to find and index or catalog your webpages.  After that, Google serves you up to searchers in the organic section.  The question remains: where they list your site, on page one or page 22 or further back? SEO controls your positioning. Do you want to be found online or not? If your business is online or you want your product or service to be found online, then Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a must, and knowing how to use SEO to leverage the power of the internet is vital. Arguably, an effective SEO strategy gets you on the organic results section of the search engine results pages (SERP). Organic traffic is highly valuable and requires high-quality SEO. But even businesses that use l

Google and the Parable of the Turkey

In The Black Swan , Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes about the life of the turkey: for 100 days, the turkey is sheltered, fed and cared for by the farmer. The turkey grows to trust the farmer completely, even perhaps developing a fondness for the farmer (and of course the feed). Then, on the 101st day (with Thanksgiving quickly approaching), the relationship between the turkey and the farmer changes abruptly and permanently. The rationale behind the farmer's apparent benevolence become clear in a final flash before the turkey takes the necessary step preceding de-feathering, vacuum-packing, freezing and shipping off to the market. Taleb's lesson for us from this: don't be a turkey. More succinctly, don't assume that the future will resemble the past, or, in the words of mutual fund prospectuses , "past performance is no guarantee of future results." Also, remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Of course, that doesn't take into account the pe

Hosted Email Service Price Comparison: Part 1

Hosted marketing email services are almost a commodity. Much like web hosting, email outsourcing is pretty much a no-brainer for all but the highest volume mail senders; email providers have already made the investments in deliverability, CAN-SPAM compliance, HTML tools and reporting, so there's no reason to build your own. And also similar to web hosting providers, there are few significant functional differences to separate one from another, so the choice largely comes down to personal preference, and—as with all commodities—price. Email hosting services aren't quite a commodity, as there are still differences in functionality and service offerings. Virtually all of them, however, offer at least the same basic set of capabilities, including list management, tools for creating HTML and plain text emails, scheduling and reporting. This chart compares current pricing levels for eight popular hosted marketing email platforms (click to enlarge): So, which platform offers the best

Email Campaign, Newsletter and Banner Ad Click-Through Rates (CTR)

When planning online advertising and email promotion budgets, it's critical to calculate the likely ROI upfront whenever possible, as well as to establish campaign benchmarks. The first step is understanding the average and likely range of CTRs for various programs. The growth in online advertising, the proliferation of enewsletters, the emergence of new forms of information delivery such as RSS and the emergence of social media sites have all affected CTR, so planning based on current data is crucial. It can be challenging to find current statistics, but based on several studies, these are typical CTR ranges for email newsletter ads, email campaigns (blasts or internally-produced enewsletters), and banner ads. Email newsletter advertisements Open rates range from 28-40%, with an average of about 33%—meaning that roughly one-third of the subscriber base is likely to see your ad. The Advertising Is Good For You blog tracks these statistics from DoubleClick . The average CT

How to Come Up With a Rock-Solid Brand Strategy for Your Business

How to Come Up With a Rock-Solid Brand Strategy for Your Business Modern businesses have to battle for audiences’ attention. A strong brand will make your business stand out from the competition and help create a long-lasting, positive association with target audiences. Without a solid branding strategy , your business is in danger of being lost in the crowd and failing to impress worthwhile audiences. Although investing in building and growing your brand may not seem to give immediate returns, the exercise has long-term benefits that impact visibility and conversion positively. A solid branding strategy is a result of conscientious effort and thorough research and we have distilled the complex mechanism into comprehensible steps below: Outline your brand’s objectives Your brand’s objectives need to align with your business goals. If you are starting a new venture, your vision needs to be clear and realistic. Your brand message, proposition, and tone will resonat

The 11th P of Blogging: Perspective

The 10Ps of blogging may seem to be quite enough, but a recent article by Matt Richtel of the New Yorks Times entitled Work fast, die young: The blogger lifestyle? pointed out the need for an 11th "P" word—perspective. Why do you blog? Probably for many reasons, but most of the bloggers I most frequently interact with—people like Brian Carroll of the B2B Lead Generation Blog , Elge Premeau at My Travels on the Net , Albert Maruggi at the Marketing Edge , and Skip Lineberg of Marketing Genius —blog primarily as a PR activity to support a separate consulting business or marketing agency. There are also corporate bloggers, analysts, journalists, and people who just enjoy writing as a creative outlet. The vast majority of bloggers do so on a part-time basis, but a few people—a tiny fraction of a fraction of the 100 million-plus bloggers—do it for a living. Which brings us back to Richtel's article. He focused on two technology bloggers, Russell Shaw and Marc Orchant , who