If your product team is working on the next big thing, then you would be preparing for an equally awesome launch plan. You have invested considerable time, money, and resources in developing a great product, honing your message, and planning your marketing activities, and now you want those efforts to pay off.
It’s just not the best of products or ideas in the world may not get the buzz or the sales, if the right people are not aware of it. Although the ultimate goal is to engage your external audience (potential customers) and get them to buy the product, it’s also important to get buy-in from your team or the employees.
A strong internal communication plan is just as important to the success of a new product launch as your external marketing plan. Communicating the product message and the strategy to employees, helping them understand their role in the plan creates a buzz before you get into the market and more importantly the confidence that brings into the team is humungous. You can call this as the Beta version of the launch.
Communication in launches is crucial, and during this point of time almost all the product managers are congregating with their sales & marketing teams, advertising agencies, PR agencies trying to crack the message that best suits the end-user. Nine out of Ten cases will be in an auto pilot format with standard templates of launch event, press meets, sampling, road shows and so on. But the other half of the responsibility of communicating to your employees will be a whole lot more complicated. This is where we need to bring in the service of an Internal communication manager or an Internal communication agency in the core team. There are more processes, fewer templates and very importantly this is the sample of your customer base which you know. Please remember, your office will be the best place to rehearse your launch plans, test all your communication touchpoint and trial run all your complicated campaign scenarios in a controlled environment.
3 key elements that you need to take care when you are planning the Internal product launch communication.
How much of the marketing “master plan” do you need to communicate to your employees in order they are not caught surprised. How should you deliver this information? All these depend on the kind of the role they are in the scheme of things.
Key points that need to be informed are:
- Who is this product/ service for ?
- What problems will it solve?
- Product description / features
- Positioning of the product
- Campaign idea / strategy
- Campaign timelines
Also most importantly it’s your employee who will share the first feedback so please go all out to share the information you have on the product.
As in external communication, you will need to explore various channels to communicate the launch information to your employees. You might need workshop or in-person meetings to your sales team and customer support team, engineers may need an email update, posters and films can be good channels to communicate to the rest of the employees. Effectiveness of the channel depends on how creative we use these channels. Some of the popular communication channels include:
- Email campaigns
- In-house social media sites
- Town Halls
- Posters or any other innovative ambient branding
- Experiential activities
Employees should be aware of the various timelines of the launch. Different stages of the launch are:
- Pre event – Teasers, event or activities that creates a buzz
- Launch day – public unveiling of product/ services, media announcement
- Post event – feedback gathering, lead generations
As much as possible it’s best that we avoid the marketing jargon and focus on the key message of the product or service to your employees. Product team need to be available around during the internal launch and be available to receive feedback. Take time to speak to groups of employees about the product launch plan and answer questions. Try out the mock launch event at your office to rehearse your external launch event.
As with any new initiative, one of the challenges of launching a new product is fostering understanding and interest among employees. By providing clear, concise instruction and continuing guidance, you can prepare your team for success. This is your Beta testing – evaluate your product to fullest before you launch!