Priming the Market
We are huge proponents of starting the launch process early.
That’s bedrock best practice because it allows you to lay the most advantageous foundation for your launch:
- Cultivating evangelists to mobilize and harmonize the organization around the launch—before opinions and attitudes have solidified to the point that they’re difficult to change
- Getting the right strategy, positioning and messaging in place before it takes on an internal life of its own
- Launching internally first, and avoiding missteps due to lack of alignment
But for many of our clients, the most compelling reason to start early is the opportunity to get ahead of the game with pre-launch marketing.
That may not seem like an option if you are in med-tech, or another regulated industry. You certainly can’t promote a medical device before approval, or make claims that aren’t supported by evidence.
What you can do before launching, whatever your regulatory situation might be, is prime the market.
What it means to prime the market
An artist primes her canvas to optimize the surface for receiving paint. On an unprimed canvas, the paint doesn’t flow, and colors lose their impact. Priming, in other words, creates a favorable context for the painting.
Priming the market is similarly about creating favorable context. As storytellers we lean hard on context. Context is what lays the groundwork, setting up the specific problem we’re trying to solve and the solution we’re providing—paving the way for a smoother, more impactful entrance into the market.
So how do you prime? What are some possible avenues and entry points to explore for creating a favorable context for launching?
Unpack the problem
Your product, service or company solves a problem, or addresses an unmet need. It’s the WHY behind your offering. So what is that problem, exactly? How well is it understood by the market? Can we do more to articulate it and bring it forward? Do we need to change the conversation? And is this an issue you can own?
Create a category
What are the legacy options for dealing with the problem your offering solves? These options can generally be grouped into categories—and those categories may not be set in stone. Perhaps there is an opportunity for you to preemptively reposition competitors and create your own category. How do existing alternatives fall short of solving the problem? Consider how you can establish the need for a new category of product, or a different approach to doing things prior to launching.
Build a bigger story
Look inward and upward at your portfolio, business unit or organization. How does the offering you’re introducing change your story at a higher level? It often does, and there’s a lot to be said for shaping that story in advance, and setting the stage for what’s to come.
Expand your audience
Your new offering may present the opportunity—or necessity—to form new relationships and cultivate new audiences. Now is the time to lay the groundwork, let them know who you are, what you stand for, and the problems you’re solving.
By priming the market, you create favorable context, smooth the path, and give your launch a jumpstart well before you push the GO button. If you’ve got a launch on the horizon, don’t wait (see first sentence in this blog). Let’s talk about how we can get your initiative primed for success.
Want more on launching best practices? Read our Orange Paper Rethink Launching (pdf).