When it comes to launching a product, finding ways to stand out from the competition is essential. For many e-commerce platforms, differentiation comes from finding elements that make your product unique from others that are similar to it -- such as creating a "minimalist" wallet, for example.
But what if you are introducing a product that is truly new? That nobody else in your industry has attempted? In this case, the challenge isn't proving that your product is better than or different from your competitors'.
Instead, you have to give customers a compelling reason to try out something they've never considered before. By homing in on some marketing fundamentals, you can get your product off to a quality start. Some tips:
Clearly communicate your product's benefits
In selling, it is generally considered best to sell to consumers on the basis of a product's benefits, rather than its features. While this still holds true with new products, you may have to make some slight concessions on this point.
To familiarize your target audience with something that may be completely new to them, you will need to touch a bit more strongly on features when pitching your product. However, all mentions of features should always be couched in language that focuses on product benefits.
I recently had the opportunity to speak via email with Mitch McKee, founder and CEO of M Engineering. McKee's company has experience successfully bringing a new product to market, working on luxury brands like Porsche, McLaren, and other major automotive manufacturers with their vehicle flashing suite.
In our conversation, McKee noted that even when dealing with tech-centric, "feature-heavy" products, the most important selling point will always be how the product makes the end users' lives easier.
While going into the technical details of how a feature works may be appealing for some, most customers are going to care more about how these features deliver real value in their day-to-day routine.
Tell a compelling story
Storytelling has always been central to marketing, because it engages the senses and presents your product in compelling, emotionally relevant situations. For brand-new product ideas, effective storytelling helps make the case for how your product fits into a consumer's daily life.
As The New York Times has reported, cognitive researchers have found that the brain stimulates the same neurological regions when reading about another's experiences as it does when a person encounters that same situation in real life.
Stories for your first-of-its-kind product should focus on how it fits into a customer's routine. How does it make life easier for them? How does it help them accomplish their goals?
Go beyond highly produced, scripted ads. Get testimonials from early adopters and product testers that go into detail about how they use your product and benefit from it.
This can be especially helpful for high-end products -- research from PowerReviews found that the mere presence of reviews and testimonials next to a more expensive item can increase conversions rates by 380 percent.
Deliver on your product's promises
It doesn't matter what kind of flashy benefits your brand-new product promises. If it fails to live up to them, it will be dead on arrival.
As valuable as marketing will be in teaching customers the value of your new product, you should invest even more into ensuring that it is at the highest possible quality when it launches. And you must continue to iterate and improve upon your initial launch.
Even though there continue to be humorous stories about smart speakers misinterpreting spoken language, the reason more than 100 million Amazon Alexa devices have been sold is because they largely deliver on the promises made by the brand. With over 100,000 "skills" programmed in, they have helped homeowners around the world streamline a wide variety of daily tasks.
Customers are often willing to forgive a few bumps along the way when your product is brand new. But you must demonstrate a commitment to improving your product and making the end user's experience even better. The work you put into your product ultimately reflects on your dedication to your customers, and greatly influences whether they'll keep buying from you.
While launching a first-of-its-kind product may require that you make some extra explanations to your customers to help them understand its features and benefits, at the end of the day, your product needs to deliver real, lasting value. The products that disrupt industries and make an impact are the ones that do more than line their creators' pockets -- they create meaningful change.