Inspiration for new products can come from a variety of places. Buyers often request new products they feel will sell well in their stores. Manufacturing may offer a few suggestions on how to improve an existing product. Sales people or the marketing team may see opportunities in the marketplace. Even your ten-year-old daughter may have a great idea. With all these potential winners, how can you get these products to market in an efficient manner?

Say you have 10 products you would like to launch in the next year, how do you go about it? How much support do they get? By segmenting the products in your development pipeline,you can get a handle on timing and budgeting.

Since your time and budget is limited, it is best to create a hierarchy of product launch categories that allocates a specific level of support. Then you can determine how many products within each category you can afford to launch and you can place each new product into the appropriate category. This will streamline your product launch process and define your total annual budget needs.

Start by creating an ideal marketing plan for your top product. This product will be provided with all of the marketing and sales support your company can muster. This is your best product and should be classified as an “A” product. Then scale back the marketing plan- limiting the amount of support and exposure the products receive. Depending on your product portfolio you will end up with B, C maybe even D products.  This most important element of the segmentation process is to determine the budget for each category.

Level A products are stars that deserve high profile support with major sales potential. New products with this designation will require an extensive and integrated approach. They get all the bells and whistle you can afford.

Level B products are allocated less marketing activity and a smaller budget. Products within this category are usually line extensions or major enhancements to existing products.

Level C products most of the marketing activity for this category will involve trade press releases and sales support materials.

Launch Programs

Developing individual and customized marketing plans for each product can be a painstaking process. By categorizing marketing programs, you will streamline the process. In the end, your annual marketing plan may consist of 1 A, 3 Bs and 10 C product launches. Adding up the cost of each of these programs allows you to properly forecast your marketing budget. In addition, you can quantify the amount of money you want to devote to a product. Does that new gizmo really deserve the A level marketing budget? It will also focus your efforts.
With a limited budget of money and time, devoting adequate time to launching products can be difficult if you are spread too thin.

By obtaining approvals throughout your organization on which products will be designated as A, you will have focused everyone’s efforts and prioritize initiatives. Of course, you can add or modify each program to suit a particular product, but the foundation is set up. You can develop economies when you know that several products will share similar marketing materials. For example, you can print shells ahead of time. Lastly, you can develop a more integrated approach where all of your marketing communication elements begin to work together.