A launch used to be about making as much noise as possible in a short, defined campaign period.

A launch used to be about making as much noise as possible in a short, defined campaign period. A big launch spend, primetime TV ads, PR and a big calendar of launch events would often do the trick for both a consumer and channel or trade audience.

In fact, this approach is what has defined the shape and structure of many marketing teams and their agency rosters.

But now it’s all changed. Unless you’ve been living on a distant planet, you’ve probably seen plenty of research and headlines stating, in various forms, that consumers have less trust in brands than ever before and are increasingly tuning out of traditional media.

These facts have made prelaunch marketing an art in its own right.

In fact, many successful tech and entertainment launches have been in large part driven by the prelaunch phase. All businesses can pick up tips from the way Apple, the new Star Wars movie and startup tech and software businesses go about prelaunch marketing. For instance:

– Building buzz online among bloggers and influencers is a vital first stage in prelaunch marketing – so in your prelaunch plans you need to know who is who and what appeals to them. They are trusted by their peers and will build word of mouth more effectively than any brand. Video game makers, for example, will often let avid gamers do their talking for them and use them as beta testers.

– Another great trick is to, if possible, enable pre-ordering for those who find out about you early. Again, these early adopters are who’ll make or break new products and services. Just look at the excitement generated just by the idea of a new iPhone launch.

– If pre-ordering is not an option, give limited samples or even previews. This is an art developed by those launching via crowdsourcing platforms.

– Create specific prelaunch content – teasers and sneak peeks to get those rumour mills going. Don’t forget that video is now the pre-eminent form of digital content!

Video games or Hollywood blockbusters get key gamer and moviegoer audiences engaged and swapping titbits and nuggets of information on social media months or even years before their product sees the light of day. So if you want to be as good at marketing as they are, even if you don’t have their big budgets, the time to start is before you launch.

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