by: Scott Goodson

When setting out to launch a new product, your marketing plan will be a pretty important tool. Here are some useful things to keep in mind.

A good starting point is of course writing your marketing plan and investment modeling. In addition, finding the right communications partner is a priority. How do you select the right partner. There is excepted wisdom that I do not entirely agree with, such as holding a pitch between agencies. Namely because the real life experience working with a partner is very different from a pitch environment which is made up and fake.

The only way you can truly feel out whether the partnership is right is by rolling up your sleeves and getting to work.

Chemistry, a mutual view of the marketing landscape, innovation, strategic and creative excellence on past cases all make up an excellent yardstick against which you can make a decision for a partner. You can meet 2-3 different groups, but then you should select one and brief them for an assignment. Then begin working together.

Better agencies are not suppliers, they are more akin to business consultants and, as such, partners for your business. I stress partnership because the better communications firms are focused more on ideas and solutions and less on the distribution of media. The large legacy agencies strengths continue to be moving and managing huge volume whereas the more innovative companies out there, are able to focus on innovation and maximizing a product launch in a fragmenting media world using the new technologies out there.

New Product Development (one step before you have a product) is also something the more innovative agencies are geared up to help companies with today very early on. Cultural Movement strategies, for example, work well through the process of NDP because the process centers on the zietgeist of culture not on the product in isolation of the culture at large.

The results can be pretty incredible. Case in point the music industry which faces severe challenges and yet unknowns are raking up millions and millions of fans and downloads on their Myspace pages.

Innovation is needed when launching a new product because that new product can accelerate into a phenomenon whereas in the past a lot of success was based on the people behind the product. No more, in today's market new products can spark a Cultural Movement and grow globally fast.

Once you have selected your partner, then it's time to brief them. Here are some questions you might consider asking yourself before giving your new partner your brief download:

What is the business objective ?

What is the target bullseye ?

What is the functional benefit of the product ?

What is the emotional benefit of rhe product ?

What is the product culture ?

What is your annual budget ?

What are the agency fees ? (not the same as the annual budget)

Then form a good partnership and get to work.

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