How much will it cost to launch / market my new product?

How much will it cost to launch / market my new product?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but one we’re asked all the time. And we generally respond the same way each time... “how much does it cost to build a house?” That is, do you want a mansion, a town home, or a van down by the river? Where are you building it? How fast do you want it built? Do you know anyone who can help you build it? Oh... and do you have a plan for building it?

Sure, perhaps there’s a twinge of smart ass in our answering a question with a question(s), but it’s a legitimate comparison. It’s simply too broad a question. You need to start out with the small details first so you can get to the end goal of how much.

But seriously, how much will it cost?

All right, since nobody likes a smart ass and you’re reading this blog for answers, we’ll provide some generalities. And while it’s tough to provide a guesstimate without knowing specifics, you should expect marketing your new product to cost between $100,000 to $1,500,000, spread out over one to five years.

Holy cow, right?

Go ahead, read those numbers again: one hundred thousand or one million five hundred thousand dollars. That’s quite a spread! So the natural question you’re asking is... what do I get for all that money? Ah... well, it depends on what you need.

So let’s theorize for a bit. We'll assume you already have a finished widget – that is, your product is designed, engineered, and manufactured. And we’ll concede this isn’t a new category of product – so people know what it is; they just don’t know about your company or your new widget. So here’s what you might expect to spend your “holy cow that’s a lot of” money on during the one to five years you’re marketing your new widget.

Market Research

Sure, you may not need a full-blown focus group or primary research. Even if you think you don’t need this, you’d be surprised how often what you believe your prospects think doesn’t match up with reality in the consumer’s mind. So you should at least have someone other than yourself question prospects or target consumers to see what they think about widgets. What they want from their widgets. How much they’re willing to pay for the best widget.

And at the very least, do some secondhand research on the market, competitors, and your target audience. Know your major competitors, where they sell, what their positioning is. How you’re better (or can position yourself as better), etc.

Expect to spend $5,000 to $50,000

Positioning & Strategy

If you’ve done your market research (of if you’re some type of savant) then next you’ll need to determine your positioning and overall marketing strategy. That is, how will you be differentiating your widget? Why should someone buy or use your widget over your competitor's widget? You’ll need to write this up as a positioning document to guide all your efforts.

Then you’ll need to determine “how” you’re going to gain market share. Are you a lower-priced competitor? Are you a niche market? Will you steal share from the market leader – or try to stamp out other lesser competitors? Write this up too. It will guide your efforts.

Expect to spend $1,000 to $20,000

Corporate Branding

If you’re like most engineers or inventors you’ve been focused on your widget and not the company. That was an afterthought. Perhaps you had your kid, or cousin, or friend do a logo. Sorry, but that’s probably not going to work long-term.

First, a logo isn’t a corporate brand...it’s just a logo. It’s part of the brand experience, but corporate branding is much more. It’s derived from your positioning and strategy and spans all aspects of interaction between the consumer and your company. It’s visual branding, customer experience, and more.

But at the start, at the very least, you need to look professional and appear “much” bigger than you probably are. Sorry, but humans are susceptible to initial impressions. If your logo, brochure, or presentation looks low-end or cheap or embarrassing, chances are you’ll be perceived poorly. So make sure you look big in everything you do, even if you’re small.

Expect to spend $2,000 to $10,000

Product Branding & Packaging Design

Since you only have one widget, you may not need product branding. But a strategy should still be conceived for when you have dozens of widgets spanning all types of markets or uses. So you don’t shortchange yourself with early decisions that will need to be undone later.

Packaging design will likely be a major investment. Success in stores is heavily influenced by packaging now. Sorry to inform you, but the best widget doesn’t always win. Sometimes it’s the one with the shiniest box. So make sure you take your time and do the packaging right. So it has shelf presence. So it feels and looks appropriate for it’s price point - and it’s functional. Oh, and don’t forget you’ll also be spending on shipping packaging too.

Expect to spend $1,000 to $5,000 for product branding and $2,500 to $25,000 for packaging design

Web Design, Email Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Media, SEO, and SEM

Well, finally. Some place where you can get by with a small investment initially. Launching a website for your widget, even an e-commerce one, can be quick and easily done in today’s world. Either choose a hosted service like Weebly or go with Wordpress (and WooCommerce) to get your site up and running quickly. Though plan on paying for copywriting and design (even if you’re using a template). Somebody will have to make things fit your corporate branding.

Then make sure you start and continue an email marketing program. Email still has the best ROI and keeps you in direct contact with prospects and customers.

Make sure you at least have a company blog and keep at it regularly. Even better, create unique content, such as videos, infographics, and such. Then share things on your social channels and monitor your SEO (and adjust as necessary).

Expect to spend regularly and/or heavily on online advertising. Search engine marketing (SEM) is almost a requirement today. You may also need to spend on paid social media ads too. Depending on your audience and marketing strategy, SEM may be a major expense. So do it right. Make sure you’re creating optimized ads and directing them to optimized landing pages – and monitor conversions.

Expect to spend $500 to $5000 for a simple site, and between $1,000 to $25,000 per month for content, social, seo, and sem.

Public Relations

Public relations isn’t what it used to be - it’s evolved into so much more. It’s returning to prominence, especially as social media veers towards paid promotion. PR is again becoming important, since getting press and editorial coverage can help your business in so many ways. At a minimum, plan on writing your own press releases, aiming for one a month or at least every two months. And don’t forget to reach out to editors, and bloggers, and other influencers.

Expect to spend $1,000 to $10,000 per month

Trade Show Support

Eventually, you’ll need to attend a trade show. It may be industry focused or consumer oriented, but regardless, it’ll generally become part of your marketing mix. Industry shows will help you find and connect with distributors and retailers much more quickly than your could do organically. And if it’s a consumer show, you can locate and connect with brand ambassadors and hopefully receive awards, accolades, and/or press coverage too.

But a show costs money. You’ll need a booth. Materials. Give-aways, banners, ads, follow-up mechanisms, etc. Plus you’ll be spending on staff, hotels, travel, and the show expenses itself. So depending on what industry your widget is in, shows may be a necessary, albeit expensive, investment.

Expect to spend $1,000 to $10,000 for a booth and approximately $10,000 to attend each show, plus extra for any show-related activities or deliverables

Ongoing Sales & Marketing Support

Most of the above will unveil and evolve over time. And marketing must continually adapt, month to month, let alone year to year. So plan on aligning with, and working closely with, your marketing firm (or hiring internally). You’ll constantly find you need more stuff. Updated sell sheets, brochures, PPTs, ads, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, etc.

So schedule regular meetings with your marketing team to ensure things keep moving forward. And make sure your marketing activities are producing results, or change them, or change tactics. We like to meet ongoing marketing clients every two weeks or at minimum once per month so we can provide progress reports, plan new activities, and coordinate any necessary adjustments.

Expect to spend $1,000 to $15,000 per month depending on activities and deliverables

Well that’s it...kind of

You may need less or more of the services and deliverables mentioned above. Or you may need or require stuff not on the list. We didn’t even touch upon supporting distribution or channel marketing or customer response management or marketing automation. The options and opportunities you’ll be faced with abound.

But just like building a house, you don’t simply grab a hammer and some lumber and start building. When you’re marketing your new product you’ll need to develop a blueprint first. Then you can determine a budget and decide what you can build and what types of things you can afford to include. But fortunately, unlike a building a house, you won’t pay for it upfront - you’ll be spending on your marketing over time, so doing it well can help fund future marketing.

Jan 18, 2014
By: William Levins


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There are 7 comments for this entry. Leave a comment below »


Thanks for a marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading
it, you could be a great author. I will be sure to
bookmark your blog and may come back someday. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great writing, have a
nice day!

nac network
Aug 12, 2016


nothing

Harpreet Kaur
Jun 04, 2016


@Herman - well we can help you do it all.

William Levins
Dec 02, 2015


Hay!

Thanks for the detail! Can you suggest some companies that can assist in such endeavors? We are at the cusp of this, and the North American market is a bit daunting.

Thanks

Herman

Herman
Nov 13, 2015


@JC,

You’re absolutely correct, launching a product is doable for $10,000. In fact, we’ve helped companies launch with much less…. it just takes more creativity and hard work to get lean start-ups off the ground. As you mention - you might start with simple packaging and you’d better be ready and willing to hustle your butt off hawking your product almost "door to door."

But… in our defense… you may have glossed over the last part of the budget sentence where it says ”...cost between $100,000 to $1,500,000, spread out over one to five years.” Notice it says that amount can be spread out over 1 to 5 years. So, sure you could start out with a few hundred bucks, a supplier, and a good pair of shoes as you mention during year one or so… and spend very little in the beginning as you grow your business.

William Levins
Sep 24, 2015


When i read this article i expected to see the publish date pre 2005 or so. I think this would be the case if someone was prepping to put 10,000 units in the market in one shot. Most of us small inventors will start small. Yes, your packaging needs to be professional and eye catching but i work with a manufacturer of a product with some of the most bland packaging youve ever seen. They sell upwards of $10 million per year. And yes, they spend on marketing and advertisitng but they didnt in the beginning. They had a good product filling a niche in their industry and they started small. You can find their product in Target and the packaging is still blah. There are countless of stories like this out there so dont be deterred if you have dreams of making it big. Have your product, ambition, patience, plenty of reserves to sustain and put gas in your car and market to smaller retail stores first. Then, take your proceeds to buy another pair of shoes (yours will certainly be worn out by then) more gas in the car and take the rest to increase your sales through seo, marketing firms, trade shows and pr. Would it be amazing to have $100k in your pocket to start. Of course! But there are other ways and countless stories of astonishing success through starting small and growing. Sorry Mr. Levins, but i gotta disagree.

JC
Sep 24, 2015


Hi, and thank you for taking the time to break down these essentials. In your above article, did you add in what you would pay someone to create all this for the company? Such as if you were to hire a person to put together a marketing launch, for a product, and came up with presentations, did the social media updates, expos, blogging, news interests, got illustrator, got editor...then did the direct sales to companies...what would you expect for fee to do all that?

Michele Fuller
Jul 16, 2015


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