5 PR tips for an international B2B product launch

Here's how to not mess up a launch spanning several countries.

PR and marketers know that a lot goes into any product launch. From understanding your audience, to establishing the right delivery and trying to quantify the results, the coordination and preparation often begin months in advance.

But if there’s one thing comms teams also know, it’s that you can’t plan for everything. Having recently navigated four successful international launches for Arcserve, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Here are some of the challenges we encountered and some tips to help ensure a successful international B2B product launch.

First, secure multiple references for each geography. Most launch timelines include securing quotes and handling media prep for internal executive references. But analysts, customers and partners also need to be involved with providing contributing quotes and speaking with interested media.

These references need to be secured for specific locales, as international media will most likely want to speak with local sources. And, make sure you have backups in case your first contacts are unable or unwilling to participate.

Next, keep the excitement in check. It’s easy for employees, customers and partners to get excited when they see the latest product communication, especially while you’re simultaneously asking them to be a reference.

They get so excited, in fact, they may want to talk publicly about the launch, which can scoop your news. So it’s important to tell customers and partners to keep things under wraps until the big day.
But, being realistic, something may still get out. So, it’s critical to have your PR agencies keep an eye on your social media channels and monitoring platforms to identify any leaks.

Pick a launch date that avoids conflicts. Picking the perfect date for the announcement is a real challenge. Avoiding Fridays is no brainer, but there are also holidays and major industry events that could steal attention from your announcement.

Finding a date without conflict in all major global regions can be nearly impossible, so it’s important to trust the regional advice from agencies and internal team members to help maximize attention. The only area where you shouldn’t compromise is on the internal, customer and partner communication; they should hear it from you first.

Establish a central contact. Because so much coordination goes into marketing an international B2B product launch, having an internal resource to help make decisions and manage key stakeholders is critical.

Understand the differences in regional media. The right ingredients to successfully market a B2B product launch may not be ubiquitous worldwide, even with all the right references, tested messaging and local spokespeople.

For example, U.K. media are highly skeptical of product news, whereas U.S. media have more of an appetite for it, provided it’s new and different. Similarly, there are differences around selecting news distribution services. The U.K. may not rely on wire distributions, but they are relied on in countries like France and Germany.

The reality of any B2B product launch is that so much remains out of your control. Preparing for an international launch is certainly no easy task, but we’ve found that in addition to proper planning and goal setting, these tips will give you a fighting chance of success.

Rachel McClary is CMO for Arcserve. She co-authored this editorial with Meredith L. Eaton, Director of North America for Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.

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