Planning and Executing a Successful Startup Launch: The Proof is in the Process

By Matter

Supporting a startup entering into a market can be a rewarding but difficult process. The ability to not only counsel your client with a timely and strategic plan but also execute that plan smoothly is crucial to the overall success of the announcement. There are different ways to integrate a company into the market and it all depends on the overall goal of the company. One key element to any launch plan is to start early. Why? A couple of reasons:

  • Messaging – With startups, clients rely on our counsel to help craft and shape their messaging for the announcement. Even if the language is shifted down the line, it’s important to get a good foundation started so your client is well-prepared for any initial conversations with influencers.
  • Reporters and Analysts are Busy – Reporters and analysts are constantly being inundated with the latest and greatest in their particular fields of interest – so it’s important to communicate to them why your client is worth speaking to.
  • Industry Advantage Giving time to strategically roll out a launch quietly before the actual announcement not only leads to day-of coverage, but also helps form a solid foundation with key influencers in that industry.

Matter Communications recently assisted in the launch of an innovative startup using the roll out launch process.

Fiber Mountain, Inc., developer of the Alpine Orchestration System, Optical Edge Switch and Connectivity Virtualization solutions for hyperscale data centers, came out of stealth mode and launched its company in September at Interop 2014 – a major networking industry conference in New York.

During our initial planning discussions with Fiber Mountain, we learned that the company’s CEO M.H. Raza was going to be in the Boston area a few weeks prior to the launch date. We decided to leverage this by forming a pre-briefing tour and began reaching out to influential Boston-based analysts and select press to encourage introductory meetings. This allowed Raza to meet with those that would become a regular contact post-launch that we wanted to get in front of and helped build a foundation for important future relationships. Following the company’s Boston tour, we continued the momentum by reaching out to other analyst firms, technology publications as well as those we knew were going to be attending Interop.

The results: 27 interviews conducted with analysts, press, bloggers and other folks that matter in the data center industry and 13 original articles placed, including features in Forbes, Network World and TechTarget, equaling to approximately 30 million impressions. Between analyst briefings, media coverage from the launch and show floor “buzz”, Fiber Mountain was arguably the most innovative at Interop 2014.

Have a client launch coming up? Here are some tips to consider when developing your clients’ launch:

  • Start Early – Understand when your client is planning on launching its company and/or product and work backwards on when you should start reaching out to influencers. A good rule of thumb would be to start at least a month or two out. This way, you are giving your team enough time to educate the analysts and/or reporters about the technology and schedule pre-launch interviews.
  • Pre-Brief Media Tour – Set a goal with your team on how many interviews you should work to secure prior to launch. All clients are different and you should set realistic expectations with your clients (e.g. not promising them a slot on Good Morning America right off the bat) but, set reachable goals based on previous experience.
  • Stand Out – When working with your client to plan their launch and the activities leading up to it, figure out a way your client can stand out amongst all of the other pre-existing companies, especially if it is a startup. This can be around a major industry event or show, developing graphics such as an infographic or video, or utilizing a multi-media news release. Understand which avenue aligns with your client’s goals for the launch and plan around it.
  • Use Social Media – This is a given however, many clients do not understand the true value social media channels hold. Educate your client on the importance of aligning a social media campaign along with the actual launch. If your client is unfamiliar with Twitter or Facebook, or isn’t’ even involved on social media, use this as an opportunity to educate them on how it will help promote their launch and future relationships with the analysts and reporters they connect with.
  • Keep the Momentum Going – While both the client and the PR team needs a breather after a huge announcement, don’t stop. Keep the momentum going after the launch to not only secure more coverage and briefings but increase the conversation about your client.

We want to know. What other tactics or strategies have worked well for your client, product or service launches?