As we reach peak summer weather, we encourage our D2C ecomm clients to look ahead and throw on their fall-product-drop-planning hats (a good Tilley hat will do).
A strong seasonal campaign takes a workback plan, a detailed strategy and clear goals. Here are some simple steps to creating a launch plan that even NASA would be jealous of. So, strap in—we’re about to blast off.
1. Take a walk down memory lane
We recommend conducting post-mortems right after each big event or campaign—and seasonal launches are no exception. If the concept of post-mortems is new to you, consider conducting a mini one retroactively. Think back to past launches and get critical. What worked? Why? What didn’t work? Why? What would you have wanted to do differently? Take these findings and see how you can apply them to your seasonal launch.
2. Go for the goals
Goals help you determine whether something was a success or not and help hold you (and your team) accountable. But goals are also important for guiding strategy. Every launch plan should include some form of a marketing goal that ladders back into a larger sales/business goal. Having something you can work towards allows you to attribute your efforts to the greater good.
For example, if your business goal is “We want to double our revenue by the end of this year,” ask yourself what it takes for marketing to support this and create a measurable, quantifiable goal like “grow our new customer database by 50%.”
3. Let’s strategize
Behind every great launch is a great strategy. Take the time to plan out yours based off of, you guessed it, your goals. For example, if you want to sell more products than last season (a no brainer), you’ll want to drive home the difference and benefits of your products throughout your seasonal campaign. How do you do that? Consider highlighting individual features of key products, or beef up your product description pages with video and notes from your designers. Whatever tactics you employ, remember that launching is only the first step. A great strategy will guide you throughout the season.
4. Determine your ideal launch date and work backward
Invest some time in developing a solid, date-determined plan. Create a clear workback schedule—using a GANTT chart or even excel—and don’t forget to involve the people who will help make it happen. Highlight what you need to accomplish and assign key dates to each milestone. This will give you a timeline and help you decide when you have to get the ball rolling in order to hit your ideal launch date.
5. Story time!
Amplify your seasonal line with a compelling story your audience is sure to fall head over heels for. Use your brand’s key messages as a starting point to build a seasonal narrative. When crafting this seasonal story, consider questions like “Why did you create the line? What influenced your designers? What makes your seasonal offering different from your competitors’?” Take some time, dust off those story chops, and get to writing.
6. Take inventory of your assets
Do a deep dive into all your creative assets for the season to make sure you have enough to carry you through. Do you have your ecomm shots and video, lifestyle shots, product copy, pricing, and seasonal story ready?
If it doesn’t feel possible to capture everything you need in one seasonal photoshoot, consider breaking your product drops down into mini-campaign shoots throughout the season. You can even look for ways to repurpose your e-commerce studio shots for social and email campaigns.
7. Gather the troops
Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to activate your team. Figure out the key players you will need and make sure they’re available (don’t forget to plan around those summer vacays). Give each member of your launch task force a specific role, then use your work back plan to ensure you stay on track.
So there you have it, some key tips to ensuring your seasonal launch is set up for success. If you’re not sure where to start, or need help filling the gaps, we’re always here to help!