An older woman in an apron stands in a kitchen, explaining something as she's being filmed by a smartphone on a tripod. The woman is behind a large wooden counter with some flour-dusted dough on a tray directly in front of her. A crate of fruit, a container of sugar, and a trio of eggs sit to one side of the table, while a glass jug of milk and a plate of pastries sit off to the other side. The woman has short white hair and wears glasses, a white checkered apron, and a pale gray T-shirt.
During the lead-up to your product's release, you can use social media, influencer campaigns, and other types of audience outreach to craft a narrative around your new product. — Getty Images/pixelfit

When launching a new product or service, companies strive to build buzz and excitement to generate consumer interest. According to a new study from Binghamton University, strategic preannouncement marketing — carefully choosing when to release general information and when to share specific details to build anticipation toward a company’s new release — can have a major impact on its success come launch time.

In the study, Debi Mishra, an Associate Professor at Binghamton’s School of Management, explored how nearly 150 product launch events from companies like Coca-Cola and IBM fared based on the type of information that was released to the public in the year leading up to the launch. Mishra and co-researcher M. Deniz Dalman found that a steady, sequential release of information, starting with broad, general statements and gradually getting more detailed as the launch approaches, proved to be the most effective.

“How a company communicates with consumers or stakeholders about new products is the key to future growth and survival,” Mishra said in a press release. “And depending on how this information is communicated, they create surprise in the marketplace that can prove beneficial.”

For small businesses in particular, Mishra recommended releasing general product features at the ideation phase and later sharing specific details like investments or regulatory approvals closer to launch.

“To generate, sustain, and maximize buzz, small businesses can decide on a) the timing (when), and b) the content (what) of information to be released,” Mishra told CO—. “This sequential information release strategy will ensure that buzz starts with a drumroll, gets amplified throughout the product development process, and reaches its crescendo at launch,” Mishra said.

[Read more: 7 Creative — and Free — Ways to Promote Your Business]

How to generate buzz with preannouncement marketing

Generating buzz for your small business requires ample time, preparation, and strategic planning, especially when you’re leading up to a product launch.

“You have to play the long game,” said Lindsay Ferraro Bennett, Senior Vice President at Pace Public Relations. “Consistent messaging to consumers, long-term relationships with journalists, and brand storytelling in the media needs to be established before building buzz for a specific product.”

Buzz doesn’t always mean the masses...The "who" matters as much as the "how many."

Jane Park, CEO and Founder of Tokki

To maximize the effectiveness of your preannouncement marketing, Bennett suggests putting a solid media plan into action early to accommodate the schedules of editors and journalists. Here are a few tips to help you execute a successful PR campaign ahead of your launch.

[Read more: PR and Content Marketing: 5 Differences You Should Know About]

Focus on the right audience

While widespread exposure may communicate your message to a wider audience, Jane Park, CEO and Founder of Tokki, said that strategically targeting communications to your key demographics and choosing platforms aligned with their preferences is more effective.

“Buzz doesn’t always mean the masses,” Park said. “The ‘who’ matters as much as the ‘how many.’ Figure out who you want to reach and then [determine] what you can say to them that will add something to their lives. Approaching your target audience with a giving mentality is the key.”

Craft a narrative around your product

Nicole Pomije, Founder and CEO of NB Talent Services, highlighted the importance of tailoring your messages to your audience using compelling narratives that elevate consumer interest and increase engagement.

“It’s all about the story you tell,” Pomije said. “For example, we work with a company called The Cookie Cups that sells cooking kits for kids, so we’re going after a target market of moms, grandmothers, or anyone who is buying gifts for kids. We don’t just want to tell them, ‘Here’s this kit for baking with your kid’ — we want to tell them that baking with this kit will make your kid feel like a professional chef in their kitchen.”

Partner with influencers

In 2023, the global influencer market was valued at around $21.1 billion, three times its 2019 valuation, demonstrating brands’ growing reliance on influencers to extend their reach and credibility.

“Media and influencer attention in advance can amplify your message, reaching a broader audience and establishing credibility through third-party validation,” said Shannon Bloemker, CEO of Energy Raven. “This strategic visibility helps carve out a market presence, setting the stage for a more robust and impactful debut.”

According to Bloemker, businesses should begin marketing three to six months before a product launch. This ensures ample time to build a solid foundation and effectively engage influencers and media contacts to assist with compelling narrative creation that captivates and resonates with your audience.

[Read more: Micro-Influencers: Who They Are and How They Can Benefit Your Small Business]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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