It’s easy to launch a new product without a single customer. Instead of showcasing a happy user to media, you instead hammer on the need for your solution (i.e., problem it solves), uniqueness of approach or other compelling factor. It’s possible to land great press briefings and coverage using this strategy. However, once this news is out, it’s expected that customer wins will follow. But for some businesses, references can be hard to come by, taking months to materialize. Government and major brands in particular, can have strict no-endorsement rules.

If you think you’re going to be lacking references the first months after your launch, you need to take a proactive approach to driving media attention. Here are some “no-customers-required” ideas that can give you forward momentum when users are lacking:

  • Partner Agreements – Have businesses signed up to distribute your product? Announce them.
  • Trade Shows – Announce the demo of your product at all your upcoming trade shows.
  • Awards – Submit your product for award competitions based on the quality and uniqueness of your solution.
  • Product Reviews – Identify the top reviewers in your space and offer a hands-on trial.
  • Contributed Articles – Identify publications in your market that accept guest columns and pitch them on a story topic that will allow you to frame up the problem your company solves and discuss the ideal approach.

Customers are oftentimes the most difficult element to coordinate in your overall marketing scheme. The trick is to be versatile and proactive in the beginning, and never wait until customers are on board to push ahead. And when you do get a customer, plan to tap that customer in every way possible.