THE LAUNCH OF A NEW PROD- uct, like all new beginnings, is a mixture of anticipation and anxiety for manufacturers, distributors, and even the cus- tomers who have to decide if this new item is worth stray- ing from whatever tried- and-true product they have been using. As a result, the marketing cam- paigns that accompany launches need to take those competing emo- tions into account, in addition to all the other planning and strategy that goes into creating a successful campaign. This month, Jean- Phillipe Villeneuve, mar- com specialist, B2B, for Philips Lighting, and Lynn Peterson, marketing manager, Viking Electric Supply, Minneapolis, offer their thoughts on how to plan and execute campaigns that balance the unique needs of marketing for a new launch.
Make It Feel Familiar When promoting an existing product or service, a marketer can rely on cus- tomers at least having a passing awareness of the product and focus most of their content and design on
whichever aspect they want to high- light. With a new product, marketers have to first establish the product or service in their customers’ minds and explain why it is worth trying. Only then can marketers attempt other kinds of pro- motion for the new launch. “When promoting an existing product, there is typically a baseline level of familiarity and under- standing with the prod- uct offering in the mar- ket,” noted Villeneuve. “This can be quite differ- ent when launching a new product or solution, and that foundation is not yet established. The market is in a constant state of change and re- quires us to always be thinking about our strategic approach with a customer-first mind-set. ” To craft an effective launch cam- paign, Peterson considers several dis- tinct issues her company’s customers will have top of mind when consider- ing a new product—and how her com- pany will handle them. “A few things we might consider are whether we will be stocking the new product or not and, if so, do we have it in stock now? Will it be readily available to the customer when the ad
goes out?” she explained. “Other questions we need to address are: Does it replace something that the customer was already using or is it a brand-new tool or technology? What don’t our customers know about it yet?” Peterson also takes into consid- eration the most effective ways to communicate all of this information to the customer segment being tar- geted for this particular launch. “For instance, will they most likely be look- ing for it at the store counter, or will an email campaign be better for the audience? How and when will we fol- low up after the initial campaign?” she continued. While the planning for a new launch requires some additional fore- thought and the content has to ad- dress the issues that are unique to new products, from there, the keys to a successful campaign are similar to any other. “In the case of a launch or an exist- ing product, we want to raise aware- ness among our target audience with increasing precision,” Villeneuve said. “We also want to make it easy for them to learn more and get the prod- uct information that they are looking for in whichever stage of their deci- sion journey they are at that moment. “The lighting industry has tradi- tionally focused on product features and capabilities as opposed to the benefits that are most relevant for customers,” Villeneuve continued. “It’s crucial to have a deep under- standing of customers’ challenges to prioritize the product features and build a compelling story that creates value for them. It’s about combining a great product with the right story to the right people at the right moment by using the right medium.” Peterson agreed that to succeed, as with any other type of marketing, a campaign has to be created with a A VIEW FROM THE TOP Marketing professionals from winning companies hare their best practices and strategies. by Carol Katarsky
THE 2017 BEST OF THE BEST MARKETING COMPETITION SUBMISSION WINDOW HAS CLOSED; WINNERS WILL BE RECOGNIZED AT THE