deep understanding of the target cus- tomers’ needs. “It’s important to understand cus- tomers’ needs and then work closely with the manufacturers and suppliers to understand the impact of the new product,” she said. “How does it im- prove the end-users’ experience and their opportunity to improve their own businesses?” Peterson noted that in the past, the industry has too often pushed product blindly without taking into account the needs of a given customer segment—and without adequate ex- planation of why they should consider a new option. “There are so many products launched in a year that it’s hard to keep up,” she added. “That’s all the more reason to focus on those products that our cus- tomers are going to find beneficial. You have to tell the story.”
A Look Forward
The pace of new product launches looks unlikely to slow down—and far more likely to increase as tech- nological changes create more opportunities for manufacturers to inno- vate in ways great and small. With more product launches on the horizon, how can marketers ensure theirs actually get seen by the customers for whom they are intended? “We struggle at times with the sheer number of new products out there,” said Peterson. “We have to decide which ones we will focus on; that’s hard for our customers too. We are going to have to con- tinue to be quick to get information to the mar- ket. That means using as many avenues as possible to tell the story.
“We need to meet customers where they are looking for information, which is why digital marketing and media is so perfect,” she continued. “It makes information accessible when and how customers want it. We just have to stay connected to cus- tomers and focus on what they want and then leverage our strengths to reach out and connect the dots.” One tool to help marketers stay ahead of all the change is itself a prod- uct of those changes. Villeneuve pre- dicts digital and social media will become increasingly important as a way to share launch information, to more carefully target customers, and to collect better information and met- rics that reflect customer reactions even faster. “Product launches will definitely be much more digital oriented and we will see more digital and inter- active tactics,” he explained. “Com- panies are embracing social and digi- tal media, which we can use to listen to our customers and interact with them in different ways. Things are evolving very fast online and the amount of data being generated is enormous. One of the key challenges will be keeping up with the pace of change and using data effectively to build the right strategy and pick the right tactics in such a wide range of digital possibilities.” ;
is a freelance business writer based in Philadelphia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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