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26 Product Launch Strategies

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26 topline marketing strategies to launch a new brand, product or service. Includes a 1 page summary outlining the pros and cons of each approach as well as best in class examples. Designed as flashcards so that it can be printed out to help stimulate brainstorm sessions.

Text of 26 Product Launch Strategies

  • INSTRUCTIONS 1. Print out this presentation double-sided. 2. Use flashcards as stimulus for product launch brainstorms. 3. Mix and match flashcards to try different combinations. 4. Challenge convention. Be different. Be brave. 5. Select your best ideas. 6. Launch product. 7. Sit back and watch sales come in. Credits: Richard Pentin, Planning Director at TMW @ifonlyblog
  • DRIPPING TAP A controlled reveal over time
  • When to use it? High interest category Avid fan base Complex product category (eg automotive, gaming, IT, entertainment) When full suite of launch assets are not yet available Whats so good about it? Sustains buzz over time Press journalists thrive on this approach as they need brand stories to fill column inches Fuels insatiable appetite from avid fanbase Whats not so good about it? Conventional/traditional The film industry are masters at drip feeding stories in the run up to the official premiere. Trailers, posters, behind the scenes footage, soundtracks, interviews with protagonists, advanced screenings and PR stunts all designed to create positive buzz and generate box office success. E X A M P L E SD R I P P I N G T A P
  • LOCKDOWN Enforce a strict embargo on all outbound communications until launch
  • David Bowie launched latest album completely out the blue and to huge critical acclaim When to use it? In high interest categories When you have a strong fan base High confidence in new product/service To gain competitor advantage When you dont have a lot to say! Often used in conjunction with other approaches (eg Fanfare, Stampede) Whats so good about it? Speculation fuels rumours/buzz Catches competition off guard No cost Whats not so good about it? Hard to enforce prone to unofficial leaks Product may not meet the hype No opportunity to unpack story over time E X A M P L E SL O C K D O W N
  • RIPPLES Empower key influencers to tell your story
  • When to use it? High interest product / category When product/campaign has social currency Existing relationships with key influencers High confidence in product/service Whats so good about it? More cost effective than talking to the masses More authentic/persuasive Whats not so good about it? Less control Reach dependant on engaging right influencers Harder to control launch message Google Glass seeded prototypes to about 4,000 "Glass Explorers" who won an online competition to try them out (#ifihadglass). Drawing from celebrities, the fashion industry to bridal couples about to get married all will bring a unique and compelling perspective to help launch this innovative technology to a more mainstream audience. E X A M P L E SR I P P L E S
  • GRASS ROOTS Create groundswell from existing fans before opening up to broader market
  • When to use it? High interest product / category Loyal/avid fanbase High confidence in product/service Lower budgets Whats so good about it? Rewards biggest advocates Mobilises your unpaid sales army Invariably costs less than talking to the masses Whats not so good about it? Preaching to the converted Potentially slow burn Hard to get reach E X A M P L E S Wispa chocolate bar was discontinued by Cadburys but relaunched after passionate fans canvassed for its return on Facebook and various other platforms and events. Cadburys bought 1,000 billboards in the UK and Ireland and invited fans to submit messages which would feature in their campaign. G R A S S R O O T S
  • FANFARE A big bang at launch involving a concentrated burst of media investment across multiple channels
  • When to use it? Mainstream products At key seasonal events (eg Christmas, holidays) Usually used in conjunction with other strategies (eg Lockdown, Dripping tap or Ripple) Whats so good about it? High profile Confidence adds layer of reassurance Integrated storytelling Galvanises internal stakeholders Whats not so good about it? Expensive Unsustainable Conventional E X A M P L E SF A N F A R E
  • SHOCKWAVE Court controversy in order to generate headlines or mass hysteria. (Based on the assumption theres no such thing as bad publicity)
  • When to use it? Challenger or provocative brands Youth brands Popular in fashion, music, gaming and FMCG industries Low interest categories Whats so good about it? Free publicity Builds brand awareness quickly Affirms brands challenger status Whats not so good about it? High risk Polarising - potential negative backlash Sony Playstations Portable Player Deutsch Harvey Nichols Sale E X A M P L E SS H O C K W A V E
  • KEYNOTE Live event with key influencers to reveal product including live demonstration and live streaming. Media investment focused around promoting event.
  • When to use it? High tech categories (eg IT, automotive, gaming, consumer electronics) High profile brand ambassadors Confidence in product benefits/innovation Whats so good about it? Product is hero Product benefits clearly articulated Whats not so good about it? Relies on charismatic speakers Apples Steve Jobs was the master of keynote launch presentations Automotive brands frequently use keynote format to launch products at motorshows E X A M P L E SK E Y N O T E
  • SAMPLING Enable consumers to experience or trial product for free from traditional product sampling to live multi-player demonstrations
  • When to use it? Anything from FMCG, beverage, software, gaming to social startups Complex products which need to be experienced To reward early adopters or advocates When brand has confidence in product benefits/innovation Whats so good about it? Puts product into consumers hands from outset Whats not so good about it? Can be expensive Call of Duty and other gaming brands use MMORPG to demonstrate new game releases E X A M P L E SS A M P L I N G
  • STAMPEDE Based on the scarcity principle. Create the impression of excess demand by restricting supply. (eg restricted opening hours, retail outlets, stock levels, Limited Editions)
  • When to use it? One-off events High season (eg Christmas, Summer) High demand/avid fanbase Limited retail footprint Whats so good about it? Gives impression of excessive demand Creates visual evidence of fanaticism Provides exclusivity to selected partners Whats not so good about it? Lost sales due to stock management issues Consumer frustration Upset children at Christmas! When Rolling Stones announced an intimate gig at Brixton Academy in July 1995, the only way to get tickets was to tune into Virgin Radio on a specific day. Only then would the DJ announce where tickets would be on sale. Resulted in national coverage of massive queues blocking up Oxford Street outside Virgin Megastores and a sell out tour. E X A M P L E SS T A M P E D E
  • BETAMODE Adopt a more iterative approach to product launches by giving early access to new product in order to gain feedback which could enhance product development before general release
  • betamode Approach #10/ When to use it? Categories where issues can be rectified relatively quickly (eg IT, software, gaming, social platforms, apps) Whats so good about it? Fast to market - agile marketing Empowers community Transparent Better product design through crowdsourced feedback Whats not so good about it? Risky/exposes technical flaws Potentially damaging to brand if product is inferior Flipboard launched Android app in beta so any teething problems could be ironed out whilst driving positive buzz within Android community Mojang's launched their popular game Scrolls in beta, following the same iterative development cycle as Minecraft. The game is sold at a discounted rate during the beta period with the aim of making improvements based on community feedback. E X A M P L E SB E T A M O D E
  • RIDDLES Create an elaborate and immersive experience across a range of platforms where public have to solve clues to reveal product or win prize Web 1.0 (websites, email), Web 2.0 (Google Maps, Interactive Media, Wiki, Blogs, Videos, Social Networking), SEO, SEM, Viral, ARG, eDM, SMS, Print, Outdoor, 3rd Party Partnership, Experiential...
  • When to use it? Any brands where the prize is considered big enough Avid, passionate fanbase who are prepared to invest the time Whats so good about it? Can create significant buzz Extends product launch cycle Immersive experiences, plays to digital strengths Whats not so good about it? Potentially expensive and labour intensive Can be guilty of preaching to the converted Requires a lot of effort from consumers which may deflate response E X A M P L E S To launch Lynx Attract, Lynx provided a range of clues which the target audience had to decipher in order to win the ultimate prize a holiday to Chaos Island R I D D L E S
  • Start small and watch it build momentum of its own. Often involves seeding something which goes viral.
  • snowball Approach #12/ How does it work? Start small and watch it build momentum of its own. Often involves seeding something which goes viral When to use it? When you have a strong, contagious idea Whats so good about it? Cost effective way to gain reach Whats not so good about it? Invariably requires investment to kickstart Viral success is not guaranteed Untargeted TNT TV channel in Belgium created an entertaining ad which they seeded in social. After some initial promotion the video built momentum of its own and went viral. 44.8 million views and counting (as at 18.4.13) E X A M P L E SS N O W B A L L
  • COAT TAILS Exploit the power of positive association and ride on the coat tails of someone famous
  • When to use it? When product or brand is not well known and needs additional endorsement/support When brand or celebrity share similar values Whats so good about

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