new product launch

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Back in the day, okay back before the day, marketers learned how to market by selling one-at-a-time. You made something, let people try it — if they liked, you sold it.  What was learned from the first sales experience was parlayed into the next and so on until roll-out.  First limited, then as demand dictated.

Today, many small and mid-size company goods and services, especially of the tech variety, are incubated, venture-funded, business planned, social media-eyezed and launched without this up close and personal one-at-a-time process. Many nouveau markets go big using accelerated timeframes without allowing for an evolved sales immersion. Fall forward fast some call it.  If you are using other people’s money, it’s like going to college in reverse.

David Ogilvy once said, and I paraphrase, “Our business is infected with people who have never sold a thing in their lives.” He, of course, was referring to the ad business. 

My suggestion to start-ups today: It’s okay to incubate and code and pitch, but please, please, please don’t forget to sell.  Look into the eyes of your buyers. Feel them. Listen to them. Don’t be shined on by you uncle in the business. Don’t let the dream get in your way. Peace.

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Having worked the last couple of years for an internet start-up and a consumer product launch I can tell you how important the “idea” is when it comes to bringing something new to market.  

 

The web start up was not easy to explain. It was part social network, part web development tool, part web portal. Try ‘spaining that one Ricky. The consumer product was a nutrition and protein drink, boasting the highest form of pure, drinkable protein – highly desirable qualities among the infirm who cannot stomach lactose, sugar and thickness of the shakes currently dominating the market.

 

When a new product is released to market it needs to be easily defined.  The definition needs to resonate with consumer, the media and the product’s sellers.  It requires a single statement of product, value and benefit.  To get to that simple statement requires many decisions about what not to include.  This is the “boil down” process. You boil away the extraneous, and what is left is the most powerful, flavorful truth about the product.    

 

This statement is the “suit strategy” and it is the most critical part of the brand launch. It galvanizes the company, informs the markets and gives creative people the direction for the creative. Once fed and cared for over time, the suit strategy morphs into the “branding idea.” Campaigns come and go, but a powerful branding idea is indelible.

 

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