Product Launch Campaigns – The Lifeblood Of The Business

Few company events are more critical than launching new products and services. Many firms just go through the motions during product launches, repeating the same worn-out formulas they’ve always used-but every product launch is an opportunity to turn a new page in your company’s history, and it can make the difference between rags and riches.

Any new product can be directed towards an existing market (a set of known prospects and customers) or it can tackle new markets. But when introducing a new product or service, you need to innovate, going beyond what has been done in the past. You have a choice-let your product get lost in the noise or launch it differently.

The introduction of a new product requires a major launch effort if your company is marketing a new family of products (or services) towards a new target market-a different class of user or a different application emphasis than you have worked with before. You might also be trying to revitalize sales of an existing product or service, which requires a launch to sustain revenues, attract new customers, and ward off competitors.

In either scenario, avoid limiting the product launch campaign to a single, big-bang event with no plan for follow-up. You are positioning the product for its life cycle. Successful product introductions are company-wide events. They must be the focus of your entire organization.

Setting the Stage for a Product Launch

Long before product launch happens, you need to spend time on pre-launch activities that build the opportunity base. This pre-launch research will provide insights on the validity of the product, the features it needs, pricing and packaging considerations, and so on. Think in terms of projected revenue (at 12 to 18 months after launch, for starters), the profits you will need to break even, and the potential return on your investment.

Front-end research and analysis is the process of gaining insight and collecting data that will shape the product launch campaign. You are not simply collecting information, but interpreting it. Avoid focusing simply on the launch – consider the product life-cycle in your planning. Chances are, the data you gather to support your launch campaign may be a year or more old by the time the actual product hits the market. In the words of the Great One – Hockey Legend Wayne Gretzky, make sure you are going where the puck will be, not where it is. Otherwise, your launch campaign may miss the mark.

Elements to research during data collection

Market-based

- Competition for your product or service
- Potential customers’ buying influences and attitudes
- Market readiness and demand for your product

Product-based

- Key applications, features and advantages (from the customer’s viewpoint)
- Service and support components your product will include
- Packaging considerations

External-based

- State of the economy – by Industry Sector, Area or Region
- Regulatory changes in your Industry
- Technological considerations (current and future)

Developing the Right Concept for Your Product

Creativity is essential to a product launch-but balance it with the sobering thought that the concept you choose will be critical to launching a product that must generate revenue. Avoid the temptation to be clever in your campaign-it could lose the audience, diminish your credibility or worse, be a source of entertainment.

A good theme for a product launch campaign focuses on the problem solved, not merely the product’s use. Just as important as choosing the right concept is selecting the right launch vehicles for your campaign. Consider media and PR, direct-response pieces, catalogs, e-mail communiqu├ęs, Web site promotions, industry guides, e-casts, and telemarketing. The vehicles you choose will depend on what works in your specific business and what your appetite and budget can tolerate.

Choosing Your Message

The essence of your whole campaign will be its message. The right message captures your audience’s attention, explains your new product or service, distinguishes it from its competition, creates action, and has the ability to perpetuate the theme of the campaign (for the product’s intended life). Themed campaigns tend to do better than product-focused ones. They can also be perpetuated for a longer life.

Your message must be expressed in the attitude, tone, and language of your intended customer. It must also speak to your product, and your product alone. Put your message through the logo test. If you can replace your company’s logo with your competitor’s logo, and the campaign message still makes sense, go back to the drawing board. Work at it until you get it right.

While You Are Waiting

While campaign materials are being produced, you can be readying your company for the formal launch. Use this time to talk to media sources, investors, and other interested parties. Create a written campaign action plan that describes key tasks you must complete, target dates for their completion, the resources you require, and how you will measure your progress.

Promote and publish early-stage successes for your new product frequently. Whenever you can demonstrate customer acceptance for the new product, it will breed confidence with your Target Audience including your internal company employees.

After the Launch

Done correctly, the work you put into developing a successful product launch will stay with your product for its entire sales life. But when the product reaches maturity, you may need to revisit this process, innovating new uses for the product, repackaging it, adding value, finding a different distribution mechanism, introducing new incentives, and so on to ensure that it continues to generate revenue.

Once you have mastered the process of a successful product launch, you can extend the marketability of any product and give it new life.

Your launch methodology can make or break you in the competitive business jungle.
Is your launch method keeping pace?

Are you confident that your upcoming launch is positioned for success?

Copyright 2007

Performance Marketing Group

Presentations: The Mystery of the Microphone

The main purpose of a microphone (mike) is straightforward – to amplify your voice. But that’s not the only reason for using one. An important reason is to prevent vocal strain. It’s surprising how often people shout into a microphone, when turning up the volume would have a more pleasing effect.

Effective use of a microphone requires some basic knowledge, awareness and experience. Unfortunately, too often these factors are not simultaneously in play when a microphone is in use. I’ve heard speakers, unfamiliar with the use of a mike use it incorrectly thereby detracting from their delivery or simply become flustered with the technology. Microphones are not complicated, but unfamiliarity with their operation can create problems for a presenter and embarrassment for, or harassment of the audience!

Firstly, when do you need one? There are 3 main determining factors – the size of the audience, the size of the room and the strength of your voice. Other factors include the length of your presentation, the room’s acoustics and background noise like air-conditioning. Logically, for an audience of 40 or less people in a small room a microphone may be unnecessary. If this is the case there is no point in using one. The bigger the room, the larger the audience and the longer the presentation the more need there will be for a microphone.

However, not all mike’s are created equal. Although there are some good deals around, price is a reasonable benchmark of quality. The same can be said for amplifiers or public address systems. No matter how good your voice is, it is unlikely to sound like much on a poor sound system. You should also consider the different microphone configurations – hand held (wired and cordless), on a mike stand (limiting your movement) or a headset. For example, a pickup is used to amplify a string instrument from a location very close to the strings. Comedians prefer hand held mike’s because they accommodate vocal variations which are part of a comedy act. Singer-guitarists may prefer a mike on a stand (or a headset) so that they can play the guitar and sing simultaneously. Speakers who use body language and gestures as part of their act like the headset, as it allows freedom of movement and consistently remains the same distance from the mouth. The same would apply to a singer pianist.

But the microphone provided at your event may not suit your presentation style. This possibility begs the question: Should you invest in your own?

I’ve been surprised to find that, in contrast to professional singers, most professional speakers I’ve met do not own a microphone. When one is needed, I almost always have mine with me because then at least I know that the front part of the system is top quality and I know exactly how it works. I use a Countryman headset with a Shure receiver and transmitter. It’s never, ever let me down. You may also invest in a battery tester. Only ever go on stage with fully charged batteries. There are few things more annoying for everyone than a sharp drop in volume due to instant power loss.

Experienced presenters and musicians will never use a microphone without a sound check. This confirms the overall sound, the desired volume settings and the compatibility of the microphone with the amplifier. This requires turning up early. If a receiver is part of the microphone kit, you will want to decide where to wear it so that it remains secure and does not create an embarrassing bulge on your person.

When coughing or clearing your throat, be careful not to do so directly into the mike or you’ll blast your audience clean out of their chairs. Practice speaking in a normal voice during the sound check. It’s not necessary to over project or shout – the mike is there to create amplification for you.

If you perform or speak to audiences regularly, microphones are an essential item in your kit, not optional. Get your own quality mike and learn to use it properly. You’ll look and sound more professional, and you’ll save your voice for the next day. Besides, the peace of mind you’ll have from using your own gear is priceless.

Kids’ Driving Experiences – The Perfect Present For Kids

For most kids, the opportunity to start driving has to wait until they reach an age where they can apply for their first license. Not any more, with a junior or kids driving experience children as young as twelve can get behind the wheel of a range of cars. With a kid’s driving experience your children can choose from a first drive in a Mini Cooper S to a dream drive in a supercar, a gift that will last in their memories for years to come.

Listed below are six kids driving experiences available in the UK:

Junior First Drive

Designed specifically for 12 – 16 year old kids, the junior first drive lets children get behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper S under the watchful eye of a qualified ADI instructor. On a private course, your child will get to learn the rudiments of driving in a fun yet safe environment.

Junior Second Drive

Having completed the junior first drive, your kids can now move on to the second drive, again in a Mini Cooper S, they will further hone their driving skills and at the end of the experience there is an optional theory test with questions taken from the current DVLA theory test.

Junior Third Drive

If your kids have completed the first and second drives they can now move on to the junior third drive. After a quick refresher it’s time for the Racing School practical test, the instructor will mark you on the same points included in a real driving test and to finish off the day it’s time to take to the track and do a lap of a real racing circuit.

Junior Fourth Drive

With the first three experiences now completed, your kids can move from the Mini Cooper S up to a BMW 3 Series mounted in a Scandinavian Cradle. Here they will learn how to control a skidding car and other valuable lessons that they will take with them when they take to the roads for real.

Kids Ferrari Experience

Let your children become the envy of their friends with a Junior Ferrari experience. With no prior experience necessary, your youngster will first learn the lines of the circuit in a Mini Cooper S, before taking the wheel of a Ferrari 360 Modena for seven miles of adrenaline filled fun, all under the watchful eye of a qualified instructor.

Kids Porsche Experience

As with the Junior Ferrari, your kids don’t need any previous experience to drive the awesome Porsche 911 Turbo. After learning the lines with your instructor in a Mini Cooper S, it’s on to the race track behind the wheel of this 189 mph supercar for seven miles of pure entertainment.

With gift vouchers available for all occasions a kid’s driving experience really is an unforgettable present that will linger in their memories for many years to come and will make them the envy of all their friends.

All kids driving experiences are conducted in a safe environment with a qualified ADI instructor present at all times.