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Finding The Right Media Mix: Eighteen Media Tools To Consider For Your Next Product Launch


These days, there are a lot of options available when it comes to marketing during a new product launch. Dan Adams, author of an informative (and free) new e-book, shares eighteen media
tools that are worth your consideration.


Getting ready for a new product launch used to be so simple: Train the sales force, build the trade booth, have the agency create an ad… maybe send out some direct mail pieces. But the rise of the Internet has given way to a lot more choices… and the list is expanding every year. To complicate matters, the old-school type of marketing job that was slow-moving and contemplative is a thing of the past. And according to Dan Adams, all of that means that it’s very easy to overlook a critical product launch medium.

“Make no mistake: The media you choose for your product launch could be the difference between getting cheers or yawns,” warns Adams, author of the new, free 26-page e-book 12 New Rules of B2B Product Launch ( www.b2bproductlaunch.com/ebook) and president of Advanced Industrial Marketing, Inc.

“That’s why it’s very important to familiarize yourself with a wide range of marketing tools, as well as with what your particular audience is most likely to respond to in a product launch.” (Readers can download a complimentary copy of the e-book at www.b2bproductlaunch.com/ebook, no charge or registration required.)

Adams speaks from experience. In fact, his company’s product launch training encourages clients to consider 18 types of media — nine online and nine traditional. “It would take an entire book to do each of these marketing tools proper justice, but simply learning what they are is a valuable first step,” he says. “As you continue to read, try to stash this list away in the back of your mind so that you’re at least thinking about all of them when it comes time for your next product launch.”

Read on to learn about Adams’s top 18 types of marketing tools to use during a product launch:

ONLINE MEDIA TOOLS

“Compared to traditional media, online media makes it easier for you to measure product launch results and generate low-cost leads,” explains Adams. “Most important, though, it makes you ‘findable.’ In 75 to 80 percent of B2B transactions today, the prospect finds the supplier — not the other way around. And no, those prospects aren’t looking in a Rolodex for your sales rep’s phone number… they’re doing a Google search.”

1. Online Advertising:
You can pay per click (PPC) with search engine ads or contextual ads (displayed next to related articles). Make your best product launch efforts first with news releases and organic search marketing… and then test with a small budget here.

2. News Release: Done well, this is incredibly powerful for directing Google searchers to your website. Send out news releases full of content that will appeal to readers (and editors) of online magazines, journals, and blogs. Include both a link to your website and the keywords your prospects will likely use in their Google searches. When prospects search, they’ll find articles that lead them to your website. And remember: This product launch tool is all about creating useful content from your prospects’ perspective, not yours.

3. White Paper:
These should be rich in useful content and should be used as “offers” to develop leads early in the buying cycle. Make your white paper or technical paper four to six pages long, and ensure it’s completely non-commercial until the last page.

4. E-mail Marketing: The twenty-first century counterpart of direct mail, this is especially helpful when you have hundreds or thousands of prospects in your product launch target market. There’s stiff competition for your prospects’ inbox attention, so consider getting help from a specialist here. It’s definitely a science!

5. Online Presentation: Delivering slideshow and video content through your website is a great way to attract attention — for those interested in learning about a new subject area—and to persuade prospects that your solution is simply wonderful. Done well, this is also one of the most powerful ways for you to build credibility.

6. Social Media: This is still emerging as an effective medium for B2B, but it’s already proving helpful when suppliers take the time to build long-term, meaningful conversations with prospects. Some media, e.g., LinkedIn, are proving more appropriate than others for B2B marketing.

7. Webinar: This is one of the best ways to connect with hard-to-reach prospects (e.g., executives and marketing professionals). As with e-mail marketing, there’s a science to this… so consider working with a firm that specializes in setting up and hosting webinars.

8. Web Microsite:
This is part of your corporate website, focused on the needs of one audience — your target market. It should be customized for the prospects of your specific product launch campaign, with the rest of your online marketing directing them here.

9. Search Marketing:
This is everything you do to rank high in Google searches, and it should also be the glue that holds your online product launch campaign together. It all starts with understanding the keywords your prospects will use… which should start during customer interviews in the front end of product development.

TRADITIONAL MEDIA TOOLS

“While online marketing is powerful, it’s premature to abandon traditional media,” notes Adams. “Prior relationships with suppliers influence B2B buyers in nearly 90 percent of all transactions… and many of these traditional media are great for building these relationships.”

1. Print Advertising: This is getting less popular relative to online media (which allow you to measure click-through rates, page views, etc.). But it’s still helpful for keeping your brand familiar and for popularizing product launch keywords for online searches.

2. Press Kit: This collection of pre-packaged materials—sent to members of the media—builds credibility with editors and journal writers. It helps them tell interesting stories about you and your product… great for creating awareness in a market with many buyers.

3. Print Article: Articles and technical papers in journals now end up online as well, so fill your article full of well-planned keywords and web links to draw prospects to your website.

4. Direct Mail:
This can still be an effective product launch tool, especially as your competitors switch their focus to digital inboxes. Studies show many Internet users have a printed publication in their hands while they are searching online.

5. Trade Speech:
A well-delivered presentation conveys lots of complex information, and to an undistracted audience (whereas distractions abound on the Internet!). Consider professional help to avoid “death by PowerPoint,” rehearse hard, and try using tag-team delivery.

6. Trade Show: These remain highly influential, but they are also time consuming and costly. Make sure your staff is trained and your lead follow-up is strong, or you’ll waste time and money faster here than anywhere else.

7. Road Show:
This is a multi-city tour with your technical staff. It’s a great way to nurture leads if your target market has hundreds or thousands of prospective buyers.

8. Customer Seminar:
This is similar to a road show, but instead, your staff visits one big customer at a time, using multiple presentations. The customer seminar is an excellent way to reach key decision makers and leave a big impression during your product launch.

9. Sales Visit:
Typically, this is still the most effective — and expensive — product launch approach. Use a disciplined lead nurturing program to make each sales call count. And spend the time and money on great sales tools and sales training to make your sales force look good.

“Ultimately, the right combination of marketing tools to use during your product launch will depend on what you’re offering and who your audience is — there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this,” Adams concludes. “To give yourself a leg up, ask prospects this simple question during the interviews you (hopefully) use when designing your product: ‘How does your company learn about new ideas?’ This will help you understand your target market’s media preferences — trade shows, seminars, websites, e-mail, and so forth — so you can optimize your media mix.”
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