Marketing, advertising and PR are each used in varying degrees when promoting a new product. The extent to which each is deployed is generally based on the nature of the product, its target audience and the level of awareness that already exists. But ultimately the three should work effectively together.
Messages and corporate style should be constant regardless of the medium and timing between the three should be coordinated for the best affect.
PR is generally the most appropriate tool if your product is in some way newsworthy or topical; if you want to reach beyond your existing core audience; if there is hostility towards the product; if your product is unique, or if it has some other potential to create excitement.
Generally speaking, PR comes before an advertising campaign, as the main function of product PR to create the right atmosphere for a sale. This might mean alerting potential customers to the need for the product, or perhaps using a current issue to demonstrate a new trend.
Opportunities for creating press coverage around a new product might include seasonal opportunities (such as promoting the benefits of thick carpets at the beginning of winter) or links to consumer trends (drawing parallels, for example, between your product and a product featured on a popular television programme). Data Monitor and other research organisations publish consumer trends on a regular basis, which provide opportunities to attach your product to a need or trend that has been identified.
You may wish to commission your own survey to tie in with a launch of a product. A poll of 1000 adults can cost under £1,000 and can produce statistics on a topic of your choice, broken down into categories such as geographical regions, age groups, household tenure and exposure to the internet. This data can bring about some very interesting news stories.
Alternatively, existing facts and figures such as market research and customer comment can unearth interesting issues and trends. Sales statistics can be invaluable – always be on the look out for the biggest order or the fastest selling product. Prestige orders can make interesting reading as can problem-solving orders, unusual orders and sales successes. Human interest is key – aim to include quotes and photography your subject with the product.
New companies, new products, new services and new sales approaches all have the potential to create news coverage in certain publications.Awards won, company growth and new appointments are an opportunity to promote a specific product in the context of the company’s overall success. At the same time, this level of ‘corporate PR’ helps to create a generally favourable image of the company, in the eyes of both investors and consumers – something that will undoubtedly benefit the sales of your product although it may not be immediately obvious.
A combination of PR, marketing and advertising tactics working together is ideal both in terms of providing a consistent message, and dealing with a problem or opportunity in a cost effective way. The most important features of a good promotional campaign regardless of the tactics used are to thoroughly understand the product, the market and the consumer; look for anything that is unique or of potential interest; to find interesting ways to capture your customers’ attention and convince them of the value of the product.