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Market a New Product on Any Budget

Let the whole world know about your latest product launch, even on the tightest budget.
August 1, 2002

Bringing a new product to market is a major challenge for many entrepreneurs. Whether you're marketing software or an exercise video, your choice of tactics will be shaped by the size of your marketing budget and whom you're trying to reach. So this month, the focus is on ways to successfully launch a product-nationally, city by city, or in your own hometown-no matter your budget.

Suppose you owned a health club and decided to market your own exercise video. You could run cable TV spots nationally, in select cities or locally, where word-of-mouth from your members would fuel buzz. For an effective marketing mix, a media relations campaign targeting key editors and direct response print ads would complement the TV spots. Often, consumer magazines, such as Self, for example, offer reduced rates if your ad is for a product ordered by mail, and many city publications, like D magazine in Dallas, have lower rates for retail advertisers.

With a limited budget, success often comes from developing a wholesale marketing program that targets select catalogers or retail stores.

E-mail marketing could also be used to launch a computer game, for example. Outdoor billboards, magazine ads and place-based media that target young males-from posters in nightclubs ( to ads on stadium snack packs ( enhance the campaign.

But some products must be experienced by potential buyers firsthand. Consumer craft shows ( and expos, as well as trade shows for B2B marketers (, can help present your product in a stimulating way.

PR can also lay the groundwork for taking a local product to a national audience. Let's say you market gourmet brownies. A compelling story in a major magazine about your old family recipe could help you sell to stores nationwide. Smart PR and solid, creative thinking are investments of time, not money. And they can make things happen for you.

Your sales force needs critical customer information to make a sale, and Participate Enterprise software from Participate Systems Participate Systemsprovides answers in just seconds. Offering more than your standard contact information, the software gives salespeople real insight into customer relationships. For instance, salespeople can access details about how to deal with a particular customer who was either landed or lost. The software's "knowledge bank" integrates seamlessly with e-mail or a Web browser; pricing starts at $500 (street) per user. -Steve Cooper