Marketing to consumers offers a brilliant challenge: You know you have an amazing product. And if only you could get people to try it, they would love it, you think.
What many marketers don't understand is that the way you furnish a product to consumers is super important for their initial hands-on experience. When done in an innovative and unexpected fashion, it provides context, builds equity and communicates value.
Here are three effective strategies for launching a product and placing it in the hands of potential early adopters:
1. Surprise and delight. People are busy. They have full schedules, plus a range of "screens" continually competing for their attention. If you want to capture a piece of their time, you need to be clever and engaging. For instance, Coca-Cola's Happiness Machine and Honest Tea's Honest Cities campaign stopped consumers in their tracks to sample products and fueled a wave of social-media chatter with videos that went viral.
Uber showed consumers how easy its app was to use by creating a series of campaigns in which people ordered (and had to sign up to do so) something fun to be delivered to the office. Uber's ice cream truck went global and a subsequent campaign, Uber Kitten, delivered kittens to offices in Seattle, San Francisco and New York in honor of National Cat Day, raising funds for the SPCA.
2. Borrow equity. We are known by the company we keep. A company can communicate volumes about a new brand -- or a refreshing of an old one -- simply by associating it with brands that already have equity with the targeted audience. To introduce Lincoln's new MKZ to a target of discerning tastemakers in L.A. (a notoriously jaded market when it comes to cars), we created an exclusive event series structured around the brand's pillars of design, architecture, food, photography and fashion.
We leveraged influencers in each segment to create engaging content and invite their networks, seamlessly integrating the car into the experience. A concierge service offering test drives at homes and offices the following week gave attendees an opportunity to learn more about the car and engage more deeply with the brand -- on their terms.
3. Enlist the friend-to-friend network. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey in 2012, 92 percent of respondents in 56 different countries said they trusted word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of communication. An introduction to a new brand from a trusted friend is incredibly powerful and can significantly compress the time from awareness of a product to its trial and then adoption.
This is also true when a product is related to a sensitive topic, such as family health. To introduce German-based Bionorica’s Sinupret for Kids Syrup in the U.S., one of the key tactics of our multi-pronged campaign was to engage influencer moms in key markets and provide them tools to share their discovery with friends. This resulted in more than 135,000 passionate advocates who further spread the word.