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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.

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This story appears in the August 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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.

  • $100,000 to $150,000: Retail shelf space is hard to acquire, and new products that go directly to retail often languish on store shelves. Cable TV is emerging as the best-and sometimes, the most affordable-way to market a new product prior to its retail arrival. Sixty-second direct response spots typically feature products with visual appeal that are sold for the impulse price of $19.95. You can run a national cable TV campaign for as little as $5,000 per month, excluding production, according to Thompson Everett Inc., a buying firm in Glen Allen, Virginia. And when cable TV is used in combination with other media, you can create a well-rounded campaign and build sales and enough consumer demand to place your product in stores.

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.

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