A global research study has highlighted new insights around the launch marketing stategies for new products. The research was commissioned by launch marketing specialist agency Five by Five, interviewing more than 730 senior marketers across the US, UK and Australia.
Sales promotion ranked second among the most important channels, with more than half of marketers (55 per cent) citing it, with email campaigns coming in third (53 per cent). TV advertising only ranked sixth, also behind press and PR, suggesting that ‘traditional’ above the line ad campaigns are no longer holding sway when it comes to building awareness for new products and services.
According to this new study, one factor in the growth of social as the go-to channel for launches may be the faster timeframes facing marketers: eight out of ten (81 per cent) say that the average time between the idea first originating and launching the product has shrunk over the past five years. In addition, 70 per cent say they usually have only six months or less to prepare for a product launch.
It also found that around two-thirds (64 per cent) use social listening to support their new product development. This proportion is highest in the retail sector (72 per cent), second highest in the entertainment sector (68 per cent) and by far the lowest in financial services (51 per cent).
Furthermore, around half of marketers (46 per cent) believe the biggest benefit of social channels lies in generating awareness before the product actually launches.
Matt Lawton, managing director at Five by Five, commented, “Insights from each category indicate there’s a big focus placed on social media pre and post launch and that’s an exciting challenge because it requires communications plans to be flexible.”
The study also asked marketers how they feel launch marketing has changed over the past five years. In addition to the tighter timeframes involved, around two-thirds (63 per cent) now think launches cost more, although more than half (57 per cent) believe the process is less difficult than it used to be and a colossal 88 per cent believe they are now able to make better-informed decisions about their product launches.
Meanwhile, three-quarters of marketers (72 per cent) think the creative ideas around product launches have become braver over the past five years, rising to 97 per cent among marketers in the travel sector.
Also, nine out of ten (87 per cent) believe launch campaigns are now more measurable. This proportion is highest among the luxury goods (91 per cent), healthcare (91 per cent) and FMCG (90 per cent) sectors.
Larissa Rembisz, client director at Five by Five added, “Measurability brings insight and that’s both a blessing and a curse for marketers who feel that effectiveness comes at a higher cost and under greater time constraints. It’s great news for our industry that braver work is widely regarded as the solution.”
Unsurprisingly, eight out of ten (80 per cent) think launch marketing is completely different to other forms of marketing and requires specialist handling.
According to the findings, almost seven in ten firms (69 per cent) use soft launching or pilots to support new product or service development. Soft launching specifically is used by more than half (53 per cent) of marketers, rising to 63 per cent among technology brands and 60 per cent for FMCG businesses.
In addition, the three factors most likely to threaten the successful launch of a new product or service are a lack of launch budget (selected by 45 per cent of marketers), ineffective marketing communications (40 per cent) and slow processes (38 per cent). The proportion of senior marketers’ time spent on launch activity is generally variable but high, typically between 30 per cent and 80 per cent. As a consequence, many cite the need for additional resource around launch.
Lawton concluded, “Senior marketers find launches to be all consuming in both the planning and execution phases. The complexity involved requires close agency alignment and effective communication. There’s a lot on the line.”
To download Five by Five’s 2017 Launch Marketing Report, click here.