HOW PROMOTIONS HELP TO INTRODUCE NEW PRODUCTS
A researcher did a study that concluded that TV advertising is not effective in getting people to switch brands. He claimed that TV ads just reassure people about the products they are already buying. While that is certainly a pessimistic view of TV advertising, you can still get more people to try a new brand with samples, premiums, and coupons than you can do with advertising.
You have to be confident and proud to offer a sample. This tactic tells people, in effect, that your product is good and that you believe they’ll like it, and keep buying it. That’s a powerful message.
Some sampling tactics you can use are:
Give away small samples.
Offer thirty-day free trial.
Give away retail-size product with the purchase of another product.
Offer free services, such as a free diagnostic check.
Set up demonstration areas where people can try a product out.
Give out samples on street corners, at conventions or trade shows, or in retail stores.
Run events, such as craft shows, seminars, and speeches. This is a favourite tactic of consultants.
Give away samples in return for endorsements. This is an excellent tactic for industrial suppliers.
Don’t think of a sample as something that is necessarily small.
Premiums are big business. Marketers use them because they work. Premiums put your name in front of customers so that they will remember it, and hopefully try your product.
There are four types of premiums:
Name recognition items.
Premium tied to the product or service.
A premium that is an incentive to buy.
Premiums for the distribution channel.
Magnets, pens, and calendars are just some of the premiums companies give away to get you to remember their names. These premiums are ideal for businesses that people don’t use often, such as insurance companies, real estate firms, dental offices, engineering services, or repair services.
Premiums tied to the product
Industrial suppliers will sometime give away premiums that show what their equipment can do. One machine tool manufacturer, for example, gave a bronze miniature cutting tool. The premium had an interesting shape, and it elicited a lot of comments.
Another smart use of a premium is a toy store that gives a free subscription to its video game newsletter to anyone who stops in to try out a new game.
Premiums that encourage people to buy
Other premiums can entice someone to buy one brand rather than another. For example, a store could offer a free can of shoe freshener or a free baseball or bat with the purchase of a pair of sports shoes.
Industrial manufacturers often offer accessory equipment or product extensions as premiums. Companies will often offer a seldom-ordered option as a premium to help customers realize the value of the accessory.
Distribution channel premiums
You can often get a product off to a fast start if you offer premiums for your distributor, manufacturers’ representatives, or your own salespeople. Dinners for two, weekend trips, cruises, monetary bonuses are all premiums that can motivate people to give a new product a little extra push.
Consumer coupons are a tactic most people are familiar with. Industrial companies can give away coupons too. Free sample evaluations, free trial periods, discounts on machinery maintenance supplies, or one-year free maintenance contracts are all offers industrial companies can make.
Holding down coupons costs
You have to be sure you are using coupons in a way that doesn’t cost you too much. You need to be sure that a coupon isn’t too expensive. If it is, you’d be better off using a sampling technique, which generally draws a bigger response. The best way to hold down coupon costs is to give something away you wouldn’t normally sell. A typical example is to buy a new suit and receive a free blouse. This is a tactic any company can use. Don’t give away a product people would normally buy, give away something that’s more of a frill.
You have to offer coupons to companies in a different way. Companies do not buy instantly, instead, they have to go through a requisitioning process that can take six months to two years. So you have to give a coupon to the requisitioner that expires in about twelve months. Then the requisitioner attaches it to the paperwork.
This coupon gives you an enormous advantage. It gives the requisitioner a reason to choose your product, and it also puts a deadline on submitting the order. Every industrial company has had orders delayed year after year because of budget restraints. You’ll get a lot fewer repeated delays if you put a deadline on a discount.
Try to run a promotion every time you introduce a new product. They increase your introduction to success dramatically. The tactics you can use are:
Name recognition items
Premiums tied to the product
Premiums that entice people to buy
Distribution channel promotions
Coupons or price discount offers
Watch competitors’ introductions and see what types of programs they run. Don’t be afraid to use another company’s tactics if it works.