Mastering the Launch of A New Consumer Tech Product

August 9, 2012 // By: // No Comments

Consumer Electronics     

I recently finished reading  Walter Isaacson’s excellent biography on Steve Jobs (I know…I’m a bit behind on my book list), and although many marvel at how Jobs transformed the computing, music, and publishing industries, the book reminded me that he also transformed the marketing industry.

While consumers everywhere yearn for the latest iPhone, iPad or other Apple product, marketers aspire to hold an “Apple-esque” new product press event.

My clients have often asked me for this exact thing, so I thought I’d share some of the important questions we ask ourselves when developing the launch of a new consumer tech product:

Is the product new for the company or new for the industry/world?

The first thing we think about when considering a press event for our clients is, “Will media interrupt their busy day to attend this event?” Any businessperson knows how hard it can be to tear yourself away from your desk for a few hours to go to lunch or a conference. Members of the media face the same challenge, so your event must be something they feel they can’t miss.

Does the timing work to announce the new product at a relevant trade show?

In the event the answer to the first question is “No, it’s not new to the world,” we might consider the possibility of launching the product at a trade show or industry conference. CES is the obvious choice for most technology companies, but smaller, more targeted industry events can also make sense. Regardless of size, we want to make sure the event is one that media attend. There are many trade shows and industry conferences that media do not attend and that do not drive publicity.  For the key trade shows that media do attend, this can be a great opportunity to release news since the media will inherently be covering “what’s happening” at the conference. Make sure you are part of that coverage.

What’s more important — a big splash or continued momentum?

The great thing about press events or trade shows is interacting with a lot of media all at once. But if you want to stretch your media coverage over a particular time frame, you might consider offering an exclusive to one influential reporter. That reporter’s article can then feed other media, leading to coverage over several weeks versus all your coverage in one week. Both strategies have their advantages, and it often depends on the newsworthiness of the product and goes back to the first question we ask ourselves.

Where should we host it?

There are a few options here. While NYC reigns as the media epicenter, Silicon Valley remains the home of technology. If your company is based in Silicon Valley, it makes sense to host the event in your hometown — many media outlets also have tech reporters based in California to stay on the pulse of all technology. If your company is based somewhere else in the country and you’re not making the announcement at a trade show, New York City may be your best bet. You can also consider live streaming your event so that reporters and bloggers around the country can tune in.

While there are a host of other issues to consider when planning a new product launch — including its creative execution — asking yourself these questions will help structure your approach and get you started to building buzz the Hunter way.

About the Author

Melissa Todisco

Melissa Todisco has been with Hunter PR since 2003. She has a extensive consumer product experience, working primarily on home, lifestyle and consumer health brands, with a particular focus on targeting women and moms.
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