Marketing Communications For A Successful Product Introduction, Part 2

by  Joyce Jensch

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Public Relations is often referred to as "free advertising", but it actually performs a function that is separate and distinct, complementing rather than overlapping the advertising role. In this program, PR will be used not only to announce ongoing "news" but also strategically to extend and complete the picture of what makes the company unique.

Press releases, optimally two to three per month, will be sent to industry publications and broadcast over business news wires to elevate the company's profile. The content of these messages will be that "the company is doing an extraordinary amount of work identifying and developing its capabilities." Many of the initial releases will convey the emerging growth in people, technology and partnerships.

Technical articles based on newly developed or enhanced products will be used to convey the company's expertise in these areas. For example, an article focusing on the development of advanced product design for the US semiconductor equipment market would emphasize the company's efforts in providing locally developed products.

The credibility gained is better than any other form of promotion. It is like an endorsement or customer testimonial from the publication. Writing press releases and articles doesn't cost very much, just the time to write them.
Review of editorial content of the leading industry magazines will be conducted to determine appropriateness of placement of both articles and advertising. Editors are very eager to have articles written which provide insight into new business relationships and technology advancements.

Distribution of the releases should be on the company's letterhead, have a consistent summary of the company's background (boiler plate) and provide contact information. When possible, photos of people, equipment or facilities should be provided with the release. This also enhances the possibility the release will be used.

SALES LITERATURE AND COLLATERAL MATERIAL

A common term for the promotional package provided to the sales force is "Pitch Pak." Some of the material it might contain includes: Corporate Background Information—a corporate brochure defining the core competencies and background should be developed. The "life" of this piece is typically 18 months. It should effectively reflect the company's objectives and resource capabilities. The object here is to give the salesperson something to create a rapid image as to your company's credibility.

Product Brochures—detailed product sheets should be produced for all existing products. These should be professionally prepared and focus on the benefits of your product. You may want to make this information available in print as well as on a CD for use by field sales. It should also be posted on the website.

Technical Literature and Application Notes—this provides the technical people in the prospect account with solid information to know how the product is to be used. In presenting it, the salesperson will be able to find our what is on the customer's mind and convert the advantages to specific benefits.

Product Specifications, Descriptions and Warranties—these provide information for the salesperson and the prospective customer to determine "fit".

Installation and Operation Summary
—this again is for the technical personal but should not be in significant detail. You do not want them to find something to say "no" to before they have adequate information.

All of the contents of the Pitch Pak should be designed to work together so it can be assembled to make an effective proposal tailored to the customer. With standard pieces already in place, the salesperson can concentrate on the real unique aspects of the account.

USE OF ELECTRONIC MEDIA: WEB SITE, LINKS & MAILINGS

Included in the area of product literature is the continuous development and upgrade of your company's website. The basic objectives of a website should be:

    1.) Provide a corporate-quality online presence.
    2.) Enable prospective customers to register for news and information about the company's products.
    3.) Provide a venue for posting press releases online.
    4.) Provide a framework for the continuous growth of the website.

The website should contain:

    1.) Your Company's Home page
    2.) Mission Statement and Product Launch Section.
    3.) Press Room
    4.) Product Introduction
    5.) Contact Us Page
    6.) Recruiting Page (when applicable)

Registering the website with direct links to industry buyer's guides and publications is a good way to gain additional exposure. Links could be made to Semiconductor International, Solid State Technology, MICRO, and Semiconductor Magazines.

Electronic mailings may also be used to promote products. E-mail address lists can be purchased from leading publications and data based sources. Professional services can be employed to create effective e-mail campaign and to track responses.

Due to limitations in the budget, advertising in and on electronically formatted venues will replace print advertising for the duration of this Marketing Communications Plan. Future print advertising will be considered in industry trade publications.

TRADE SHOW-TECHNICAL EXIBITIONS

The largest international trade conference in the semiconductor equipment industry, SEMICON WEST is held annually. Because of the number of exhibitors the show is divided between two locations, San Francisco and San Jose. Traditionally, San Francisco's Moscone Center hosts the Front–End Equipment and Suppliers while San Jose's exhibitor's are in the Test, Assembly and Packaging Area. This semiconductor equipment supplier serves both markets and will participate in both shows.

Because the majority of the "target" market will attend the Moscone venue, the budget will reflect the creation of a 40 X 40 exhibit booth at that location. The booth will contain the company's products that are being introduced at the show. As part of this product launch and promotion, a visually appealing video will be created for use in the booth. A pre-show direct mailer will also be planned to invite prospective customers to the booth. A mailing list of approximately 8,000 pre-registered attendees who are included in the "target" audience will be purchased.

For the San Jose location, the company will maintain a smaller presence in a 20-foot booth. Graphics of the equipment along with text highlighting their applications and benefits will be used. Sales as well as technical representatives from the company will be available at both locations.

The key to a successful product introduction and promotion is planning. The process begins well before the equipment is completed. Commitments for booth space, advertising space and collateral material should be planned well in advance of the actual "product introduction".

‹‹ Joyce Jensch
[About the Author]

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