Promoting new products – Dos and Don’ts
Answer a quick question: What high-tech company revamped multiple product lines at a major event back in September 2007?
I completely understand if you answered Apple. Apple has been all over the news back in September 2007, but it only updated one of its four product lines: the iPod.
The answer I was looking for was Hewlett Packard (HPQ), who bundled up 39 notebooks, desktops, monitors, handhelds, TVs, and other miscellaneous consumer products, shipped them into New York City for the beginning of Fashion Week, and introduced the lot under the theme "Your Life is the Show" at Skylight Studios. They brought in tennis star Serena Williams, skateboarder Shawn White, Supermodel Petra Nemcova, and a host of others. The new HP print spokesperson, Gwen Stefani, wasn't there, but it might have been only due to a scheduling conflict.
That's not a product introduction; that's a trade show. And based upon the press coverage and reaction to the initiative, it appears to have been a complete waste of money. Apple got thousands of news stories written about its event. HP? About 66.
Now make no mistake, this was professionally executed. It was just the marketing strategy that was a disaster.
So what did HP do that was so wrong? HP's introduction fell flat because it:
• Didn't identify a target audience. HP lumped business systems like workstations in with consumer-oriented products like electronic picture frames in the same event. Now imagine you are the CIO of Proctor & Gamble. Would you allocate an evening of your valuable time to go hear Shawn White boast about how great HP's consumer products are? Not a chance.
• Lumped too many products together. No attendee is going to remember 39 products presented at the same event; our brains just don't work that way. Rather than narrowing down the focus of the event to a few things it wanted to promote, it diluted its story so much that reporters were left to...