The biggest consumer trade show is over (with dates already announced for 2015) and by all accounts it was a tremendous success. New products were lauded over by media and buyers alike, resulting in a slew of blog posts on highly trafficked sites and pre-orders with key retailers. Everyone at the office can pat themselves on the back for a job well done. But now a month has passed and unforeseen manufacturing delays have made forecasted shipping dates seem overly ambitious. So how can you keep from losing momentum and continue to engage media, buyers and customers?
1) Utilize Social Media – Face it, there is no better direct line of communication with key stakeholders. Social media can be used to provide regular progress updates, showcase product developments and even gain consumer insight into packaging design, feature sets and more. Not to mention the ability to incentivize customers to pre-order on your site while also devising creative initiatives that will bring new potential customers into your social channels, creating a network of brand advocates ready to share your new product. Additionally, your social media presence is often tied to brand perception and sentiment. Are you giving your audience a reason to engage?
2) Air Freight Samples for Non-Published Strategic Reviews – Having an experienced independent reviewer test your new product prior to sending to media is mission critical. This non-published review will provide critical feedback that will help guide your PR strategy. Does the product have shortcomings? Do we need to change the messaging or positioning? What are the key advantages over the competition? How does the feedback affect publications and reviewers that might receive a sample?
3) Seed Key Long Lead & Marquee Media – Provided the non-published review was positive, consider seeding samples with influential media in advance of retail availability. This will give media time to conduct a thorough evaluation of the product so the publishing of their reviews coincide when retailers begin selling your new product.
4) Availability Press Release – Remember all of the amazing media coverage that hit when you debuted your product at the show? Once your product is ready to go to market, distributing an availability press release is like launching your product a second time. Make sure to tout retail launch partners in the press release, this will provide them with additional exposure and streamline the sales cycle.
We get it – debuting a new product is like bringing a child into the world. It’s exciting, scary, and you can’t wait to hold it in your arms. We also know that Murphy’s Law is more prevalent in manufacturing that virtually any other industry. But with the right strategy, even manufacturing delays can turn into brand-building opportunities.