Most of us are familiar with the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest hosted by snack giant Frito Lay. The unique program gave consumers the chance to pitch original ideas for potato chip flavors. Once the submissions were down to the top few, the public had the opportunity to taste the products and vote for their favorite. The winning flavor earned the person who submitted it one million dollars, and the potato chip landed on retailers’ shelves.
Most companies launching a product may not have the resources to pull off such an initiative. But the impact Frito Lay made, before the final product was even available, was huge. In fact, according to a Wharton School case study, in the first contest, stores sold out of the inventory of samples in just two hours. And the four million people who voted that year more than tripled the next, topping out at 14 million!
If your company is smaller or in a different industry, this product launch example may not seem completely relevant. But the truth is, any business can glean wisdom and actionable ideas from Frito-Lay’s flavorful campaign. Perhaps the most helpful is incorporating highly-engaging promo staff.
Why Promo Staff Are a Must When Launching a Product
The Marketing Research Association (MRA) reports “that American families, on average, repeatedly buy the same 150 items.” These purchases make up “as much as 85 percent of their household needs.” This leads to the next logical conclusion; the report also notes the challenge in influencing consumers to choose items outside of their norm. One might believe that a bag of biscuits-and-gravy-flavored potato chips is a hard sell. Yet, Frito-Lay showed it can be done.
The trick (or strategy) is engaging consumers in the right way at the right times. An easy and proven way to do this is through promo staff. In fact, Frito-Lay used brand ambassadors to encourage people to sample the new flavors and cast their votes. And the right promo staff can execute any number of event and experiential marketing activities, which are becoming more critical to the vitality of a business.
A Forbes article gets to the heart of driving brand loyalty by emphasizing the “different approach” marketers must take in “reaching and keeping their customers.” You must “make emotional connections in the simplest ways possible.” And “that means treating every touch point with your customers like a face-to-face conversation.” Why not hold true face-to-face conversations as often as possible to make those connections and ultimately, sales? Professional promo staff capitalize on these valuable moments.
4 Ways Promo Staff Lead to Product Launch Success
Here are 4 touch points in which promo staff can create an emotional connection and boost your chance of success when launching a product.
To get all-important feedback.
A survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal found that companies with the most success in product development kept in regular contact with customers throughout development. This makes staying in front of your target consumers and collecting feedback before roll-out is a good practice.[Tweet “Launching a product? Emotional connections must be made for initial and ongoing success.”]
Consider hosting a preview event to discuss your plans with consumers. Or activate an experiential marketing event to showcase your progress and allow consumers to get hands-on with your product. No matter what avenue your choose to engage consumers, always ask your guests questions. Their opinions can either validate your strategy or allow you to correct issues before they result in costly mistakes or misfires. They can assist in crafting key product messages and identifying differentiators, which are critical at product launch.
Professional promo staff have the personality and skills to interact with consumers and get important product answers and feedback. They can provide entertainment to make your guests’ time at your event enjoyable and worthwhile.
To create suspense or build hype.
We don’t have to tell you that Apple is king at creating suspense and building hype prior to product launch. The tech leader has found tremendous success in “getting bloggers and other thought leaders on board” early. They suggest working with the media to do so. But for companies that may not have the connections Apple does, and even those that do, follow this lead and consider hosting events for thought leaders. Making personal connections with this critical group can go a long way. This is particularly true when you enlist capable promo staff to show these important individuals some love.
Those with slimmer budgets could consider using a street team. This type of grassroots marketing puts brand ambassadors in front of your customers where they live, work or play. Your promo staff can share just enough detail in a short period of time to get people excited about your soon-to-launch product.
To educate consumers.
Nielsen reports that 85% of new products crash. And according to the Harvard Business Review, this can be attributed to “five fatal flaws.” One of these flaws is the lack of consumer education.
Your company can mitigate this problem by getting in front of consumers and telling them exactly what they need to know. Promo staff can conduct demonstrations and share key messages so consumers are clear as to what your product does and its benefits. A reputable and experienced event staffing agency can facilitate training so your core team can focus on their primary responsibilities.
In short, promo staff can help protect your new product’s future and ensure your brand’s integrity by giving people the information they need to become loyal customers.
To keep the momentum.
Many companies are wildly successful when launching their product but fail to maintain the momentum. Often this happens when brands fail to maintain a necessary emotional connection, which we know face-to-face conversations build.
To create brand loyalty, your event and experiential marketing efforts do not have to be elaborate. A thank you event that features prizes, discounts or giveaways can go a long way in showing customer appreciation and keeping their interest. For more complex products, such as technology, provide demonstrations to share tips and tricks that’ll make users’ lives easier. Or offer a mobile help center that provides consumers with continuing education and technical support surrounding their devices.
The most critical need for any of these programs: promo staff. Your staff or product specialists must be genuine in personality and knowledgeable on your product or service. This will go a long way to ensure your company, in launching a product and sustaining its growth, is among the fortunate few that find success.
Since 1999, brands big and small have partnered with EPS when launching a product and keeping consumers engaged. Our promo staffing services assist clients at every critical step to help ensure goals are met. Contact us to discuss your product launch or any consumer-facing initiative.