When To Announce a New Consumer Product

Is it acceptable to begin creating consumer awareness for a new consumer product before it is available at the retail level?

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By Jennifer Manocchio

Some companies don’t want to put the cart before the horse, while others take advantage of the opportunity to create buzz prior to a product’s actual availability (think Apple iPhone). While not all products are as innovative as the iPhone nor do all companies have the luxury of iPhone budgets, there are clear benefits to conducting publicity and media relations– in addition to a wide range of complementary marketing strategies – prior to retail distribution (assuming of course that early disclosure will not create issues).

Reaching out to retailers, buyers, potential investors and consumers prior to a product’s official launch can help build awareness, interest and excitement.  Both traditional media coverage and an online presence will help set the stage and get the conversation started, exposing market expectations and allowing for last minute adjustments if needed.

Hain Celestial and Martha Stewart, for example, used publicity in February of this year to announce their partnership to create a new line of products, Martha Stewart Clean .  Eleven months later they announced the new cleaning products line will be available at Home Depot in January 2010.  The news will have floated around the industry, the Internet and the media for a full year before the line is actually available at the retail level.

Of course, it is essential the early announcements are not made so soon in advance of a product’s launch that the media, retailers, buyers, consumers, etc. forget by the time the product is unveiled.  And equally important, the information shared must be sufficient to generate and maintain interest over a given period of time.

Here’s the bottom line: if you have a good story to tell, and you are able and willing to effectively “share” with the marketplace prior to an official launch date, there can be distinct advantages.

To find out more about how to achieve national media coverage and leverage your publicity and social marketing efforts to increase retail distribution, contact Jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.

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