Make your product memorable

If you had to name the most memorable new product launch of 2003, what would it be? According to the second annual Schneider & Associates Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey, co-sponsored by Stagnito Communications, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s launch of the new multi-colored $20 bill beat the products launched by consumer packaged goods companies last year.

The online survey of more than 1,000 consumers nationwide, conducted by InsightExpress, found that 75 percent of consumers are aware of the new $20 bill. Only three other products launched last year had an awareness rating higher than 50 percent, including Crest Night Effects (58 percent), Claritin OTC (54 percent) and Campbell’s Chunky M’m! M’m! Good To Go soup (51 percent). On the beverage side, consumers expressed a 46 percent awareness of V8 Splash Smoothies, 31 percent awareness of Michleob Ultra, and 26 percent awareness of Dannon Frusion smoothies.

The U.S. government had the advantage of a captive audience that had no choice but to use the new $20 bill. For the other products in the survey, there was a large discrepancy between awareness and actual purchase. Awareness ranked anywhere from 58 to 26 percent, while rates of actual purchase were found to be 17 percent or less.
In addition to finding the products most remembered by U.S. consumers, the survey delved into the reasons people try new products. Word of mouth was found to be the strongest form of advertising 55 percent of respondents indicated they try new products based on a recommendation by a friend or family member. Television advertising is a close second, with 53 percent saying they are influenced by TV. Store advertisements and displays influenced 48 percent of decisions, and free samples were effective 46 percent of the time if consumers were mailed a sample and 42 percent if the samples were provided in the store. Coupons and discounting were less effective, with 37 and 36 percent of consumers, respectively, saying they were likely to try a product based on a discount.
Television was especially important for beverages, leading the list of reasons respondents tried V8 Splash. Thirty-eight percent said they tried the product because they saw it on TV, 27 percent bought it because they needed it, 23 percent received a coupon, and 17 percent tried it based on a word-of-mouth recommendation.
Purchasers of Claritin OTC and Dawn Complete, however, were influenced more by their need of the product than by advertising. Forty-six percent of those who bought Claritin and 44 percent of those who bought Dawn were driven by need as opposed to 31 percent who saw Claritin ads and 42 percent who saw Dawn ads on TV.
Through our research, we found that the best new product launches use a combination of marketing communications strategies, including advertising, consumer education, special events, sampling, partnerships, endorsements, media relations and coupons to create consumer awareness of the product and its benefits, says Joan Schneider, president of Schneider & Associates.
On a related note, Beverage Industry is committed to helping you increase the odds of both product awareness and actual purchase. Our fifth annual Beverage Industry New Products Conference is scheduled for June 15-16 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas. The conference promises a line-up of informative speakers as well as a chance to create a product concept of your own that will be featured in the magazine. Feel free to contact me if you’d like more information about the conference or more results from the Schneider & Associates survey.