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Three Tips for Successful New Product Intro

David Taub passed away in November, the co-founder of Palm Bay International. The firm was responsible for bringing Pinot Grigio wine to the United States and making it the top-selling Italian wine. There were a couple key actions that made that product launch into the U.S. market successful.

Pinot Gris wine has been available in Italy for centuries. The first key step in the U.S. success was market research. Mr. Taub identified that the variety would likely be accepted and enjoyed by American consumers because it was just right for the American taste – crisper and more fruity than the already popular soave bolla. In tests they found it ‘easy to drink’ and ‘customer-friendly’.

The second key step was customer acquisition. How would they get Americans in their target to try it? The vineyard happened to be named Cavit (ca-VEET), not far from Cavett, as in Dick Cavett. So Mr. Taub convinced the vineyard to allow them to mispronounce their name in the U.S. marketing, and then they secured Dick Cavett as a spokesperson – a bridge to the target market. The tagline was “Ask for Cavit, as in Cavett”.

With Dick Cavett’s help they grew sales of the Cavit brand from zero to over 500,000 cases per year within 2 years, most of it Pinot Grigio. The firm has grown sales to over 2,000,000 cases per year by 2010. Mr. Taub had done the research and then found a good marketing bridge to the target market in Dick Cavett. The rest is history.

So how can you be more successful with new product launches? We have talked on this topic previously, but here are three more ways to look at it, focused on customer acquisition for CPG or other markets.

These ideas work with new products in new markets and existing products in new markets.

1. Find SOMEONE who the target customer KNOWS. Leverage that person’s credibility to gain access to your target customer. Mr. Taub found Dick Cavett for the Cavit brand. Today you see a variety of stars being used to be a bridge to their fans including Lebron James for Samsung and just in the past few weeks Kim Kardashian for a milkshake franchise in Bahrain. It may be too early on both of these to determine their precise impact, especially the latter, where Ms. Kardasian has created a stir amongst hardline Islamists in that country. All publicity is good publicity, or ???

2. Find SOMEWHERE that the target customer GOES. The number one new food product in 2011 was P.F. Chang’s Home Menu. Lo and behold they had a built in advertising platform at their own restaurant locations, and while they may have stolen a bit from restaurant sales, they added over $100 million of new revenue with the new menu products by expanding their market. That takes courage – and a plan that ‘expands the pie’ while keeping current product sales lively can be risky business, and they’ve pulled it off well this time.

3. Find SOMEWAY to get your product under the target’s NOSE. One of the top 5 new food products is Folger’s Gourmet Selective K-Cups, which like P.F. Chang’s Home Menu could take away business from the core home product sales. But Folger’s took the individual home and office brewing opportunity head-on and created one of the best selling products of 2011 with their Keurig cups.

Often all we have to fear is fear itself, and by taking proactive action, you can stay on top of consumer and market trends by finding something to get in front of your customer to show them another way to use your product.

Whether you’re growing a B2C or B2C business, consider these three tips to acquire customers while maintaining a healthy and reasonable fear of scavenging your existing business. Customers will decide how they want your product, and too many businesses wait too late to offer alternatives and lose the opportunity. Think ahead.

About Doug Bruhnke

Growth Nation is a global marketing and business platform in support of Global Chamber... which helps members grow globally. Global Chamber is growing in 525 metros around the world... everywhere... to help members grow anywhere through trusted, warm connections.

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