Sunday, March 20, 2011

Building Pre-Launch Buzz – Mix of Creativity, Diligence and Focus

While launching a new product, many miss out on pre-launch buzz, that is creating buzz about the product and making people interested in it even before the product is launched. The concept of pre-launch buzz is not new. Film industry has been using it for many years.  The purpose of pre-launch buzz is to create desire, need and excitement for the product in the market. With this, when the product becomes available, it starts selling like hot cake.

The best way to use the pre-launch phase is to warm up the market, your prospects, your customers. Use this time to engage with the market, look for feedback, ask questions, address objections, conduct surveys and answer questions.

I believe that for the pre-launch buzz to be successful, it needs to have a right mix of creativity, diligence and focus.

Creativity: Pre-launch buzz creation definitely requires a lot of creativity. Rather than going by the regularly mentioned things like putting up a teaser, offering a whitepaper etc, you need to identify what will appeal to your audience, what will excite them and what will make them talking about your product/ service? Of course, this requires a thorough understanding of your market, research of your target group, your competition (if any), detailed understanding of the problem you are trying to solve and so on.

Focus: What do you want to achieve from your pre-launch buzz creation campaign?  What exactly do you mean by creating buzz? Yes, the end result is to get more customers or users for your product, but that need not be the sole objective of your campaign. You need to widen the scope and achieve more than that. As mentioned above, some of it could be getting some insights through surveys, handling objections, establishing your thought leadership in the market and so on.

Diligence: The reason I have included this factor here is because the pre-launch is a delicate and sensitive phase in your product lifecycle. It could make or break the product. The right kind of buzz can make the product very successful while a poorly executed pre-launch campaign can make the product introduced with a negative impression. So spend some good, quality time in planning and executing your pre-launch buzz campaign. Spend dedicated time in managing the campaigns and monitor the responses carefully.

I recently came across an interesting pre-launch buzz campaign. This company, IDYeah Labs, has not yet revealed what it is planning to launch but has just introduced a contest asking its Facebook fans to guess what it is up to? Certainly an interesting and welcome effort of using social media (only) for creating the buzz. Let us wait and watch how it works out for the company.

Have you come across any pre-launch buzz campaign which really appealed to you?


  1. After reading this post the first thing that came to my mind was recent zoo-zoo 3G campaign. The Vodafone has conducted pre-launch so nicely that we never thought that zoo-zoo will actually get turned into superhero highlighting the enhanced speed offered by the new service. We all knew that all mobile operators are going to launch 3G services soon but not a single ad referred towards what they are going to offer. At the same time its characters were successful in keeping interest level up. It is really well constructed campaign and way they had created their teasers was splendid.

    Also, second very important factor according to me is rationalizing of expectations. Your campaign should not elevate the expectations so much that when actual product launches it will be too difficult for it to match those elevated expectations. Something similar happened to Windows Vista. All my tech friends told me that the OS was indeed great piece except for two things high demanding RAM and partial support for earlier/XP softwares. Without addressing these two major issues Microsoft went ahead with their teaser promising the best OS ever which eventually fell flat. If they had promised best OS ever at cost then the history could have been different.

  2. @Mandar: Very well pointed out. While concentrating on creativity, it is quite possible for marketers to go a little too much in setting expectations. That's where the 'focus' factor comes into picture :)

  3. The only reason probably companies would refrain from creating a pre-launch-buzz would be because of the fear that their idea would be either 'stolen by' or 'not accepted' or even 'wrongly conveyed' to the user hampering the actual release. But in all personally I feel that a pre-buzz definitely helps. Google predominantly makes use of this strategy every time by spreading a 'be a part of the first few to test this new app' message... Works like a charm for them. They outdid Hotmail and Yahoo mail in a very small time. Kudos to the pre-launch-buzz. The wrongly conveyed buzz example too is from the house of Google with Google Wave application. People expected a whole lot from it and were disappointed with the actual offering and robustness.

  4. @Vishal: Absolutely. To be able to confidently go ahead with the pre-launch buzz, the company, marketers and everybody involved MUST be confident about the product. And yes, liked your example of Google! :)

  5. "Something works for someone doesn't mean that something works for everyone"

    Ideas should be flexible & inevitable.

    I personally don't think that there is any Success Formula else everybody would have followed that.

  6. @Sacran: I agree there is no success formula which can work for everyone. We can at the most attempt to enlist the things which have worked or not worked for someone in past so that others can get ideas and also learn from other's experiences. After all, we are living in the world of social media :)

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