Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Research: 74% of marketers now prioritise social for launches, TV drops in importance to sixth / Five by Five

Research unveiled today has highlighted that social media is king when it comes to launching new products: three-quarters of brand marketers (74%) now prioritise social media above TV advertising in their launch marketing plans.

The research was commissioned by launch marketing specialist agency Five by Five, interviewing more than 730 senior marketers across the UK, US and Australia.

Sales promotion ranked second among the most important channels, with more than half of marketers (55%) citing it, with email campaigns coming in third (53%). TV advertising only ranked sixth, also behind press advertising and PR, suggesting that ‘traditional’ above the line ad campaigns are no longer holding sway when it comes to building awareness for new products and services.

This reinforces Five by Five’s consumer study last year, where only 6% of consumers said that TV advertising was a key factor in whether or not they bought a new product[1].

According to this new study, one factor in the growth of social as the go-to channel for launches may be the faster timeframes facing marketers: eight out of ten (81%) say that the average time between the idea first originating and launching the product has shrunk over the past five years. In addition, 70% say they usually have only six months or less to prepare for a product launch.

It also found that around two-thirds (64%) use social listening to support their new product development. This proportion is highest in the retail sector (72%), second highest in the entertainment sector (68%) and by far the lowest in financial services (51%). Furthermore, around half of marketers (46%) believe the biggest benefit of social channels lies in generating awareness before the product actually launches.

Martin Flavin, creative director at Five by Five, comments: “Social media has become the most important way to generate buzz for new products and services before they appear. Shareable content and social engagement allow brands to create a groundswell of pre-launch interest in a way no other channel can match.”The study also asked marketers how they feel launch marketing has changed over the past five years.

In addition to the tighter timeframes involved, around two-thirds (63%) now think launches cost more, although 57% believe the internal processes prior to launch are less difficult than they used to be and a colossal 88% believe they are now able to make better-informed decisions about their product launches.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of marketers (72%) think the creative ideas around product launches have become braver over the past five years, rising to 97% among marketers in the travel sector. Also, nine out of ten (87%) believe launch campaigns are now more measurable. This proportion is highest among the luxury goods (91%), healthcare (91%) and FMCG (90%) sectors.

Michelle Mitchell, strategy director at Five by Five adds: “Deadlines have got tighter, and costs have risen – but marketers now are more informed about their product launches than ever. This increased knowledge means that campaigns are braver, smoother and more effective.”

Unsurprisingly, eight out of ten (80%) think launch marketing is completely different to other forms of marketing and requires specialist handling.

According to the findings, more than half (53%) of marketers use soft launching to support new product or service development, rising to 63% among technology brands and 60% for FMCG businesses.

In addition, the three factors most likely to threaten the successful launch of a new product or service are a lack of budget (selected by 45% of marketers), ineffective marketing communications (40%) and slow processes (38%). Senior marketers spend an average of 40% of their time on launch activity, as a consequence, many cite the need for additional resource around launch.

Mitchell concludes: “While the internal processes marketers go through to get their launch off the ground may have become easier, they are still considered a significant barrier to success; there is clearly still room for improvement.

“For many senior marketers, launches have become more multi-faceted. This means that effective communication internally, alignment with external agencies and the correct investment of time and budgets is crucially for ensuring a successful launch.”