The entrepreneurial landscape in Denmark is growing, and being part of GoGrow means that I’ve been so lucky to see many great products and ideas. However, the foundation of any commercial success necessitates that great products or services go hand-in-hand with equally great marketing efforts. This topic is the focal point of this blog-post, as I will try to illuminate the experiences of our company, REC Watches, in our efforts to penetrate the watch market.
When we launched our first collections in February 2014, we honestly believed we had a great many marketing ideas. We were proud of our products, had a great story, and were ready and eager to tell anyone who would listen. However, if we have learned just one thing over the last year, it is that you should not listen to Kevin Costner for marketing advice. His famous quote “Build it, and they will come” from the movie Field of Dreams is the polar opposite of what should characterize a successful marketing campaign. Ultimately, while we understand that we cannot sell to everyone – the first step for us was to make sure that we were at least part of the end-consumers choices in their decision making.
As new products and companies are emerging constantly, all fighting for consumers attention on more-or-less the same (social media) platforms, it is becoming increasingly difficult to break through the noise. If anything, branding and marketing efforts ultimately constitute a “battle for attention” – which is especially true for new and upcoming companies. This includes both attention from consumers, but also attention from key media outlets. So how exactly do you break through the noise, and captivate the attention of both consumers, journalists or anyone else who are key to your success?
In hindsight, it is now clear that we were far from properly prepared, despite our efforts. Yet, if anything the last year and a half has taught us a lot about how to properly launch new products. For us, the answer came down to preparation. And lots of it. Now, I can safely say that we have taken quantum leaps in how we prepare for the launch of new collections. And just to be clear; proper marketing preparation is by no means something you can do over a weekend. Rather, a proper marketing campaign (for us) takes the form of an in-depth manual, on literally everything that needs to be done; including the how, what, why and who. Let me elaborate.
We always start by identifying who we are ultimately trying to reach, and for us this is essentially retailers and consumers. We then divide these into different subsections, for example by identifying different “types” of consumers. In our particular case, it could be watch-enthusiasts as one subcategory, and consumers with an affinity for the recycled object within the products as another. While both of these are potential customers, our approach and communication efforts will vary greatly depending on which subcategory they’re in. Exactly the same categorization approach is used for different retailers, shops, etc.
Next, we identify how to reach these audiences. Normally this is done with a combination of direct and indirect communication. Starting with indirect communication, we dedicate a lot of time to identify exactly which magazines, blogs, newspapers, etc., that are key to reaching large audiences within our defined consumers groups. And by that I don’t just mean a list of random publications. Rather, it’s a clearly categorized list of outlets, including their focus point(s), reach and audience, the name of the most relevant journalist (with direct phone number and email). We need to know in advance, exactly who to contact, and how. Every one of these people are essentially key market influencers, and we need to know as much as we can about them before reaching out. We’re continuously building these lists, and we currently have thousands of publications clearly defined. On the other hand, direct communication can take the form of emails, social media, forums and or physical presence. Our communication approach is highly dependent on both who and how.
That leads to the what. By that I mean exactly what is conveyed to the particular audience. If we communicate to one subsection of our target audience, say through a magazine, we have meticulously prepared how to communicate our message. To be specific, we if we’re communicating to watch-enthusiasts through a watch-magazine, our entire communication is much more technical and watch-centric, than say, if we’re communicating with Mini enthusiasts on a car-forum. This may seem obvious, but let me re-emphasize the sheer amount of prepatory work that goes into this. Everything from language to content needs to be perfectly catered to the specific audience we’re communicating with.
Creating interesting content can be a science in itself, but the most important question we ask ourselves in this prepatory phase is always the why. Why would this specific audience be interested in our brand and products? The insights from asking yourself this question should be the foundation on which the content for the particular audience is created.
Lastly, we have the when, which I will not go too much in-depth with, as it’s extremely industry specific. For example, your particular industry may be particularly seasonal (for example, fashion) and timing your product launch can be critical.