We are often asked when the best time is to get a marketing firm involved in the development cycle when preparing to launch a new product. Of course there is no single answer as it will depend on the product (or service offering) under development.
Without a doubt, a critical consideration in the development cycle is branding. For the product launch example shown here, the branding process was initiated while the product was still in the early testing stage. In this case, the inventor made a series of one-off prototypes to test the viability of the concept and, once satisfied, applied for and obtained a utility patent.
From there the project was entrusted to us to provide the creative which entailed coming up with a unique name that both described the product to the target audience. We brought in an industrial design firm to complete the product design while we designed the FairwayPro logo.
As noted above branding should be integrated into the development process as early as possible and should not be an afterthought. See other branding examples.
3. Marketing plan
While the personal-use version of this product line was still in engineering and well before the manufacturing had even begun we developed the marketing plan for FairwayPro. Development of a second product for use at golf facilities soon commenced. As part of our market research to assess interest from golf facility owners, we created a 3-D animation of the commercial-version product to visually convey the functionality and operation of the product. (See "Product Launch" button above and scroll to bottom of page to view the 3-D animation we created.) This product launch serves to illustrate the fact that the scope of any marketing plan will always depend on the specific nature and category of the product (or service).
4. Product Roll-Out
Not unlike marketing plan development, product launches will vary widely depending on the product, category, demographic, channel, etc. In the FairwayPro example shown here, the product launch is summarized inside the "mini site" at the top of this page to build distributor awareness.
Click below to view Golf Channel infomercial / web landing page / retailer looping video.
Click above to play movie
Product shown below on display at "big-box" golf retailer with looping video above.