Product Launch and Evaluation
7.5 CONSUMER LAUNCH
The launch to the consumer depends on the type of product, the budget and the general policy of the company. Products can vary in the consumers’ minds in terms of newness, the amount of 'learning' needed to adopt them and also the costs of trying them. If all three are high, the growth of sales is likely to be slow unless there is a very high budget. But there is also an element of risk, which could discourage the use of a high budget, favouring instead the use of a gradual launch through the market. At the other extreme, for example for a line-extension or an improved product, the product can be introduced quickly to as wide an area as possible.
There are three types of consumer launch:
National Launch: the product is distributed to the total market area.
This method is used if the competition is very close to launching a
product that is similar or if the product change is minor. It does give
a good start over the competition if the product is a success, but is
very costly if the product is a failure.
Area Launch: the product is launched in specific areas. Areas with the
best potential are chosen: for example a wealthy area when it is a
high priced or luxury food, and a strong ethnic area for an ethnic
food. Some companies will choose to launch only in certain areas
because they have neither the production capacity nor the
distribution system to cope with a national market.
Rolling Launch: this is much the same as an area launch in that it
starts with one or two areas, then when the product has proved
successful after a certain time, it is launched into another area(s).
This is continued until it is selling through the whole market. The
rolling launch is used when the product is innovative and the production
and marketing are still under trial. This gives an opportunity to
improve the product or perhaps prepare a line of products to make
the production more efficient in terms of quality and quantity, and to
make the marketing mix more effective. In other words, if the
company needs a learning period, a rolling launch is preferable.
But of course care needs to be taken that it does not give the
competition time to come in and take a major part of the market.
THE COORDINATED LAUNCH
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