When it comes time to launch a new product, the majority of marketers in the US, the UK, and Australia are now turning to social media.
Five by Five, a marketing communications firm that specializes in product launches, polled more than 700 marketers in these countries and found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of them consider social media to be the highest-priority medium to promote new products.
Sales promotions and email were the second and third most popular launch marketing medium, respectively.
According to Five by Five creative director Martin Flavin:
“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.”
Social media is now more popular a launch marketing medium than PR/press, television and direct mail.
Is social enough?
According to Five by Five, social’s popularity is also based on the fact that it’s a readily accessible medium that marketers can turn to in a pinch, which is increasingly important given that products are being conceived, built and launched much more rapidly than ever before.
In fact, two-thirds of the marketers the firm surveyed indicated that they usually have no more than six months to prep a new product launch, which can make it more difficult to execute launch strategies that rely on mediums that aren’t as accessible.
But social isn’t necessarily a perfect medium. Despite its accessibility, it can be very difficult for marketers to cut through the clutter on the most popular social channels, and attracting attention is only likely to become more difficult as marketers put the bulk of their eggs in the social media basket.
For those that are able to attract an audience and generate buzz for a new product, that buzz can also be short-lived thanks to the speed with which the social media world moves, so marketers shouldn’t expect social buzz to sustain a new product.
Instead, they’ll need to plan for a relatively quick transition to post-launch marketing, which will usually include marketing mediums other than social, including search, which as PR Week’s Robert Smith notes, has been called a more powerful medium than social by WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell.