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Creating a Launch Marketing Plan: Case Study

At the end of June, an emerging company tapped Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing for its small business marketing. The company is My 3D Mini Me. Its goal was to launch in two months. This article reviews:

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The Launch Situation

My 3D Mini Me makes customized, high-quality 3D images of people and pets in a “surround sight” digital booth in a quarter of a second.  They then send these images to a 3D printing partner, artists who print colored figurines in sandstone. These My 3D Mini Me sculptures allow people to hold onto the moment with special people, pets or even themselves.

However, none of this copy to describe the process existed. Also, people in Chicagoland were not familiar with the idea or the process.

The owner of My 3D Mini Me, Christopher Strzalka, had already created the company name and a logo with the tagline “3D Scanning, 3D Printing.” A website was in progress, but did not have content. The owner wanted help with his marketing plans, specifically developing website content, creating marketing brochures, a video, and social media marketing.

The plan was first to launch  in the studio in September. We called this the “Studio Launch.” In January, Chris would take the My 3D Mini Me show on the road, setting up the booth at specific venues. We called this the “Portability Launch.”

Our Actions: Creating and Executing a Launch Marketing Plan

As with all businesses, resources are limited. Although a variety of My 3D Mini Me personas could be identified and their images scanned and printed, it was necessary to focus marketing resources on the most necessary and viable target audiences and marketing tactics to drive revenue in the components of our marketing plan.

Target Audience(s)

We identified the overarching target audiences as:

  • Upper-middle-class to high-income consumers in Chicagoland, particularly the northwest suburbs.
  • Individuals who were looking to commemorate a special event, or who simply wanted to capture a “3D selfie.”

Launch Markets

We narrowed our launch focus to northwest suburbanites in four groups:

  • Mom’s With Little Superheroes (her children). These are northwest suburban women with disposable income—initially those living in Schaumburg.
  • Teens and Young Adults. We believed this type of “3D selfie” would appeal to teens and young adults from high-income families.
  • Athletes and Enthusiasts. Athletes and enthusiasts (all ages and both genders) with disposable income (eg, golfers, skiers, karate, etc).
  • Dog Owners.

“Studio” Launch Market

As a result, our studio launch target in our marketing plan was:

  • Primarily suburban females ages 18-49 with disposable income
    • Moms with minor children, especially those in sports (ages 25-49)
    • Teens and young adults from high-income families (ages 13-24)

We considered the wedding market at launch, because the My 3D Mini Me figures make amazing wedding cake toppers. However, numerous competitor products were available. We believed this was not the primary studio market.

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Nancy’s Nephews by Photo Booth and as 6-inch figures

“Portability” Launch Market

Our portability launch target in our marketing plan was:

  • Athletic Associations, Leagues and Park District Boards
  • Corporate Event Planners

Marketing Personas

A marketing persona is a detailed, fictitious profile of the company’s ideal customer. It’s based on marketing research and real demographic data. The persona helps to tailor the company’s marketing to a specific audience.

Studio Launch Personas

Our “studio” launch personas in our launch marketing plan included the following “people”:

  • Macy the Mom, a 35-year-old married soccer mom of two in an affluent community. She abandoned her $100k+ career to raise her children. Macy is active in the PTA and spends hours driving her children between activities, entertaining their friends, and cheering them on at events. She posts pictures on Instagram and shops on Amazon Prime.
  • Lexi the Lover, a 24-year old college graduate who is working as an administrative assistant. She loves her best friend, Frieda, and her live-in boyfriend, Brad. Lexi frequently posts selfies on Instagram. She also combs Pinterest, YouTube, and Etsy. Lexi checks social media reviews before buying products. She and Brad plan to marry, and he will likely pop the question soon.
  • Daphne the Dog Owner and her husband Dave, dual income, child-free couple with two beloved dogs and a household income over $200k. They love to travel and take their dogs with them wherever they go. Daphne and Dave walk their two dogs Sniff and Digger twice a day and spend weekends at a local dog park. Their annual holiday greeting card features Sniff and Digger.

Portable Launch Personas

Our “Portable” Launch Personas in our launch marketing plan included the following individuals:

  • Bob the Board Member, a 42-year-old father with two grade school-age children. He owns his own company which gives him some scheduling flexibility, and he coaches his child’s team in basketball. Bob is passionate about the sport and knows numerous people within the community. He networks by phone, email and in-person.
  • Elena the Event Planner, a 42-year-old divorced mother who lives in the city with her only child. She works as an account manager at an agency that plans special events for a variety of industries. Elena is organized and efficient, drives accounts forward, and helps ensure that all details are considered. She has little time for email or social media after work.
  • Greg the Golf Club Member, a successful 50-year-old suburbanite who earns $175k annually. He is married with two children. Greg is athletic, fit and golfs weekly with other businessmen. He is well connected within the community, serves as a board member for a volunteer organization, and attends charity events and black-tie affairs.

Situational Analysis

Market Data

We explored 12 competitor websites and their marketing efforts. We observed the following:

  • This product technology was new to Chicagoland.
  • While other 3D products (Bobbleheads and Crystals) existed, they differed in realism compared to those generated by My 3D Mini Me.
  • Some competitor sites were quite amateurish, while others were more professionally done.
  • True “competition” was scattered across the United States.

Assumptions

We assumed the following:

  • We would have a first-to-market advantage.
  • People would need disposable income to pay for these unique items.
  • Situated in Schaumburg’s shared space studio, Schaumburg residents would be a good first target. It also allowed a trial market before approaching other communities.
  • Parents who pay for their children to participate in sports (particularly travel sports, tournaments and competitions) would be interested in and want a 3D figure of their child participating in that activity.
  • Additionally, we could leverage existing owner relationships for new opportunities.

Directional Research

Formal marketing research was beyond the scope of this launch marketing plan. Informal research revealed that many custom wedding topper versions exist. Custom Bobbleheads were also in the competitive market and often used in the sports arena. Regular 2D photography, smart phone video, and traditional 3D items (custom coffee mugs, paperweights, cubes, etc.) existed in the special event market and were available both online and at brick and mortar stores.

Market Landscape

The retail industry is struggling while online options continue to expand. Consumers who are looking for new gift ideas or unique items search the internet. Similarly, consumers who learn of products offline (eg, word of mouth, marketing literature, news pieces—online and television) typically search the internet for websites and social media platforms.

Website and SEO

Therefore, in order for a product to be successful, it would need a website that is easily found through a Google search. In the 21st century, websites are as important as business cards. This means the website must have content that applies search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. SEO practices help companies get found by consumers on Google and other search engines (eg, Bing, Yahoo).

At the same time, Google has put an increased emphasis on local search. These local SEO activities are especially important for locally available products and services, such as My 3D Mini Me, because it would only be available in Schaumburg to start and would be confined to the northwest suburbs (and Chicagoland area) after that.

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Nancy’s granddaughters in photo booth and as My 3D Mini Me figures.

Social Media

According to 2018 social media data, mothers and young women are most often using Facebook and YouTube.  As social media channels must be managed after launch, we recommended launching the studio with these two channels. Instagram and, to a lesser extent, Pinterest are also photo sharing options for these demographics. With 71% of 18- to 24-year-olds on Instagram and 56% of 25- to 29-year-olds on, we recommended considering Instagram in the near future.

Business professionals (eg, board members, event planners, high-wage earners, highly educated) are participating on LinkedIn. Additionally, a well optimized profile can help a professional on LinkedIn get found more easily on Google. Although participation in a company LinkedIn page is usually lackluster, it does provide the air of legitimacy and is the only means of placing a company icon (logo-like image) next to employees’ (and owners’) names.

We also recommended a corporate video for the website, YouTube and Facebook. Because of the unique opportunity of having a variety of people gathered in “costume” with their My 3D Mini Me’s, we recommended a launch event and videotaping the launch event.

At the event, we recommended live streaming on Facebook . Even if live participation was low, later posting of the video on YouTube and re-sharing on Facebook could increase the company’s status with the algorithm (the formula by which Facebook determines what it shows people). Promotional tactics (such as a raffle, drawing or dropping into the studio) could potentially increase participation.

S.W.O.T. Analysis

We identified internal strengths and weaknesses along with external threats and opportunities. We will not share these 40 bullet points publicly.

Launch Positioning and Messaging

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Before (left) and After (right) Logos

We changed the tagline to be more aspirational: “Hold onto the Moment.” We also created a positioning statement, elevator pitch, launch story, and boilerplate. We wrote the owners’ launch story.

Personas’ Pain Points

We identified personas’ pain points and the My 3D Mini Me solutions.

Personas’ Pain Point My 3D Mini Me Solution
Looking for a unique gift Offer a unique 3D selfie/sculpture
My kids’ lives are flying by This provides a way to “Hold on to the Moment”
Parents want to savor successes Provides keepsake for parents
Leagues are looking for money Percentage of profit can generate income for leagues
Selfies popular on cell phones/photos Give unique gift of 3D selfies
Pets, so important to families Create 3D image to hold on to memory of Pet, who is part of family
Successful people like new, innovative products 3D technology will put them on cutting edge of holding on to a moment

Market Strategy

Objective

We identified more than a dozen measurable objectives for the launch. These included the launch date, studio event date, and by year end:

  • % organic traffic
  • No. of YouTube visitors
  • No. of Facebook followers
  • Volume of studio traffic
  • Revenue results

Strategy

Studio Launch Strategy = Digital + PR + Local Coverage

We surmised we could generate studio foot traffic with organic (free) website traffic, social media, public relations, and direct-to-consumer (DTC) tactics. To that end, we recommended repeat communications to the preferred target market rather than blanketing a larger area. We also recommended media public relations at launch as we believed a big splash would create a greater ripple effect than a toe in the water.

Portable Launch Strategy: Grassroots

Between his business and personal network, Owner Chris Strzalka is well connected. We surmised that he could leverage these networks with marketing collateral, website and social media.

Product

The product included My 3D Mini Me figures in three styles: 3D busts, half bodies, and full-size figures. These would come in a variety of preordained sizes. For example, the full-size figures would come in heights from three to 14 inches.

Place

Equipment was from Twindom. My 3D Mini Me would take 3D digital portraits of people in the Schaumburg studio and/or at special events. My 3D Mini Me would send these images (.gifs) to Twindom artists who print the figurines and ship them directly to the consumer.

Pricing

Pricing was predetermined.

Promotions

In addition to monthly promotions, we created two Bucks Back Program promotions:

  • 10% of sales back to leagues
  • 10% of sales back to schools or PTA/PTO groups

Budget

Our plan included the investment needed to get the results we wanted.

Tactical Plans

We created an events timeline and managed the following projects:

  • Creative Brief
  • Launch Marketing Plan
  • Marketing Photo Opportunities Spreadsheet
  • Logo Update With New Tagline
  • Messaging Platform
  • Business Cards
  • 2 Brochures (print and PDF)
  • Keyword Research
  • SEO-optimized Website Copy
  • Local SEO Amplification
  • Marketing Video Guidance
  • Press Release and Public Relations
  • Social Media Marketing

We also recommended:

  • Local monthly postcard coverage
  • Launch event
  • Adding Instagram to the plan

Launch Marketing Plan Results

We launched the company BEFORE its ambitious two-month deadline, and it was featured on the Channel 7 ABC news. The owners were also invited to appear on an upcoming live weekend TV at the ABC network.

We blanketed company pages on Facebook and LinkedIn with social media messages throughout the months of September and October. We boosted popular posts. In one month, 15,000 people viewed the posts. Nearly 12,000 viewed the ABC video we posted, and we’re excited to upload our corporate video in October.

In addition, we had 734 visitors to the website in September alone. In all, 39% of these visitors came from our social media efforts (the vast majority from Facebook) and 11% came from organic search.  As it often takes weeks to months to rank for organic search, we expect the latter to increase over time—with a goal of 20% organic search by end of year.

Furthermore, we also need more product recognition so that more people are searching for My 3D Mini Me figures.

Additionally, the owner has the collateral he needs (business cards, brochures, and website) as well as the Bucks Back Program promotion to conduct his grassroots marketing for the portability launch.

Summary

As a marketer, I’ve worked in many business-to-business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) spaces. For example, I’ve participated in numerous launches for high-budget pharmaceutical products. These generally had a combination of healthcare professional and direct-to-patient (DTP) marketing.  I was thrilled to participate in a fun(!) business-to-consumer (B2C) launch, working with talented professionals on a unique and engaging product.

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