Product launch: Doing it right – October 2013

Launching a new product and service is not for the feint of heart. Of the 250,000 new products introduce annually in the United States, 66% of new products fail within two years.

Here’s how one Michigan-based distributor did it right.

Launching a new product and service is not for the feint of heart.

Of the 250,000 new products introduce annually in the United States, according to Booz & Company, 66% of new products fail within two years.

Here’s how one Michigan-based distributor did it right.

Crystal Filtration, a privately-held company that specializes in the design, development and application of industrial filter media, grew from a regional distributor to a global supplier with warehouses in Mexico and Germany.

After 20 years of steady growth, though, the downturn in the auto industry in 2009 cut off orders like a well-turned spigot. The recession changed everything.

“We knew we needed to diversify our product line,” said President Chuck Sorrick, “but since our business grew steadily, we were not quick to go in new directions.”

Crystal Filtration’s business is filters, but technology is their strength. So when a client was having problems with a large industrial filter system they were developing, they called Crystal Filtration.

The solution was not a filter. It wasn’t fast either. In fact, it took a couple of years of R&D, but that call led to Crystal Filtration’s fastest growing product: Filsorb.

Building The Brand
Filsorb is an oil-purifying reagent that extends the life of cooking oil, a compelling business proposition for large industrial fryers because cooking oil is one of their largest operational costs.

In December 2011, Capital Letters was brought in to help bring Filsorb to market.

Kevin Hunter, Sales Manager and Product Developer, and his team had conducted extensive trials. But the product had no marketing strategy or materials, and a vague business plan. The challenge was to build a brand. Fast.

Identifying the Market
Walk down the snack aisle at your local supermarket and look at the shelves. The majority of the nuts, pretzels, chips, and kettle chips are cooked in vegetable oil. And the snack food industry is big, and getting bigger. Analysts project growth in the $560 billion global snacks market.

So it was set: Crystal Filtration would be introduced to the world at at SNAXPO 2012, the industries’ annual convention.

Finding the Pain Point
It’s not enough to know who the audience is; the key is finding their pain point. A solid marketing plan is built on knowing the pain points so the product can be positioned as the antidote to the pain. We posed this question: “Are rising cooking oil costs eating away at your profits?” Perfect.

Reaching The Audience
Filsorb’s brand awareness in the snack food industry was zero, so we recommended a campaign with multiple channels.

First we designed a strong and attractive logo. Next, trade booth materials were designed and developed. The introduction of Filsorb at SNAXPO 2012 was supported with Press Releases, advertising in Snack World, the quarterly trade publication for the industry, and a spanking new website.

The Results
The launch of Filsorb at Snaxpo 2012 was a huge success. “We would have been happy with five or six leads, “ said Hunter. “We got over 25.” Since SNAXPO 2012, the Filsorb sales team has established sales at some of America’s largest snack food manufacturers.

Filsorb is expanding into other markets too. New formulas have been developed for the food services industry, and there are opportunities in the frozen food sector too.

Filsorb is a smart new product that delivers valuable benefits: it extends the life of cooking oil. Now, as a strong brand with a well-thought out marketing plan, Filsorb has given Crystal Filtration the diversification and balance they wanted in their portfolio.

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