Thermal Dynamics – New Product Launch

The Challenge

“How can we raise awareness of a problem that isn’t commonly known and introduce a new product line to solve this problem?” This was the challenge faced by Thermal Dynamics when launching their new line of plasma cutters.

 

 

Plasma cutters are used when metal needs to be cut. Since the introduction of plasma cutters in the 1960s, manufacturers have advertised their machines at what is called the “maximum cut.” This approach certainly helps sell machines but causes problems among the end-users who operate the machine. The reason: achieving the maximum cut is mostly dependent on the skill of the user.

Most people in the field don’t use plasma cutters often enough to reach the needed skill level. They select a plasma cutter they think is powerful enough to cut the thickness of the metal, only to find that the machine isn’t rated to effectively slice through the material.

Thermal Dynamics designed a new line of plasma cutters using new technology that would give their machines a higher power rating. The decision then was to either continue with promoting the line at the maximum cut or, thanks to the new technology, advertise the machines at the more honest “recommended cut” and then list the maximum cut as an added bonus.

The Solution

Geile/Leon helped Thermal Dynamics make this decision and employed our New Product Launch Process to develop a full marketing communications program.

 

A few highlights from this process:

Market Overview/Goals

We met with the client to determine launch goals, competitive landscape, target markets and discuss what opportunities exist in the marketplace for this new product.

The big question: what does success look like in Y1? The goal of this product launch was to recapture market share and build sales of the new product.

Channel Research/Market Insights

G/L participated in focus groups of end-users who use plasma cutters. A memorable quote from one the sessions was “Why can’t manufacturers just tell us what we need to use?” Based on this and similar feedback, it was decided to promote the Recommended Cut to make it easier for users to determine which machine to choose.

We then conducted further interviews with distributors to help determine their needs and how Thermal Dynamics could support channel sales efforts.

Additionally, G/L is a strong believer that sales people are a wealth of information. So we conducted interviews among Thermal Dynamics sales staff to get a better understanding of the market and what tools they needed to develop business for the new product.

Brand Positioning/Message Development

Based on the research and the current trend for competitors to oversell the capabilities of their machines, we developed a positioning statement based on Truth. Messaging was crafted around this positioning:

True Series – the only plasma cutting line that is powerful enough to be truthful about its cutting capacities.

And because of the higher power rating, we developed the “More Punch” moniker to highlight the additional power available.

Communications Plan Development/Implementation

A launch package was developed to introduce True Series. Distributors were the first target to secure bookings even before the product was available. Distributor support included:

  • Distributor sell-in brochure and materials
  • Displays and in-store signage
  • Email templates
  • Webinars to train their sales staff

End-users were engaged during a 6-month campaign that included:

  • Print advertising
  • Email campaigns
  • Public relations
  • Sweepstakes
  • Tradeshow support
  • Online/digital

The Result

 

“Geile/Leon was instrumental in helping us launch the Thermal Dynamics True Series. We used them for product positioning, naming and communications to support the rollout. The True Series launch has been a total success. Distributor pre-sales exceeded our expectation and end-user adoption has been on-target. Thanks to the True Series launch, we were able to turn around a shrinking market share and sales contributed to a 12% growth for us this past year. Geile/Leon has been a true marketing partner on this and several other NPIs”.

 

Wes Morgan

Global Communications Manager

Thermadyne  (Thermal Dynamics)

 

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