The 5 Most Successful Tech Launches of 2012

December 19, 2012

By our visiting expert, Ross Rubin.

There were many well-executed and successful products in 2012, some meant more to their companies than others. Whether it was reinforcing an ecosystem or a pillar in a comeback, five products from five different companies stood out for how they fared with so much on the line. They are, alphabetized by company:

Apple iPad mini. Creating a new category of products is one of the hardest things to do. While it had a bit of help from the netbook in terms of establishing a need for a second device with a 10” display, the iPad was marked by consumers rushing out in droves to buy something they never knew they needed. Apple had been able to hold on to a commanding lead in the tablet market. Low-priced competition, though, coming first from the Amazon Kindle Fire and then from the Google Nexus 7, have cut into its market share. Apple, which once rebuked 7” tablets, needed to respond, but its business model involves making money on hardware, unlike Amazon.

The iPad mini is larger and significantly more expensive than the rivals that preceded it, but Apple has preserved compatibility with leading iPad apps and even brought over . At 80 percent of the size of the iPad’s screen, it is really more formidable competition for the iPad 2, which sells for $70 more but has almost identical specs and features, than it is for the value-conscious Kindle Fire.

Microsoft Surface. As the iPad continued to take nibbles of PC market share and healthy bites of its mindshare, Microsoft was readying two versions of Windows to fight back – Windows 8 Pro for running on machines with traditional PC processors and Windows RT for the same kinds of ARM chips used by iPads and Android tablets. What most people did not realize was that one of those versions was heading for an all-new Microsoft device dubbed Surface. While Microsoft had created its own devices before such as Xbox and the ill-fated Zune and Kin phones, much was made of Microsoft’s entry into a business where the company had previously licensed software to other device companies.

There was no way around it; Microsoft was now competing with its own licensees. However, most overlooked that the competition was limited to an emerging class of devices, the Windows tablet and not the notebooks and desktops that comprise virtually the entire PC market.

Surface is a tablet at heart, but, in large part recognizing a heritage of productivity emanating from the PC, it can be used one of two keyboard covers that click in to the device — a slim one with a tactile keyboard and an even slimmer “touch keyboard” that responds to presses on a slightly raised surface. The latter works surprisingly well, but the slightly more expensive “real” keyboard doesn’t sacrifice much thinness for a dramatically better keyboard experience. Now, Microsoft just needs to attract the aps to make its touch interface more competitive with those of other tablets.

Nintendo Wii U. Like the iPad, the Nintendo Wii ushered in a new way of thinking about a kind of product that had been around for a long time, the home console. Its low price and focus on motion gaming set it apart from other consoles. Eventually, though, the competition struck back with more precise motion controllers (Sony Move) and ways of doing motion control with no handheld controller at all (Microsoft Kinect) and the Wii started flagging in sales as Nintendo focused more on its next handheld device, the 3DS.

With the Wii U, which retains a similar although slightly larger and more rounded profile of its predecessor, Nintendo is betting on multiple displays, embedding a touchscreen into the bundled GamePad controller. Different games use the GamePad in different ways; some are imaginative, others just duplicate what’s on the TV (and some can be played only on the TV). Available starting at $299, the Wii U also includes a feature called TVii that However, the competition isn’t waiting to see if Nintendo’s bet pays out this time. Microsoft, for one, has responded with SmartGlass, which allows many different tablets and smartphones to connect with the existing Xbox 360 for games and extra TV show content.

Nokia Lumia 920. Many years ago, before the rise of Samsung, Apple or even the Blackberry, Nokia ruled the North American cell phone market, but its smartphones never caught on the way here the way they did in Europe. And over time, iOS and Android started eroding share on its home turf. The Finnish company vacillated between its popular but outdated Symbian software and its advanced but unknown Maemo operating system. Ultimately, a Microsoft executive came on board to take the helm as CEO and soon struck a deal with his former boss to put Windows Phone software on Nokia phones.

Nokia’s first efforts in the North American market had modest success but didn’t move the needle much. Now, Nokia is bringing more to the table, combining more of the style of its original Windows Phone, the Lumia 800 with the larger display and LTE of the Lumia 900 while throwing in some advanced tech goodies such as a touchscreen that can work with gloves, wireless charging and an optically stabilized camera. The resulting Lumia 920 is exclusive to AT&T this holiday. It will battle with the HTC Windows Phone 8x for Windows Phone high-end bragging rights and the recently released Android-based Droid DNA on Verizon for carrier pull.

Samsung Galaxy S III. Unlike Nokia, Samsung has been on a tremendous roll, riding the success of Android and becoming the dominant handset provider for it and the leading handset and smartphone vendor in the world. The previous Samsung Galaxy S products were strong sellers but varied significantly in terms of branding, design and sometimes even specifications such as whether they included a keyboard. That’s all been pushed aside iwth the Galaxy S III, which reflects Samsung’s now significant marketplace power. It’s essentially the same regardless of the carrier on which you get it.

Like the Lumia 920, the Galaxy S III includes an NFC chip for tapping information. It can also play a number of fancy tricks with Wi-Fi such as displaying a video from a Samsung television or automatically send photos taken at a party to another Galaxy S III. Fast-moving Samsung has already surpassed the 4.8” display of the Galaxy S III with the 5.5” display and stylus input of the Galaxy Note II also available on all four carriers, but the older phone will still be Samsung’s more mainstream option for some time to come.

Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research and blogs at Techspressive. Please follow him on Twitter at @rossrubin.

Video Webinar: The Most Memorable New Product Launches of 2010

March 12, 2011

With more than 40,000 products launched each year, how will your product stand apart from the competition? This video webinar reveals the strategies and tactics smart marketers used to achieve top ten status in the ninth annual Most Memorable New Product Launch survey (national consumer sample).

Click image or click here to watch

In the video, Launch Expert and Author, Julie Hall, and Chief Behavioral Scientist, Aaron Reid offer insights on:

• The five “must-do” marketing tactics influencing consumer purchasing today
• Easy ways to use social mediums like Facebook and Twitter to improve the awareness of your new product launch
• Top sources of information that almost all consumers use to learn about new products
• Emerging trends in 2011 that will influence consumer choices and certainly impact your new product launch

Boston Business Journal’s Lisa Van der Pool reports on the Most Memorable New Product Launches of 2010 on WBZ

January 5, 2011

Lisa Van Der Pool, reporter for the Boston Business Journal, featured 2010 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey on WBZ-TV. The survey, conducted by Schneider Associates, Sentient Decision Science, and the SymphonyIRI Group, polled consumers to uncover the top most memorable new product launches of 2010, which were highlighted in a video on WBZ. Apple iPad, Windows 7 and the Motorola Droid were featured, among other surprise products such as Mars Chocolate’s pretzel M&M’s and KFC’s Double Down. Van der Pool also reported on the improvement in the recall of new product launches in this year’s survey. Click the image below to watch the video.

MMNPL Expert Panelist Char Partelow of SymphonyIRI Group Nominates Products for the 2010 Survey

November 4, 2010

From outdoor billboards to flat screen TV’s in malls, shoppers are constantly bombarded with advertisements. Few stand out and those who rise to the top must exhibit an innovative, creative marketing strategy to draw attention. Consumer packaged goods expert, Char Partelow of SymphonyIRI Group, offers her nominations* for the most memorable new product launches of the year (product choices by Char, summaries compiled by the MMNPL staff).

KFC’s Double Down Sandwich

In April, KFC launched a limited time bun-less Double Down sandwich scheduled to be discontinued in May but the Colonel had another thing coming. It quickly became a national sensation, and due to popular demand, it has no expiration date. Rivaling conventional burgers, the Double Down offers two pieces of bacon, and two slices of cheese, drizzled with sauce and held together by two chicken filets (grilled or fried).

Jello Mousse Temptations

Jello’s not just for kids anymore. In July, Jello created a new Mousse dessert item, offered in three flavors: Caramel Crème, Chocolate Indulgence, and Dark Chocolate Decadence. For the calorie conscious, this dessert is only 60 calories per pack and its convenient packaging is great for parents on the run.

Pretzel M&M

An interesting twist to the M&M line was launched this past May. The new candy incorporates a crunchy pretzel inside milk chocolate inside a colorful candy shell. A confused orange M&M was the dumbfounded ‘spokescandy’ for the media promotion, using an x-ray to see inside his crunchy exterior and reveal the pretzel inside.

Bud Light Golden Wheat

Last fall, Anheuser-Busch introduced a new line to the Budweiser/Bud Light label, Golden Wheat. This tasty beer was supported by a creative ad campaign and aligns with the Superior Drinkability slogan, offering a flavorful alternative in a light beer.



Mountain Dew DEWmocracy2

In a DEWmocracy, the people rule. Mountain DEW launched a revolutionary marketing campaign involving social media and grass roots tactics to entice consumers to vote for their favorite flavor. The three flavor finalists were Mountain DEW Distortion, Mountain DEW Typhoon and Mountain DEW White Out which hit shelves in April. The winner was Mountain DEW White Out which became the new flavor for the brand.

Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee

Starbucks, a giant in the premium quick service coffee category, is testing the grocery aisles. VIA is Starbucks first on-the-go instant coffee packet which hit store shelves last fall, surprising competitors and constituting a bold leap for the brand.


Apple iPad

What can they think up next? Apple launched the iPad in April, thrilling fans and stunning competitors. The iPad has the interface of an iPod touch with the functionality of a portable PC. Fully-featured, it can do it all with hundreds of thousands of available apps. Made completely with environmentally responsible products, the iPad is as eco-friendly as it is innovative. Beating analysis’s expectation, the iPad sold 3 million units in the first eighty days it was released.

Kleenex Hand Towels

Kleenex introduced an alternative to household wash towels this past March. The one-time-use hand towels were made to keep bathrooms and kitchens sanitary and safe. Offering a soft texture and dry-touch fibers in every sheet, Kleenex has created a practical towel alternative.


*Not all products chosen by the MMNPL expert panelists are guaranteed to be included in the MMNPL survey due to our rigorous criteria for selecting new products.

For more information on Char Partelow, please visit out expert panel page.
For more information on upcoming MMNPL products, see our Twitter handle, @MMNPL.

An iPad Revolution: Joan Schneider writes about why the iPad transcends the hype in the Cramer Insights Newsletter

June 28, 2010

Despite the wide ranging opinions of the iPad before it’s launch on March 5, 2010, this revolutionary product became one of the most successful product launches in Apple’s history, selling more than 3 million products to date. On Cramer Insights, Cramer’s thought leadership and perspectives newsletter, Joan Schneider, president of Schneider Associates and author of “The New Launch Plan,” discusses why the iPad deserves recognition as one of the most well designed communication devices to date. “Companies have started finding ways to use the iPad to enhance business. Now a host of other manufacturers are introducing their own tablet devices to jump into this runaway market,” Schneider states in the article.

To learn more about why the iPad transcends the hype, please follow this link to the Cramer Insights summer 2010 newsletter. To sign up for the Cramer Insights thought leadership newsletter, please click here.

About Cramer:

Cramer is a digital marketing and event solutions agency that fuses creativity and technology to design and execute experiences that move audiences. For more than 25 years, the agency has helped the world’s leading and emerging brands win and retain loyal customers, launch products and inspire sales teams. Reaching audiences online, offline, through emerging media and face-to-face, Cramer creates personalized, integrated marketing programs and events that maximize marketing impact—and their clients’ dollars. Cramer’s clients include Boston Scientific, Progress Software, EMD Serono, Inc., Bayer Healthcare and PricewaterhouseCoopers among others. Cramer is a privately held company. For more information, please go to, or visit their blog at

If you would like help planning your next product introduction or launch event, contact us at or on Twitter @SchneiderPR.

Ten Axioms for Product Launch Mastery from Apple’s iPad Introduction

April 5, 2010

By Joan Schneider and Julie Hall

There were parties outside Apple stores all over the country Friday night and into Saturday morning. Customers who pre-ordered iPads waited patiently, excited to be the first to try this revolutionary new product.

In all the discussions about what the iPad does or doesn’t do, people forget that Apple makes products for what people want to do, not always what we think we need to do – but that’s why we want them. At best, the iPad will become the ultimate media consumption machine – where apps, magazine content, news, books and multimedia become more enjoyable to experience than on any other device. But beyond the features and utility discussion – what’s clear is the iPad launch is already another successful, profitable marketing coup from Steve Jobs, who made an appearance at the Palo Alto store, and Apple’s product launch masters. Early reports show weekend sales doubled analyst estimates, reaching 700,000. So how does Apple make consumers crave? They follow a formula for excellence.

Here are Apple’s 10 Axioms for Product Launch Mastery:

  1. Creating a superior, revolutionary, market leading product, with a customer centric design and exceptional functionality, so the product becomes the ‘star’ in advertising and the consumer’s mind.
  2. Enveloping the product in secrecy so there is a mysterious element to the launch.
  3. Creating drama when information is revealed to generate multiple bites of the news apple.
  4. Using a high profile spokesperson sparingly so when he appears, everyone listens.
  5. Establishing exclusivity through an initial high price point to attract early adopters who establish the ‘cool factor.’
  6. Motivating a large base of loyal brand aficionados and ambassadors who serve as an army of influencers and spread the word (and viral video) about the product.
  7. Staggering product availability to give word-of-mouth about the product a chance to build while managing the supply chain so that planned releases spike increased demand and drive traffic.
  8. Finding, sticking to and reinforcing brand positioning so that everything the company does illustrates the product’s simplicity and coolness.
  9. Developing the product with exclusive features so that others cannot copy the design and functionality, and even if they do—the original product is perceived as better.
  10. Keeping the details about the product under lock and key so that even developers have no idea how it really works until the launch.

Now that you know what they’re doing, does it make you want one any less? We look forward to watching the rest of Apple’s launch plan unfold, as the iPad becomes yet another product to demonstrate their launch mastery.

If you would like help planning your next launch, contact us at or on Twitter @SchneiderPR.

Can Apple Shake Up Digital Device Market with the iPad?

February 5, 2010

Apple seeks to once again revolutionize the digital world with the launch of its new iPad in March. Apple’s website describes the tablet computer, which includes a 9.7-inch touchscreen display and iPhone operating system, as “the best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video.”

With the iPad, Apple has created the first product to close the gap between the laptop and smartphone. Apple’s iPhone and MacBook models are on top seller lists and have contributed strongly to the company’s revenue growth. With demand for both the iPhone and Apple’s line of laptops going strong, this may be perfect time for Apple to introduce a product that combines the features of both devices.

How will the iPad be differentiated from the iPhone and MacBook? First, it will tap into the e-book market. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs announced that iBook apps have been developed for the iPad, which will provide access to e-book content from several major publishers, creating competition with other devices like the Amazon Kindle. Second, it will create an even more personal and portable experience than working on a MacBook or an iPhone. Consumers will be able to flip through a photo album, browse music, read an e-book, and surf the web—all with their fingertips.

The iPad will be available in two models—one with Wi-Fi and one with AT&T 3G coverage. Models will be offered in three sizes (16, 32, and 64 GB) and range in price from $499 (for the least expensive Wi-Fi model) to $829 (for the most expensive 3G model).

Apple’s target market for the iPad seems to be anyone and everyone—from children who play games, watch movies, and read books, to business men and women who peruse the news, check stocks and write emails. The device has been met with some criticism, with comments centered around the device’s inability to run flash video and multitask. The real question is: How will the mass market respond to this new technology? Is it another revolutionary success for Apple, or will the hot streak finally end?