Technology product launches are difficult enough, with plenty of moving parts depending on how complex the product is and how many buyer personas it appeals to. But AtlasIED, an audio manufacturer, had to think creatively to make their somewhat-recent product launch a success during the height of the pandemic.
Tell us about the launch of AtlasIED’s Atmosphere: what was the product all about and who were you targeting with it?
Gina: Atmosphere is our new digital audio distribution platform. It comprises two different DSP models, two different amplifier models, and six accessory wallplates.
We were really focused on our integrator partners, who have a specialty in the hospitality world restaurants, bars, hotels, retail boutiques, spaces like that, that need zoned audio. But we’ve also found that it’s been really highly adopted in smaller k 12, as well as some offices and industrial. So really, our unique integrator partners who have this really outside of the box thinking have found uses for it that we didn’t necessarily think of when when it was being developed.
You launched Atmosphere during the height of the pandemic. What was that like?
Gina: Oh, stressful. I mean, if I could use one word, it was stress.
This was a project that was two and a half to three years in the making. Once it was ready, we were absolutely 100% set on launching it at InfoComm 2020. And that was going to be a huge deal for us. And then COVID struck, and we were like, ‘what’s going to happen with InfoComm?!’
After panic settled a bit, we said, okay, so assuming a big national trade show doesn’t happen, or big international trade show doesn’t happen, we still have to launch this, we’re not holding it for a year. That would be doing our integrator partners a disservice.
Plan B was doing a live stream event from our hardest-hit part of the industry, which is live events. So we rented out a theater and we hired a production crew. And we hired an MC, all of whom were out of work. And and we live streamed straight from an out-of-work theater in St. Louis. So that was kind of our nod to the industry but also our our planning to make sure that this product platform got out tower integrator partners in the most impactful and longest far farthest-reaching way possible.
Did this pivot make you reconsider the value that the in-person shows pose to your company?
Gina: I’d like to say yes. I don’t think that’s the truth.
What I will say is the cost per lead during the virtual event was far lower, far, far lower than it would have been at a show. Would I be able to replicate that type of success now or a year from now? No.
I think that it was a unique circumstance of a situation where people were home — working from home, in front of their computers a lot. I mean, after that you started hearing about zoom fatigue, you started hearing about these long hours.
We happen to schedule our Atmosphere launch during that time, if we had decided to do that now, more people are back at work at work at the office. And even if they’re not there, they’re figuring out a more healthy schedule for themselves and their families.
I think zoom fatigue is absolutely still real and still a thing. So getting somebody’s attention for an hour, an hour and a half online, is exhausting. And it’s difficult now to maintain that engagement. There’s a lot more noise than there was back in July of last year, we were able to do some buzz campaigns, to really incite some curiosity around this launch.
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Whereas now, there’s there’s so much going on, whether it’s local news, industry news, all of that had taken a bit of a sidebar to COVID News back that right back in July of last year. People didn’t want to listen to COVID news every day. So there was this opportunity to be a voice in the middle of this silence.
The trade clubs were doing their best to try to keep up with what was going on. But even then manufacturers were kind of close lipped because they didn’t know if there was going to be another opportunity for them to do a launch.
So there wasn’t a lot of noise going on. And so we found that we had the engagement that we did that we had the registrations that we did, because it was kind of the perfect time for that to happen. And I don’t think I can replicate it.
But what I will tell you is moving forward, I think our focus on regional and hyper regional events will be amplified. So we’ll start we’ll start doing a lot more at the regional and hyper regional level than then we did in the past.
Will you market Atmosphere differently in the future, once shows are back?
Gina: So before the pandemic, we would have relied a lot on our reps. For us to be able to go out and start doing demos, get this in front of people — from a marketing standpoint, we would definitely support them with a lot of different materials that would would support their work.
Now from a marketing standpoint, I’m scheduling micro events, I’m going to different locations. We are doing an axe throwing event soon. There’s there’s this place called Flannel Jack’s in St. Paul, Minnesota, that one of the integrators over there installed a ton of Atlas speakers for their background music. I called them and said, not only are we the manufacturer of the speakers you use, but we have a new product that just launched. And we want to do a dealer appreciation event. So can we bring our integrators in to see our speaker installation, do a demo of our atmosphere platform? They serve beer and allow you to throw axes, which I think is a liability. But that’s an aside.
So we’re going to do a customer appreciation event, we’re going to showcase Atmosphere there, do a demo, and then have a little bit of fun and listen to our speakers produce really high quality music. This is nothing new. We’ve been doing things like this and other manufacturers have been doing things like this at Top Golf and, you know, even regular golfing outings for for many years. But it’s something that we’re going to continue to focus on and make sure is part of our full on product launch marketing checklist from now on.
Where we wouldn’t have necessarily done an integrator or a customer appreciation event for a product launch before, it probably would have been decoupled from that. Bu now it’s going to be part of our product launch plan.