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11 Great Product Marketing Examples and Lessons We Can Learn From

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

The act of introducing a product to consumers is known as product marketing. Isn't that an easy task? I mean, no. The markets are saturated, consumers are choosy, and the competition is severe. Successful brands, however, still need to put in the effort.

But you should take lessons from the finest of both the good and the terrible. As such, let's go over the following in today's article:

  • 10 product marketing examples from top brands like Apple, 3M, Clairol, and more.

  • Why they worked (or why they didn’t).

  • Takeaways you can apply to your own product marketing strategy.

Here’s where to start.

Advertisements for a few products: What's to be commended

You may use the lessons and insights from these successful product marketing examples even if your business is small and/or you have a limited budget. Get motivated by reading on!

1. Mac vs. PC: Apple's Marketing Battle

The name Apple must be mentioned in any discussion of product promotion. Particularly, its Mac vs. PC advertising campaign, which has won an Effie Award, depicts PC (the business suit-wearing man) as perpetually playing catch-up to Mac (the cool, hipster guy).

The commercial has been parodied 66 times, with varying degrees of success, but each version emphasizes the same benefits, including iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, and simplicity. It's obvious that when Apple created the Mac, they were aiming at a market searching for a computer to fulfill artistic and personal goals.

The Lesson: Talk about things that are important to your target market instead of trying to convince them to buy into your value proposition. Even a globally recognized company like Apple customizes its marketing messages for each campaign's specific audience.

2. Sell feelings, not products, says SoFi.

The phrase "selling the product, not the experience" is a common pitfall for product marketers. Your wares are not sought for. There is a complete lack of demand for any goods. Basically, they need help fixing their issue. They are seeking a sense of relief. Excited. Confident. Safe and sound.

You see, if you stick to listing advantages, features, and facts, you're just using two brain regions, the ones responsible for word decoding. Change the game by adding some sentimental language and visuals.

Consider SoFi. Does the ad below provide unsecured loans to consumers? Nope. The liberation you'll experience when you finally "kick unwanted expenses out" is the product, as is the delight you'll feel when you realize how much money you've saved.

The Lesson: The Subaru commercials aren't the only way to use emotional marketing. Just use vivid language and striking images to convey the positive emotions your product will provide your buyer.

3. Schlitz: Show 'em how the beer's brewed

Schlitz Brewing Company, based in Milwaukee, was having financial difficulties in the early twentieth century. Although it was the ninth largest American brewery, the company's prospects for expansion were low. At the time, all brewers spoke loudly about the "purity" of their beer, but none knew what "purity" meant, thus no one could outdo another.

One of the forefathers of contemporary advertising, Claude Hopkins, was employed when he asked to take a tour of the brewery. He had just one question after viewing the 4,000-foot deep artesian wells, the pumps that were cleaned twice a day, the four times sterilized bottles, and the plate glass chambers where beer spilled over the pipes.

To define "pure" for customers, Hopkins recommended that Schlitz heavily promote tales about how every other brewery didn't follow this approach.

The Lesson: Don't simply list features and benefits; engage your audience with authentic stories that bring them in and take them behind the scenes of your business.

4. Nike: Break the mold in ways that rivals won't.

When Nike competed with Reebok in the casual shoe industry in the '70s and '80s, Reebok ended up with a larger share of the market.

It then turned to a marketing strategy that was novel at the time and sometimes mocked: celebrity endorsements. In the 1970s, tennis player Ilie Nastase and track sensation Steve Prefontaine became Nike's first famous athletes to endorse the brand, helping to boost sales to $270 million. After signing Michael Jordan in 1990, the company's earnings topped $2.2 billion. Reebok is currently around 25th as large as Nike.

The Lesson: Try something new. In fact, even if it's something unheard of or controversial. You can never tell when you'll hit pay dirt and rocket ahead of the pack.

5. The National Dairy Board recommends focusing on your current clientele.

More than $100 million was spent advertising only one variety of soda by Pepsi and Coke in the early 1990s. The drop in the consumption of plain old milk in California is bad news for the state's dairy producers.

When faced with a meager $23 million advertising budget, the National Dairy Board and the California Advisory Board were forced to take bold action. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), the advertising firm chosen for the job, speculated that targeting milk consumers rather than non-milk drinkers may do the trick. Consumers, according to focus groups, want to mix their milk with other beverages. Until they're out of it, they also don't give it much thought.

This prompted the first "Got Milk?" commercial.

As of 1994, California has reversed the national trend of declining milk sales by raising them by 7 percent. Even though it was meant only for Californians, it still became a cultural phenomenon. The ad won three Gold Clios and is now considered a modern classic.

The Lesson: Finding a new market isn't always necessary to boost sales. You may shift the needle by stoking interest among those who are already admirers of your work.

6. The 4-Hour Workweek: Keep your word by setting realistic goals.

Can you recall the Ab Rocket? The Rock-N-Go Workout Machine? Or any of the other aspiring ripped-ab-rockers? In 2009, Consumer Reports criticized these items for being just as effective as, if not less successful than, traditional abdominal exercises that require no special equipment.

If you make a promise you can't keep, your business won't last long. In today's world, when word-of-mouth and ratings and reviews are more influential than ever, consumers won't give you much time before they find out. Delivering value is more important than fulfilling every detail of a commitment.

Examples include Tim Ferris's "The 4-Hour Work Week," which sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. You won't be able to reduce your work week to four hours after reading this book. However, it provides a strategy for "escaping the 9-5 workplace, living wherever, and joining the new affluent."

As for Tim's clientele, they think that's awesome.

The Lesson: To get consumers interested in testing new products, marketers often make bold claims. If you make a false commitment, though, you will face consequences.

7. Culture of innovation is important at 3M.

Scotch tape and Post-It Notes may not be the first things that come to mind when you consider innovation, but I bet you were thinking of sophisticated platforms and touch-screen devices.

3M has grown from a small corporation to a $114 billion enterprise with over 100,000 patents because of its commitment to innovation. Just how does that appear? 3M's former VP of Global HR Business Operations, Jon Ruppel, remarked in an interview with i4cp, "We automatically share our findings and innovations across the firm." Since no one division at 3M controls its many forms of technology, collaboration among departments is essential to the company's success.

He said that the firm also:

  • Accepts and considers all suggestions for new products, regardless of who suggests them or their status in the company.

  • Allocates 15% of each worker's time to be used in any way they see fit, including brainstorming new ideas.

  • Maintains a group of employees with varying perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences in terms of gender, race, and other demographics.

  • Adopts a "failure-first" mentality. Failed product launches do not result in the termination of employees. The community rejoices in them.


The Lesson: The only way to make progress is to make mistakes. Although it can't be taught, it can be rewarded and used to create marketable items inside your company's culture.

Negative instances of product marketing

When it comes to education, making errors is the finest teacher. Appropriate replacement phrase: gaining wisdom via the experiences of others. Right?

8. If you try something and it doesn't work, Clairol says, "Fail forward."

Another brand that fits this description is Clairol. While its advertising for the more subtly provocative Herbal Essences brand have been hugely successful, the company's "Touch of Yogurt" shampoo from 1979 was a tremendous flop.

And if you're in the mood for some hairy yogurt, here it is! Some patrons, in their confusion, actually ate it. The shampoo's genuine yogurt component even turned sour. Moreover, it was really offensive. To top it all off, why don't you file a class action lawsuit for several million dollars?

Is Clairol still one of the most popular shampoo and hair dye brands out there? Sure thing.

The Lesson: Be willing to try and maybe fail. Most thriving companies failed several times before they found success. Sometimes it is the setbacks that serve as stepping stones to eventual triumph. Try new things, take in the feedback, and keep going.

9. McDonald's: Tailor your messages to the people who will be reading them.

At long last, McDonald's swung for the fences with the Arch Deluxe, and missed. McDonald's first tried the Arch Deluxe to appeal to adults, as they were more known for serving children.

What about a night out at a fancy restaurant in the city?

and you immediately thought of McDonald's? Even their market didn't. Well, I take it they weren't "lovin' it."

In order to create and promote the Arch Deluxe, "the burger with the grown-up taste," McDonald's spent $300 million. To the point that it may be considered a major product failure. It's weird, because it's still available in France and Russia.

The Lesson: Carefully evaluate your target market before releasing and promoting a product that may (really) fall flat with them.

10. Protect yourself by coming up with innovative names for useful items.

Although exploring uncharted territory and putting one's ideas and products to the test is essential, one must be prepared for the possibility of failure—sometimes on a massive scale. In the '80s, for instance, Life Savers sold drink.

In taste testing, it fared rather well, but when released to the general public, sales plummeted. In fact, many customers expected the product to taste like liquid candy. Even though I think it sounds fantastic, the market as a whole rejected the concept.

Now, let's examine Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of both diapers and razors. as well as another sixty-three brands that include: Bounty, Crest, Dawn, Gillette, Olay, and many more besides.

The Lesson: Making a new brand name for yourself might be a good way to test the waters in a new market or with a different product. You will lack the instant credibility that comes with a well-known brand name. But you will break through the market's presumption that you cannot effectively manage several product lines.

11. The Stepping Stone: Find Your Niche Market

They say that if you construct it, people will come. Kinda. Sorta. No, not really.

Take the Segway, for example: Codenamed "Ginger," this alternative to cars is expected to sell 10,000 units every week at $5,000 each.

What's the deal? Its horrifying features shocked buyers and investors alike, and only police departments, tour guides, and warehouses bought any of its 38 weekly apartments (at least it has a market, right?).

The Lesson: No matter how great your idea is, you must first ensure there is a need for it by determining whether or not your product is a good fit for the market.

Lessons learned from analyzing these sample campaigns for various products

Most businesses would panic if they had to do something out of the ordinary. The worst-case scenario is that it doesn't work. So, then what? But risk-taking product enterprises not only thrive, they frequently become permanent cultural icons. Because they were open to incorporating these strategies, that is. To what extent have you been encouraged by any of these product marketing case studies?

1. Inform them of what matters to them.

2. Instead than trying to convince them to buy your wares, appeal to their feelings.

3. Show the process of production to clients Do something the competition won't use to promote to your current clientele

4. Brand-new stuff? Change the name brand you're using.

5. Have a culture of creativity Make a promise you can keep

6. Allow yourself to make mistakes

7. You must first identify your target demographic.

8. Be sure your product is a good fit for the market.


Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC is a marketing agency in Red Bank, NJ, Westport, CT, and everywhere in between. We service businesses with marketing strategies, digital marketing, social media, and consultations.

Phone: NJ: (732) 802-6205 // CT: (203) 429-9671

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