In late 2017 Sabian faced a challenge. They wanted to launch a new line of cymbals for low-volume situations, called FRX. However, they feared that the market would position these new cymbals as a practice tool. In fact, Sabian already had a line of low-volume practice cymbals, as do several competitors. Getting the message across that FRX was different was going be tricky.
“Our message was that FRX was for drummers wanting to play the way they normally play, even in confined environments,” says Stacey Montgomery-Clarke, Sabian VP of Marketing. “So it wasn’t ‘low volume.’ It was ‘Give them an instrument so they won’t hold back in a small club.’ That was the inspiration for [chief designer] Mark Love and the team. They created something new, aB20 quality cymbal that sounds good in any situation where volume is a consideration.”
In terms of the product sales uptake Stacey felt this would be a “slow burn” in the market. To speed things along they chose to go with a full 360-degree campaign integrating print, trade show displays, email, and video. “The assets were very contextual, we went into seven different environments and created assets for them.”
The biggest difference between this and previous launches, says Stacey, was the inclusion of social media influencers in the strategy. Sabian developed short social media videos with this group. “We targeted drummers on YouTube who had at least 5000 followers and fit that target market. We sent them the product for review but did not try to influence them. We wanted them to have the product.”
And, she adds that they tried to educate the channel as to who it was for and who it was not for.” They did not want to muddy the clear message that FRX is a performance cymbal. That mostly worked she says, adding that they’ve had very few instances where channel partners tried to position the FRX line as practice cymbals. “We did a good job getting the word out, but because the cymbal has holes we did see some chatter online about FRX being Sabian’s response to other company’s practice cymbals. But not too much.”
To measure the campaign Sabian set marketing KPI’s (key performance indicators) and goals for views and sales. Was it a success? “We hit our sales goal by June of 2018” she says with pride.
In addition to the breadth of the campaign Stacey also credits the tag line, “Don’t Hold Back” which was created with their agency. “We wanted to connect with drummers emotionally and that expresses the drummer’s desire to play the way they like to play.”