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Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition by Michael A. Stelzner

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Router Launch: Promotion Through Play

Up to that point, the traditional product launch went something like this:

1. Fly in more than 100 executives and press members from 100 countries to headquarters in San Jose, California.

2. Take a few hours of the CEO's or an executive's time to prep and present.

3. Distribute well-crafted—but static—press releases to key media.

4. E-mail customers.

5. Run print ads in major business newspapers and magazines.

For its Aggregated Services Router (ASR) launch, Cisco aimed to execute entirely online leveraging social media, and in doing so, engage network engineers in a more interactive, fun way.

Cisco met its audience where they were—in online venues and the gaming world. Here's how:

Second Life

The company built a stage with big-screen monitors, chairs for the audience, and palm trees for its flagship launch event—entirely in a Second Life environment. It then piped in video of executives presenting the ASR.

Network engineers or the press could board their own “personal transport device” to surf through a virtual router.

To generate prelaunch buzz, the team held a concert in Second Life, featuring eight bands over seven hours.

An executive presented the new ASR in a live Second Life event.

A 3D Game

More than 20,000 network engineers learned as they played a 3D game, wherein they “defended the network” using the ASR. (Research shows that 17 to 18 percent of IT professionals play games online every day.) Top scorers went on to a championship ...

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