Once you have your first physical product ready for sale, likely you want to host a launch event to get your baby out into the world. Perfecting your product launch is the first step in recouping all your development costs, which, as you can see in this graphic, means you can start moving toward generating a profit. Perfecting your product launch also jumpstart your marketing efforts by generating awareness and positive associations related to your product.
What is a product launch event?
A launch event allows you to invite the media and influencers, as well as your target market (at least a small element of this market) to build awareness of your new product. Launch events are a lot of work – but have a big payoff. Once you perfected your product launch strategy you can use those insights every time you have a new product launch. You now have a template to follow, which makes each subsequent product launch easier and more successful.
Personalizing your product launch to your product and your audience is a skill you develop with experience. You can use all of your market research and follow-up analytics to ensure everything you do in future launches meets the needs of your target.
Perfecting your product launch starts long before the event with sneak peeks of your new product “leaked” to social media, press releases to highlight the benefits of your new product, and other efforts to build excitement for the launch. You might even set up a countdown clock to further create excitement for the launch. Steve Jobs was the master of the product launch. When he launched the first iPhone, he nearly broke the internet. Here’s the video from what some call the best product launch ever.
A product launch takes exquisite planning and flawless implementation — bringing together a host of disparate parts into a seamless party, whether online or in a physical space. It is the introduction to all your hard work and a big part of all that’s to come from the product.
Perfecting your product launch early
Whether online or in a physical space, starting your product launch online vastly impacts your success. Combining online and offline marketing efforts both before and immediately after launch determines, to a large extent, the success (or failure) of your product. For instance, before Twitter launched at SXSW in 2007, billed as the spring break for geeks, Twitter discovered many of its users (numbering only in the thousands) planned to attend the event and figured they had a good shot of creating buzz by marketing there.
The unique concept behind Twitter required a unique product launch where users could passively observe the social platform in action to drive subscriptions rather than launch into a complex demonstration. Thus, rather than a traditional product launch using a booth at the event, Twitter set up TVs in the hallways (at a cost of only $11,000), which is where “all the action” was, according to the founders. As new subscribers joined (using an SMS text rather than the signup we’re used to), they’d show up on the TV screens throughout the venue and were assigned followers from other attendees who signed up at the event. This launch event is credited with the later success of Twitter, as well as other social platforms that followed Twitter’s lead.
Other brands harness the power of the internet at physical product launches by setting up a photo booth or some type of game requiring users to sign into one of their social profiles. Then, photos from the event or results from their performance on games show up to all their followers, along with the launch hashtag.
Perfecting your product launch takes planning
You must account for a myriad of issues as part of your product launch including:
- who to invite
- where to host the event
- how to spread the word
- the schedule of events at the party
- followup after the event
To help you in perfecting your product launch, let’s take these issues one at a time.
Who to invite
When you consider the list of attendees for the product launch event, you need market research to identify key elements of your target market as well as knowing who the movers and shakers are in your niche. It’s not enough to just invite big names; you must cater the event to your target market, just as Twitter chose SXSW based on their research with users already signed up for the platform.
What do they enjoy? Where does your product fit into their lives? How can you ensure that the launch is something they want to talk about?
Building a persona (see example below) for each prototypical consumer in your target market really helps as you work toward perfecting your product launch.
Make sure your event focuses on prospective customers, not the product.
It is essential to create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) around the event to encourage folks invited to the event to RSVP and actually show up for the launch. Make sure that invitations are a coveted item. Exclusivity is one of the biggest drivers for making people want to contact you even if you manufacture the exclusivity rather than the event being truly exclusive.
Make your event invite-only exclusive, and those who attend will feel a sense of belonging that encourages them to talk about your product.
Where to host the event
Consider all the factors associated with where to host the event from availability on your desired date(s), ease of access to the venue, any limits on what you can and can’t do at the venue, approved caterers, and requirements for the party’s success.
You need to consider every facet of the venue from the critical, such as high-speed WIFI access, to the mundane, such as portable rental toilets, since you want attendees enjoying the party and interacting rather than waiting in line for the bathroom. Does the venue have sufficient power? What furniture and accessories do you need to bring (don’t forget the little things like tablecloths).
If the venue offers planners, consider using them. Most venues will at least offer advice that lists everything you need to consider to host a great party. Try to choose a venue related to your product, as Twitter did with SXSW so that the link to the lifestyle it fits into is clear.
How to spread the word
This is a consideration both before and after the event. Beforehand, offer to guest post on blogs related to your product, as well as reach out to the media, including podcasts, to offer an appearance from your leadership team. Use social media to spread the word about the product launch and be sure to send an email to build excitement for the event.
Schedule of the event
Setting up a minute-by-minute schedule for the event helps ensure you accomplish the goals of your launch party while also adding to the list of elements you need to bring to the venue. Start your timeline well before the event, provide great detail regarding everything happening every minute of the event, and follow up after the event.
Once you have a confirmed guest list, you need to make sure everyone feels like they are unique. One of the key ways is to have named gift bags, named seating plans, and provide a personalized experience.
Ahead of the event, ensure that everything you send the attendees has their name on it. If you are serving food and drinks – make sure you know who can drink, who can’t or doesn’t, allergies, and more so everyone feels included.
No matter how large your event is, make sure you meet and greet everyone as they arrive and check in with them later. Make your leadership team available, not just lower-level employees as it’s special when a leader greets you at the door.
While you focus on making sure your attendees receive a personalized experience, your product should be woven into the fabric of the event. Stay true to your brand; you don’t need to oversell something that is high-quality and works well.
Find the points where your product and your audience align and spell it out for them. Stay true to your vision and brand at all points during the event.
The follow-up of the event should be as dedicated and personalized as the rest of it. Ensure that you thank everyone for coming, ask if there is anything you can do for them after the event, recognize their efforts to spread the word such as Tweeting the hashtag or sharing images from the event, and ask for feedback.
If you are ready to take 2022 by storm, check out: 8 Marketing Trends to Rock Your Business in 2022.
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