In the face of everything that goes into designing and producing a new product, planning a launch event can seem overwhelming on top of it all. Companies sometimes forego the face-to-face to focus on digital marketing, but by neglecting this powerful tool, you could be hurting the product and your profit margins.
A successful launch event can significantly affect your sales and reputation as a brand. It can give you a platform to discuss your product with a niche group—or broaden your market by inviting attendees from a variety of different arenas. A launch event can also get media attention, which can result in even better profits.
Consider who you want to attend your launch. Will you have press, buyers, or mix of both? If you want the press to attend, give them enough lead time and access to the product to ensure that they can do their jobs properly. Provide them with the information they need, and let them work. Press room pods or a social media lounge are always welcome.
If you are catering to consumers, draw them in with chance to play with your product or some kind of discount. If you want to go the party route, inviting a local figurehead or a well-known celebrity to attend or advocate for your product can also attract a crowd (and the celebrity is likely to generate some free media coverage, too).
Where to Hold It?
The setting and design of your launch event sets the mood for attendees. If you have a product specific to a lifestyle, reflect that lifestyle. For example, a cutting-edge technology launch might fit better with modern furniture in a contemporary nightclub, rather than in a coffeehouse. Common sense, right? The old real estate adage — “location, location, location”—applies to your launch as well. Select a venue that connects with your product; if it was created in the San Francisco Bay area, book a location there. If your product started in a garage or loft, you could speak with your creative team about recreating that setting. The more novel—and appropriate—your venue, the more your attendees will be impressed and feel connected to the product and your brand.
Scheduling your launch in conjunction with a trade show can make good sense when the people you want to reach are already going to be there. But keep in mind that attendees can be busy and distracted. It can be worth thinking beyond normal press conferences or cocktail parties, and arrange an event that, with proper planning, can rise above the noise.
Guests Come First
Whether you invite just press, only niche consumers, a large variety of both, or send out a local blast inviting any and all, the attendees at your event are there to enjoy themselves. To throw a proper launch for your product, make sure it’s well catered and well planned, providing food (at least hors d'oeuvres) and refreshments. Encourage attendees to get comfortable, enjoy themselves, and spend time at the event. The longer they attend, the more likely they are to absorb information about your product, resulting in a purchase or at least a new advocate for your product and brand.
Launching a product can be a time-consuming venture, and you have one chance to make a first impression. If you don’t have the resources in-house, hire an agency that can work through the logistics and coordination, as well as event management, and is well-equipped to handle and reroute any troubles that arise. All you need to do is focus on what is important: your potential buyers and your new-to-market product.
The success of a product is often determined within the first few months of its launch. Why not give it the best start you can?
VDA Productions is an experiential events company based in Boston. Recently, VDA produced the general sessions for the Financial and Insurance Conference Professionals Annual Conference in San Diego.