So you’ve created an amazing new product and ploughed considerable resources into its development. Unfortunately your brilliant shiny new product isn’t going to sell itself. Faced with a huge number of marketing channels in which to develop interest around your product and drive sales, from social media marketing to print advertising, it can be hard to know what works best.
It may or may not surprise you that one of the most effective marketing strategies in our fast moving digital age is in fact one of the oldest; promotional marketing. That is to say, getting out there and actually letting people see and experience your product and one of the most effective ways of doing this is through a product launch event.
In this guide, I want to go through some of the considerations and steps you can take when planning a product launch event that will generate the exposure and buzz your product deserves.
Marketing your Product Launch
A product launch should always fit into your overarching marketing and brand strategy. For this reason, it’s important that you create a proper event plan encompassing everything from pre-event through to the launch itself and on to post event marketing and lead generation. The first step though is deciding how your launch event will be coordinated with the rest of your online and offline marketing campaigns on this particular product launch. Harmonisation and consistency of messaging are both key.
You need to build momentum and buzz through about your product launch event and social media can and should play a big part in this, helping to supplement and build upon your more direct forms of marketing like mailshots, email marketing and radio or print advertising.
Proper customer relationship management (CRM) systems are powerful ways to track and market to interested parties. These systems will help you identify likely prospects from the ‘uncertains’ and ‘unsures’, allowing you to really target more valuable or interested parties. Remember, it’s not just about attracting a large audience. Finding enough people is obviously a prerequisite but finding those have a genuine interest in your product and your brand is the aim of the game here.
Whilst you’ll inevitably want your product launch to increase sales of your product it’s good to have a more specific set of goals to work from. You might want to reach out to distributors for example, or existing customers. Or perhaps you want to attract a completely new demographic to your business.
Who to Invite to your Product Launch Event
After you have thought about how your product fits into your overarching brand strategy and what channels and methods you will employ to build interest in your product, it’s time to think about who you’re going to invite to your product launch event. Finding and selecting attendees will very much come down to the nature of your business and industry and whether you are selling to other businesses (B2B) or the general public (B2C).
Some general questions you should be asking yourself include:
- What are the criteria of the ideal customer for my product?
- Do I have existing marketing lists of potential attendees that meet this criteria?
- How do I reach out to those ideal customers I don’t have contact details for?
- What will make people want to attend my product launch?
- How can I utilise my existing digital assets to promote my event?
Depending on the nature of your business, it’s likely that the best prospects will be your previous or existing customers, as well as anyone who has expressed an interest in your business or industry that you have contact details for (whether it’s through signing up for a newsletter or just following you on Twitter). If you have marketing lists then this will be your first port of call.
The next thing to think about is the key players and influencers in your industry. You want your product launch to attract as much attention as possible so utilising established voices in both industry, local and even mainstream media will be essential. Think of ways you can reach out to these people. What can you offer them in return?
Giving Your Audience a Reason to attend your Event
The flipside of identifying who you want to invite to your event is giving them a reason to attend the event in the first place. This is especially important when it comes to reaching out to established influencers, press or those who could become very lucrative clients or customers.
Good event planning is important here. You must always come across as professional and on your game; a business that is capable and willing to put on a big and impressive show. Depending on your audience and your budget, this could be guest speakers, live music performances, experiential marketing and live product demonstrations.
Another way of giving something back in exchange for attendance and engagement is to create a promotional ‘swag bag’. Promotional marketing tactics like this work a treat but to get it right, you really have to know your audience and be willing to invest in quality promotional merchandise that people will actually appreciate and that you’re happy to give away. Another tactic could be to enter people into a competition to actually win one of your products. This will help with lead generation and will generate genuine buzz and a sense of value and exclusivity around your product.
Venue and Event Logistics
Putting on a product launch requires considerable logistical planning and management. There are a huge number of factors to consider and contingencies to put in place. One of the biggest considerations is choosing a venue, location or a specific trade show in which to promote your event.
If you are exhibiting at a trade show then you have the advantage of someone else doing most of the logistical heavywork for you and an existing audience. The disadvantage of this, of course, is that there’s going to be a lot of other people in the room competing for your target market’s attention. In other words; it’s not all about you.
Another logistical consideration is event scheduling. Making sure your event isn’t clashing with any other large industry events (or non industry for that matter) is important. You will need to create a timetable for the day and make sure everyone involved in your event, from your own event team, any outsourced workers, the venue and speakers, etc know what is happening when.
I could go on for a very long time with the multitude of considerations you need to bear in mind, but suffice to say that it pays to create a proper project plan so you can keep on top of things, from budgeting to marketing to logistics.
I want to leave you with a final word on post event planning. It’s all too easy to see your product launch as the culmination of all your planning, but really it is just one stage in an ongoing marketing process. It’s important to keep this in mind and to have the structures and systems in place to follow up on leads and continue build buzz and get your product out there.