How to Plan a Product Launch Event

29th March 2019
How to Plan a Product Launch Event

A product launch event has one aim; to sell your new product. The sales may not happen directly at the event, but whatever the product or event format, it will eventually have to result in sales.

Your launch event may be happening to educate your customers. It may be happening to educate a new market segment about who you are and what you can offer to them. It may be there to showcase something new to the assembled reporters, reviewers and influencers. Maybe it needs to do all of the above.

If you need to make your product launch event a success, there are seven steps you need to consider, so below we talk you through how to throw the ultimate product launch party. 

Target audience

At The Great Barn, we’ve staged product launch events of all types. We’ve hosted for computer software launches, new vehicles, confectionary products, farm machinery and even a beer relaunch.

The one thing each of them has in common; they all have their own unique audience.

In developing your new product you will have spent a lot of time and effort on finding a niche market for it. You will have tailored the product, its features and benefits to the intended audience and hopefully you’ll have found a suitable gap in the market, meaning your competition is low.

Now that you are planning your launch event, your job is to entice your chosen market segment to the event. This is rule number one of throwing a product launch party; plan it so that it appeals and ‘speaks to’ the audience that your product is intended for. Get this bit right and making the rest of the planning decisions will be much easier.

Venue

Knowing your audience makes choosing a suitable venue a lot easier. There are a few factors in helping to work out the best venue:

Location

Is your target audience located in a certain city / region, or will they be travelling from far and wide? If it’s the former, then obviously basing the launch event in the target city is a no-brainer. For the latter, choose a location that sits close to travel hubs. Easy access by train, road and possibly even airports will make your venue convenient for as wide an audience as possible.

Venue style

This decision goes hand-in-hand with choosing a ‘theme’ for your event (the next section in this article), but essentially if you’re audience is conservative and not interested in gimmicks, choose a venue where the style is unobtrusive. If your product appeals to a style-conscious audience, choose a venue that communicates a message for you.

A grand Georgian building will communicate luxurious, deliberate design. An ‘arts and crafts’ style building will communicate tradition and craftsmanship. Or perhaps you’d like to make a statement by hosting your product launch in a brutalist building; communicating boldness and strength.

Size

Obviously, if you’re planning a launch event for 1,000 people, you need a venue that can cater for all of them. Likewise, if your event is going to be smaller, don’t book a venue that will look empty with only a few people in there!

Theme

We’ve already touched on how the choice of building for the venue can help to guide the theme of the event. You’ll also want to think about how you add touches to the venue to introduce a theme.

There are countless options when it comes to theming your event, but the most important thing to do is not lose sight of the fact that this event is happening to showcase your new product.

Whatever you choose by way of a theme you must make sure that the product remains the star of the show. It’s not uncommon for a theme to include music and dance, but all the while ensuring that your product stays in focus. Make this the case by combining any performances with videos showcasing your product at the same time.

Also consider dress-code as part of your theme. Many product launches will be informal, guests can turn up wearing whatever they are comfortable in and interact with your new product. Sometimes though, you may wish to make a statement by insisting on a formal dress code and treating the event as something a little special.

Entertainment

The aim of providing product launch entertainment is to make your event memorable. If you successfully make your event memorable, your guests are more likely to remember your product favourably.

Entertainment can come in many shapes and sizes, so again, refer to your target audience. If the tone is light-hearted a comedian may fit the bill. Looking to make a visual impact, you can put on a dance and music show. The key thing is to use entertainment to enhance the experience at the event, rather than to overshadow the product itself.

Refreshments

Snacks, street food, sit down meal or branded cupcakes. Yet again, the overall theme and audience for your event will help you to decide on how to serve refreshments. If location is key to your product, serve food and drink that also comes from the same location.

If your launch is intended to be international, then a street food style service is an easy way to introduce different styles of food. If you need something a little more on-brand, companies such as the Custom Cookie Co specialise in making branded sweet treats that never fail to make recipients smile.

Social media

An event is an excellent time to leverage the power of social media marketing. Depending on who your audience is, they may enjoy sharing details of where they are, particularly if they feel special for having been invited.

Ramp up the excitement by highlighting the exclusivity of the event. Offer the opportunity for attendees to get a rare chance to try your new product ahead of anyone else, something they’ll be all-too-keen to tell their friends about online.

Make your product showcase photo friendly. Social media posts work well when combined with a striking snap, so encourage your guests to take photographs whilst they interact with your new product.

It also helps to make it easy to describe your product and event in a short sentence. If your guests can get the message across in a single tweet, make sure your event messaging and collateral encourages this.

Having an event hashtag is also a good idea. It serves as a way of tracking what people have had to say about your product and event.

Post event & sales strategy

Back to the main aim; sales. Your event is there to launch your product in the hope that you can kick-start the sales. Immediately after the event is a perfect time to reinforce the fact that your product is for sale.

It’s an excellent time to follow up via email, perhaps offering an exclusive deal on the new product as a thank you for attending.

Perhaps you filmed the event, in which case, slice up the video and continue to share it online via your website and social media profiles. If you took the chance to interview delegates, share what they had to say.

If you follow these simple steps, a product launch event can be an incredibly useful way to launch something new to your target customers. Perhaps you need to have a meeting with your team to get the planning underway, in which case, check out our guide to 16 ‘out of the box’ meeting ideas.