Launching a new product is a big deal. Along with signaling the culmination of a lot of work, your new product will benefit your customers. You want your customers to hear the news, and you can use the publicity to attract and convert new audiences.
Many companies go beyond their normal marketing activities and throw a product launch event. These events can encourage quick adoption of a new product, increase brand awareness, and boost sales.
What is a product launch event?
A product launch event is a series of activities designed to debut a new product on the marketplace. Product launches can be in-person events, virtual events, or hybrid events, ones that utilize both in-person and digital elements. Product launch events are designed to build excitement around a new product, attract press attention, and build sales momentum among consumers.
How do product launch events benefit your brand?
A successful event can create buzz around a new product, boost sales, and support customer acquisition strategies. Here’s an overview of the benefits:
1. Grow brand awareness
A product launch event can spread awareness about a new product and increase the overall recognition of your brand.
2. Increase sales
A product launch event can boost initial sales and establish momentum for a new-to-market item. Instead of waiting for a new product to catch on, you can leverage an event to generate interest and create immediate demand.
3. Improve customer relationships
A successful event can help you improve your relationship with your customer base by providing positive, memorable experiences that enhance loyalty and foster connections. You can also invite potential customers to your event to support your acquisition strategy.
4. Earn media coverage
Many businesses design events to court media attention and win earned media coverage. A splashy event can get people talking about your company and receive coverage by local or industry news sources, further increasing brand awareness.
Tips for planning a successful product launch event
- Identify your target audience and goals
- Delegate planning duties
- Go virtual (or hybrid)
- Choose the right time and place
- Promote your event
- Provide value
- Encourage engagement
- Follow up
Planning a memorable product launch event can be a significant undertaking. These tips can help you plan and execute a successful event that supports your overall business goals:
Identify your target audience and goals
The first step in throwing a product launch event is identifying your target audience and the event’s goals. These answers dictate the type of event that you throw.
For example, if you own a pet food company and your goal is to increase sales among a broad target market, you might select a flashy product launch idea with the potential to generate media coverage, like a Halloween dog parade. If your goal is to court potential investors, you might instead host an elegant, VIP-only dinner party.
Delegate planning duties
Product launch event planning is time-intensive, and the stakes can be high. For example, serving a seafood stew to a potential investor with a shellfish allergy or failing to clear your Halloween dog parade with relevant city officials can generate negative press for your brand.
Before you start, determine who on your team is responsible for coordinating the event and what kind of support they require. Consider augmenting your staff by hiring a third-party event planner.
Go virtual (or hybrid)
In-person product launch events can be ideal for casual networking and relationship building, but they can also be difficult for far-flung audiences to attend. If your audience is geographically dispersed, consider using a product launch event platform to throw a virtual or hybrid event. You can use a virtual product launch technology to livestream keynotes, play prerecorded videos, and collect valuable information about physical and virtual attendees.
Choose the right time and place
Venue and timing can make or break your product launch event. Consider your target audience's needs and goals. What kind of environment do you need to reach your objectives? What location or timing factors might encourage your audiences to attend?
If you operate as a B2B, you may consider holding an off-site event at a relevant industry trade show or annual conference. Because your audience is already in the area, it’s easier for them to join. You might also consider timing your event around industry-specific holidays. If you’re launching a new line of comfortable, cheerful medical scrubs, for example, you could host an event during National Nurses Week in May and provide free food, drinks, and product samples to nursing professionals.
Be creative with venue selection, too. If you have a brick-and-mortar store or office space, hosting an event on-site can be cost-effective and create a sense of community and encourage involvement among your customer base. If you’re planning an off-site event, match your venue to your audiences. For an upscale clientele, consider a nice restaurant or limited-access club. If your audience is parents of young children, consider a park, public library, or community center (and provide childcare if possible).
Promote your event
Pre-event marketing can create buzz, increase attendance, and maximize your chances of securing press coverage. Use online marketing strategies for social media, email, and search engines. You can also submit your event to local event calendar listings and distribute press releases to relevant media outlets.
If you plan a virtual-only product launch, consider influencer marketing to reach a specific target audience outside a defined geographic area. For example, a company that sells DIY candle-making kits might contract with a social media influencer in the crafting space for a series of social media posts encouraging like-minded enthusiasts to register.
Successful launches provide value to event guests. Value could include networking contacts, free products, food, drinks, education, and, of course, fun—there’s a reason these events can be called product launch parties. Many launch events feature entertainers. DJs and bands are popular options, but you can also consider comedians, acrobats, mind-readers, hypnotists, or even a dance troupe.
To give your event the best chance to make a positive impression on guests, ask yourself what value your event provides and confirm that your answer aligns with your goals and target audience’s needs.
Creating an event hashtag, setting up a photo booth, or running a social media contest can encourage attendees to post about your event on their social media channels. In the social media marketing world, these types of posts are known as user-generated content, and can further increase an event’s exposure.
A follow-up email can express gratitude for your attendees, encourage click-throughs to your website, and even build anticipation for your next event. Consider including a special offer or a discount code to encourage interested customers to further engage with your company.
Ideas for your next product launch event
Product launch events can be formal, zany, or anywhere in between. Here are a few product launch event examples and ideas to inspire your next event:
Throw a theme party
The best product launch event ideas are relevant to your product and have an element of surprise. If you operate in the technology industry, you might embrace the nerdy futurism of a sci-fi themed cocktail party. If you sell mail-order meal kits, consider hosting a cooking competition.
Plan interactive elements
A product launch event doesn’t have to be all keynotes and mingling—consider bringing in lawn games, holding a talent show, or planning a scavenger hunt. These activities can encourage attendees to move out of their comfort zones, form strong memories, and build community. You can even plan an activity around your new product. For example, if you’re launching a new line of washable oil paints, you could cover the walls with canvas and encourage attendees to get artsy.
Court your VIPs
If your event involves multiple audiences, consider planning an exclusive side event for your VIP attendees. If you charge for general admission, you can provide free event tickets for your most valuable guests. You might also host a VIP cocktail hour to provide intimate networking opportunities or premium gift bags to key contacts.
Product launch event FAQ
What are the goals of a launch event?
The main goals of a product launch event are to increase brand awareness and create demand for a newly launched product.
How do I run a product launch event?
If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid product launch event, you can use a virtual event platform to simplify the planning process. Partnering with an experienced corporate event planner can help you execute a successful in-person gathering.
Should attendee feedback be collected after a product launch event?
Yes. Soliciting feedback can help you measure the success of a launch and plan your next event. Consider sending follow-up emails and monitoring guests’ social media posts about the event