King of the product launch, Steve Jobs, had a special style of his own when it came to introducing new innovations to the market. He had no need for expensive sets, lighting effects or flashy digital displays. His approach was always simple, personal and cleanly executed. Every product had a story behind it and he told that story. Each new gadget was given a personality which the audience could relate to and they left the event wanting it. But unquestionably the greatest factor to his launch success was in the preparation and lead up to each event. As with every great marketing campaign, he hatched a plan and he stuck closely to it.
In 1997 when talking about product development, he offered a noteworthy piece of advice:
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward technology – not the other way around.”
This applies as much to the inauguration of the product as to its development. Thinking first and foremost about what the audience or customer needs, desires and wants gives clear direction to the process of effectively building market presence. A product launch feeds understanding, creates anticipation and triggers momentum in sales. But is this the best way to boost sales for your product?
WHY LAUNCH A PRODUCT?
If you want to obtain as much attention as possible for your product or service, you need to put forth effort to make your public aware. Obviously the more you put into developing a strategy to let your customers know firstly that your product exists, but also that they need to be aware of its benefits, the greater your sales and more profitable the campaign will be. Not only this but you also want to make an impact or improve the lives of people with what you offer. And eventually you want to have a place in the market, a share in the overall demand for your type of product or service. This will only happen if you create brand awareness and encourage people to buy it. The greater the number of purchases, the more your business will strengthen and grow whilst expanding the product line.
Copywriter and Communications strategist, Ray Edwards who also writes for the New York times offers a word of caution. “I believe just about everyone needs to learn how to do a product launch. Now mind you, a product launch is different from a product release. Product releases are often flat and disappointing for everyone …product launches are usually exciting, fun and profitable for everyone…”
How can you launch your product rather than release it?
THE PRODUCT LAUNCH TOOLKIT
- Get to know your audience – How do they relate to your product? How is it a solution for them? How can you best communicate with them to create awareness?
- Get advice about your product – listen to early consumers feedback. Ask friends and employees how you can improve/adjust/enhance what you offer.
- Check out the competition – how are similar companies marketing their product? Take note of the successes and incorporate these into your strategy.
- Build a relationship with customers on Social Media – send informative messages and give them opportunities to interact with the product. Nurture your VIP fanbase of passionate consumers who are happy to big you up.
- Hunt out your target audience at conferences and trade shows to hand out exclusive invites to the launch.
- Cultivate brand ambassadors – any well established professional or celebrity whose interests align with your business that can give your product credibility.
- Create a pre-launch video campaign – show on social media or your website to build brand awareness and generate anticipation.
- Include a landing page on your website to collect email addresses of all interested parties and then use these to offer special incentives for referrals to friends and family.
- Host Webinars – these are live web-based video conferences that enable interaction with viewers all over the world to discuss a topic or demonstrate a new product. Q&A sessions are encouraged at the end of the presentations for the audience to learn more or offer feedback.
- Turn your product launch into an event.
Once you’ve made good use of your Product Launch Toolkit the hard work is complete. For the actual reveal itself all you need to do is make a few choices and ensure you book in assistance from other professionals.
THE PRODUCT LAUNCH EVENT
Choose a theme
How does this fit in with your business ethos, your product and your consumer? A theme to your event will create intrigue, assist in keeping to budget and help to make your launch memorable.
Choose a venue
Will your customers want to attend and enjoy your chosen launch location? Will it be onsite or offsite? If new spa facilities are being launched, then it would make sense to host your event at the premises.
The food and drink chosen should be consistent with the style of event. If it’s a low-key casual party hosting a small number of guests, then finger food and sparkling wine and beverages would suffice. A larger, seated affair may require a separate room offering buffet food and a selection or drinks.
If budget allows, hire a caterer who will be au fait with what to provide. They can also advise on ethnic food that will cash in on the theme of the product or event.
Music is a must with any size of event. It can either be pre-recorded and just be playing in the background to create a calming atmosphere. Or you can hire musicians who can play live as a spectacle.
Guest speakers are always entertaining providing your launch with something special for your audience to take away. Options include a celebrity speaker who is interested in your product and knows something about it or you can draw on an employee, who is an eloquent speaker, to talk all about their involvement with the project.
If your speaker is to address the audience from a platform or stage, printed banners are an effective and professional way to create a set. Pop up stands and counters can also be used to advertise your product at the event and to use as a base in distributing leaflets, flyers or brochures. Posters are ideal for not only promoting your product or brand in a stylish way or as signage for your audience to find the venue.
Whatever your printing and designing needs Roller Banners are on hand by phone or website to give advice and produce printed material for your special event.
Steve Jobs may have aced it when it came to building anticipation and the big reveal, your product launch can also come up trumps if you draw on his experience and example!