This weeks’ guest post comes from Melanie Woodward, the founder and director of www.eventplanningblueprint.com, a business dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs start their own event planning business. You can follow her @eventblueprint.
Planning an event to launch a new product can be a smart marketing move. Even if, as a small business owner, you’ve never organised an event, it’s possible to host one successfully. Use these tips to plan a memorable product launch event and put your product on track for increased sales (and for further help and support, head over to event industry forum EventTribe).
Choose Your Style
Your first task in creating a great product launch event is deciding your best event style. That simply means choosing what kind of event will best reach the people you want to buy your product.
Here’s an example: if your product is gaming software that your market research shows will appeal to college aged men, you wouldn’t host a dressy cocktail party to launch the software. You might, however, host a tech-themed party with gaming stations deployed throughout the venue. The entertainment, food and branding strategy should match your audience, as well.
What kind of event would your target audience attend and enjoy? That’s your first decision and it drives the rest of your planning. From there, it’s a matter of choosing vendors to help create the right atmosphere, within your event budget.
Here are some details to consider once you’ve chosen your event style:
Product Launch Event Venue – Will you host the party at your location or off-site? Your venue choice will be driven by your event style, the number of people you’ll be inviting and whether or not your company’s physical location is part of your branding.
If part of your new product branding is locking your company’s location into the customer’s mind, keep the party on-site. Example: launching your salon’s new spa services should take place where your customers will be coming to enjoy them.
If your company’s physical location isn’t important to your branding, pick a venue that matches the event style.
Product Launch Event Food and Beverage – Your event style also drives your food and beverage choices. A casual setting allows you to serve unfussy, easy to eat snacks, while a more formal party atmosphere should prompt you to serve something a little more upscale.
If your product has a regional or ethnic connection (products from South America, wines from Italy, hand-woven fabrics from India, etc.) you may want to tie that in to what you serve.
If you’re hiring a caterer to bring in and serve food and beverages, ask them to provide you with several menu choices. They are typically on top of new trends in party fare and can steer you away from inappropriate food and beverage choices.
Product Launch Event Entertainment – Decide whether or not to include some kind of entertainment based on the type of product launch event you’re hosting.
Examples: if you’re hosting a large, public product launch event at your retail location, you may decide to use recorded music that appeals to your target audience. On the other hand, if you’re hosting an after work cocktail party for attorneys, you may decide to hire musicians to provide background music.
Use these prompts to begin planning the actual party, and then use the tips below to plan how to showcase your product.
Planning Your Product Launch Event Sales Strategy
Planning your product launch event sales strategy is just as important as planning the venue, food and beverages and entertainment. How will you showcase your new product or service? What types of displays, branding materials and presentations will you require?
Communicate with your staff about what you expect them to be doing during the product launch. Who will be responsible for creating product displays? Will there be a formal presentation sometime during the event, or will you use passive displays to communicate about your product?
Will you provide samples, test drives, videos, brochures, live demonstrations or other sales strategies to inform your guests about your new product line?
A successful product launch event is a blend of entertaining and engaging your potential customers with the goal of selling a product. Sending them home from a great party with no idea what product you were launching is NOT the goal.
Showcasing your new product line to a targeted audience can bring a big boost in sales and customer awareness. Whether or not you’ve ever planned a special occasion, it’s possible to host a successful product launch event.
Use these tips to plan the details, and if you find you don’t have the time, seek the help of a professional event planner and then start working on your event sales strategy.