Whether you love Apple or hate it, you have to admit one thing – Steve Jobs knew how to get people hyped for his products. The man had a way with words and a gift for the stage, such that he was able to host some of the world’s most memorable product launches and announcements with little more than a stage, a microphone, and his trademark black turtleneck. While you probably won’t be able to get people as hyped as Mr. Jobs could, there’s no reason you can’t still host a few awesome product launches of your own.
See, most major brands, when they’re planning to release a new product or service, don’t simply ship the product to the stores with a bit of marketing. They don’t simply fire and forget.
When launching a new product, a brand will usually host a launch event, they throw a party; they do something unique that’ll get people hyped for whatever they’ve got to offer.
Inc.com gives the example of Dave Dickinson, CEO of Massachusetts based startup Zeo. Back in 2009, his company developed a new product known as The Personal Sleep Coach. Though confident in the product’s value, they were having a bit of trouble on the marketing side of things.
“We had to introduce the Personal Sleep Coach in a way that it was clear that it was a breakthrough innovation,” Dickinson told Inc. “We asked ourselves, how do we get people talking about it with each other?”
The answer, of course, was a launch event, uniquely tailored to the product. Zeo, wanting investors and invitees to experience their product firsthand, invited everyone to the Standard Hotel in Manhattan. Attendees were invited to spend the night in the hotel, free of charge – and with a Personal Sleep Coach in every room.
“Sometimes, an event can provide an environment that is unique to the product use,” explained Dickinson. “It can be quite powerful.”
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that not every new product release requires an over-the-top launch event. Though it can be tempting to shout from the rooftops whenever your brand does something new, it can be hard to get people interested – hard to get them to bother showing up. For that reason, you need to be absolutely certain what you’ve got is awesome enough to warrant a full-scale event.
What Purpose Are You Trying To Achieve? Are you hosting a trade event for key influencers in your industry? A media event for the press? A consumer event to get your customers stoked? You’re going to need to choose one of the three – keep your target audience narrow, or you risk diluting your message.
Where Will You Host It? The answer to this question needs to be tied to your target audience. Where are most of the people you’re inviting located? You want to run the event as close to them as you possibly can.
When Will You Host It? Timing is everything with a product launch, more so than any other event. If you’re releasing a new toy or consumer gadget, for example, consider running your event during the late summer or the holiday season – a time during which your target audience will be most interested in purchasing.
Why Should People Go? Earlier in the piece, I talked about Apple and Steve Jobs. People always attended Apple’s product launches and announcements. The company had a reputation for awesome innovations, and Jobs was always an entertaining orator. Unless you have the advantage of someone like Jobs in your business, you’re going to need to provide something unique and targeted to your audience – something that’ll make people want to go besides the fact that you’re launching a new product.
How Will You Follow Up Afterwards? Here’s one step that a lot of new businesses forget. After you’ve hosted your launch event, you need to follow up with the people who attended. The launch party is only the beginning – it’s the messaging and communication after the fact that’s truly important.
No matter what type of business you’re running, you should never underestimate the power of a launch party. Done right, a launch event can get people hyped up for your new product, and give it an edge on the market before it even releases. Done wrong, and it’s a waste of time and money for everyone involved.
Make sure you do it right.