Too often a product launch is little more than a product with a party hastily tacked on to it. And, whilst this is all very fun and good for some media exposure it does very little for the product itself.
The use of an experiential marketing company (such as Hotcow for instance…) can ensure a range of beneficial aspects to any launch event. Here’s why.
First and foremost you can guarantee that any experiential marketing agency worth its salt will heavily research your company’s background, aim and target market. They will then source and select a venue that can best promote these aspects of your business. From rural settings promoting your green credentials to inner city spaces highlighting the edgy nature of your product a proper experiential agency can make sure even the venue works hard to promote your product.
Coupled with this almost subliminal form of marketing is the fact that location selection can provide publicity in its own right – your launch party press releases will likely only raise mild interest within the media if they are of a common or garden nature (and there’s plenty of that) but when they indicate something more unusual in the offing…well, you’ll find yourself with many more journalists to cope with – and that’s a good thing.
Once the selection of your venue has been taken care of the planning of the event itself is the next stage. Here too your brand can tacitly re-enforce its credentials as well as providing some excellent research figures and enormous amounts of brand awareness and interaction.
A great deal of market research is available at launch events – from the public, from journalists…actually from anyone and everyone. Here a good experiential agency will make sure that there are facilities for anonymous product comment (this can be dressed up in any way you please – you don’t have to have a booth saying “Tell Us What You Think!” sitting in the middle of the floor) and also roaming operatives covertly engaging people in conversation ascertaining product opinion. Think of it as an enjoyable exercise in industrial espionage.
Whilst this covert and public market research is going on it’s also prudent to be carrying out brand interactivity and awareness exercises. These can range from product handling/tasting experiences to ad hoc demonstrations by carefully selected hired brand ambassadors. The experiential agency involved should have researched your target market and likely attendees and determined the interactive events likely to connect best with them.
Staff selection is also an important part of any launch event and we would suggest that the experiential agency should be in charge of this too. A good agency will have a selection of staff provision companies that it regularly works with and who are guaranteed to provide a very high standard. Remember, it is often the staff demonstrating and distributing your product or making your launch run smoothly that are the first human point of contact for potential customers.
As a result it’s important that your staffing at launch events is clearly and carefully thought through – you’ll want them to embody all that is desirable about your brand or the lifestyle you’re promoting.
Beyond these basics there are other things that you can and should be doing with a launch event. You want to make it stick in the minds of the attendees (and, indeed, the media) so set about preparing packs to be taken home. These should contain samples, information and absolutely anything else that you think is relevant – this is nowhere near as tacky as it sounds and can genuinely achieve results.
Finally, make sure you get the timing right! It’s no use hosting a late night launch if your target market is likely to be in bed – similarly there’s no point in a daytime event if your consumers are at work. Make sure you do your research well and fit in the launch event hours with the free time of your intended customers.
This works on a wide scale too – research the competition and the date in general. You want as little as possible clashing with your event. Not only would this, potentially, decrease the number of event attendees (and there is nothing more disheartening and damaging than a poorly attended launch) but other events could very well cut into your media inches.
And that is how to plan a launch party for maximum effectiveness – one of our specialities at Hotcow. If the pressure is too much for you, get in touch with us.