When a new product or offering is ready to enter the world, it's our job as marketers to create hype and excitement around it.
Product launch events are the perfect way to do that—however, there are lots of choices to make around how you execute a product launch, and planning one can feel overwhelming, even when you've got a sizable team behind you.
Throw a virtual product launch into the mix—where you can't physically interact with attendees in the same space—and you've got your work cut out for you.
When it comes to product launch events, the more creative (yet still relevant!), the better—and a strong event platform can help you pull off excellent virtual product launches.
Read on to learn:
A product launch event is a thoughtfully planned, carefully designed marketing initiative designed to generate buzz and build anticipation around a new product that's hitting the market.
If you've seen commercials advertising Apple's latest iPhone offering, that's all part of their product launch marketing efforts—the company wants to pique your interest before the product lands on shelves, and advertisements are just one way they accomplish that.
A product launch event can almost be thought of as a culmination of product launch efforts—the "Game Day" scenario in which people will get to officially put eyes, or even hands, on your product and see it in action.
Product launch events can take a number of forms, from live demonstrations to virtual events. Typically, the event starts with someone from the company explaining the product and its benefits and features, before going into a short demonstration. Later, people can ask questions about the product and possibly try it for themselves.
👀Want to see a product launch event in action? Check out Goldcast’s recent AI Summit, our product launch event tied to our newest AI tool, Content Lab!
Virtual product launches offer a range of creative possibilities. Here are some suggestions to get you started for your next product launch event:
Host a live virtual event during which you can showcase the features and benefits of the product. Promote the event (and product) ahead of time with compelling product teasers, and be sure to leave your potential customers plenty of time to ask questions and share information with each other.
Allow your attendees a chance to use the product themselves! This type of launch has the added benefit of giving you genuine user feedback on the product or revealing any frequently asked questions your customer support team might need to address.
Host a launch party online (you might even go live, depending on which of the social media platforms you use) so that people can tune in for live updates, product teasers, and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks. You could also create a branded hashtag specific to the product launch and use it during this time, or deploy the hashtag in conjunction with your virtual product demos or other online events.
This functions similarly to the product demo, except that your attendees are working together on a hands-on project or to achieve a goal. Giving people a task, and allowing them to work on it as a group or in teams, helps people learn more about your product's functionality than they may on a self-guided test drive. Plus, it's fun for your audience to meet each other!
Are there any influencers or industry heavyweights that use, or might want to use, your product? If you can get an influencer to promote your product, you may be able to reach a huge target audience of potential buyers. You can also create promotional materials featuring the influencer to use throughout your product launch campaign.
⭐Influencer showcase example: We invested in this product launch tactic by hosting Devin Reed, Head of Content at Clari and content marketing influencer, on our AI Summit session Event Content Repurposing: The Next Frontier in AI.
Here's a quick roundup of launches that have caught our attention in the last few years. See if anything they've done inspires you to try something new for your next product launch!
Apple hosted a virtual event from Apple Park as its first event of 2021. Throughout the hour-long presentation, the company launched multiple products, including the revolutionary AirTag item tracker.
Developed as a response to the popularity of Apple's "Find My" feature, AirTags allow users to track their things, no matter where they are. "The next time the couch eats your keys," an Apple leader says to the camera, "AirTag will help find them!"
The company even partnered with Hermes to create exclusive leather AirTag products, appealing to the brand- and fashion-conscious segments of their audience and helping them reach a wider network through Hermes's network!
The entire video hour included a mix of explanations, demos, and commercials to get folks excited about the different products and their respective capabilities. After the event ended, the replay was available, with markers to indicate which product was being discussed at a given time during the video.
Calendly pushed some fun branding around a seasonally spooky message: Avoid the Frankenstack, which is what happens when you have a ton of apps that don't work well together!
Their October launch event promoted the Calendly x Microsoft ecosystem, showing attendees that Calendly can effectively integrate into their existing tech stacks without creating a disaster of Frankenstein-sized proportions. A current customer was present to discuss his experience with Calendly, and the team also promoted some sneak peeks of new features.
After the main portion of the event, Calendly's solutions engineers were available to answer any technical questions from the audience.
If you want to reach more people, think about what kind of giveaway would entice them to come. In the case of Bill.com, the company was well aware that expense reports are a real pain in the butt—and something that could offset that pain is a zero gravity recliner massage chair.
That's right: Attendees of the live demo were entered to win a state-of-the-art massage chair, and they got to see the BILL Spend & Expense functionality, designed to simplify expense reporting.
We have to admit that just the prospect of winning that massage chair moved some of us to sign up, so relevant giveaways really do work to enhance your product launch event!
Sometimes, it's possible to weave a product launch into a larger-scale event. This was true of our AI Summit, which we used to promote our Content Lab—the first AI-powered studio to turn events into a multichannel content strategy.
The premise of our AI Summit centered around how marketers can better understand and harness the power of AI. We offered five valuable sessions about AI, bringing in info about Content Lab and how it works whenever it made sense.
This strategy is more of a subtle product launch; attendees learned about the new offering, but it wasn't as front and center as it might be during other product launch events.
Catch all sessions of our AI Summit on-demand now!
This summer, Pure Storage hosted a really creative webinar that you don't see often—a "retirement party" to celebrate the hard work put in by disk-based storage. 😂
The event announcement read like a true retirement party, building on the irony and unique twist of the event. "After all," it stated, "spinning in circles for a living has to be exhausting."
And what's next? The company takes the opportunity to promote an all-flash platform, at a price comparable to disk. They invited folks to take part in the "roast" of disk-based storage and to collectively usher in the dawn of a new way to do business.
Virtual product launches have a number of benefits, as well as their own challenges, as illustrated in the chart below.
As you can see, neither type of event is a "one size fits all" solution. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons against your unique situation to decide whether virtual or in-person makes sense for your product launch event.
If you're new to the product launch game, this might seem like a lot of information to keep track of. Never fear! We're here to show you the way, starting with some of the most common do's and don'ts when it comes to product launches.
Do find out if there will be a beta testing period beforehand. If there will be, have a customer who was involved in the testing process at your kickoff event to talk about their experience and what they loved about the product.
Don't forget to keep your product team looped in! You might not be used to including your product folks in your event planning process, but make sure they're clued in to what you're up to. You never want to unintentionally misinterpret or misrepresent something about the product!
Do have product team members present for the event. This ties back to keeping product people involved, every step of the way. Product reps can answer any of the more technical questions that come up during the Q&A portion of your event.
Don't leave people without a CTA. What do you want people to do after the launch? Maybe you're urging people to connect with your sales team or to take another step to experience the product. Whatever it is, make the CTA clear for your demographic.
Do prepare a FAQ before the event.If questions have been coming up during any of your product events or beta testing, compile those, along with other questions you anticipate, into a document to make it easier for your host to answer.
Don't neglect the sales follow-up process. Leads coming out of a product launch event are hot, hot, hot! Make sure your sales team is ready and waiting to act on them. During your pre-event preparation, be sure that you spend ample time on the sales follow-up process–don’t let it wait until the last minute!
Do follow up after the product launch. Beyond your sales team follow-up, be sure you thank people for attending and provide them, once again, with the desired action you want them to take. You can also send out additional resources they might find helpful.
Don't overwhelm your audience. While zipping through multiple products in one hour worked for Apple, you have to have Apple-level credibility to get away with that! It's usually best to stay focused on one product and its top features during a launch event.
By keeping these best practices in mind, you're well on your way to taking your product launch events to the next level!
Selecting a strong event marketing platform can lighten the lift significantly when it comes to virtual product launch events.
Long before you go live in front of an audience, Goldcast has you covered with customizable, brandable event landing pages and registration forms—so your audience sees you and not your event platform. That's the best way to make a lasting impression!
And, when it's event time, Goldcast offers interactive engagement features designed to keep your audiences connected with your brand. If you experience any technical issues, our dedicated support team is also waiting to back you up and get you back online right away.
Then, after every event, your team has immediate access to valuable ROI-related metrics, including influenced and generated pipeline—so you can always point directly to the value of your events program. Goldcast integrates with your most-used applications to make reporting and analytics a breeze.