Are you thinking of launching a new product or a new service? Are you looking for ways to advertise or market the new product or service?
Why not create a marketing campaign around the launch and get more bang for your buck? You can submit press releases about the progress of the launch – a before and after story – and get more mileage out of the campaign.
Small business owners often introduce new products without any sizzle or excitement only to be bewildered when forecasted sales never materialize. There a number of reasons why the forecasts are not met: Customers did not hear about the new product or service; customers did not understand the value or merit of the new product or service; customers made inaccurate assumptions about the product or service which meant customers did not want to buy it; customers assumed the product or service wasn’t anything new or special or different than the last product that you offered; customers didn’t think they could afford the new product or service.
- All of these reasons for low sales could have been prevented if an event with a little sizzle had been planned ahead of time.
- Create an event around a new product launch (or new service): Make a plan.
- Plan a theme, guest list, entertainment (to support the theme) and advertising.
Choose a theme that is fun, quirky, unusual, or “out of the box”:
Think sizzle. Think awards night with special guests and presentations; think power point presentations; think outstanding door prizes and contests; think big.
Look for ways to introduce the benefits to the public (your customers). Features of a new product are important but benefits can make the customer’s life easier, more relaxing, more fun, and compel the customer to buy the product. Spend some time and write up a list of the features and the benefits. Now look for ways to create an event around those benefits. For example, if a product saves you time…more time to party or to relax. More time to travel…why not plan an event around a world destination. Invite customers to a party planned around an exotic destination.
If you are a kitchen supplies store, you might host a “high tea” with special guests to act as hosts (perhaps quasi-celebrities)…the theme would reflect a high tea with desserts on tiered trays (trays, teapots, tea cups, platters that you stock, of course). The store’s displays would reflect accoutrements to make tea, as well as blends of tea, and desserts – displayed on white linen tablecloths (which you stock, of course). Staff might dress the store’s windows as well, with lettered signs (8″ by 11″ invitations) in frames nestled amongst the display to highlight the upcoming tea party. Your event should include tea tastings, health benefits of tea, how to make a proper cup of tea, demonstrations and handouts. A tagline might read “You’re Invited – The Queen can’t make it, but the Mayor is pouring tea at three.”
Once you’ve chosen a theme for the event (that suits the product launch), create a tagline around the theme. A creative theme is a must for any event, but a tagline can be part of the marketing strategy to advertise the event and capture attention.
A creative tagline will set the tone for the event – use it on posters, banners, website, ezine, newsletter, press release headlines and invitations to your event. (And in window displays.)
How do you get more mileage out of a marketing campaign? Build anticipation for your event. Have you heard of “ear lugs”? Ear lugs are those small ads that usually sit at the top margin of the newspaper page above the print. A small ear lug or small banner that hints at your coming event (be concise) can build anticipation: “Psst…coming soon…tea with the Mayor.”
Develop a marketing strategy that includes hints in your newsletters, ezines, website and signage in store displays – anything that supports the theme in an eye-catching way.
You can even add a “before” the event and an “after” the event to your marketing strategy; perhaps a funny blog, press release or story about your failed attempts to find a host to pour tea at your event. After the event, write another blog or press release about some funny moments, adding quotes from your guests and the host.
Prepare a media package with press release. A media package should include contact details on the cover of the package; product knowledge and information, any stories or details about the designer of the product (especially unique stories), a sample of the product or photo of the product, a history of your business and other details that you would like included in a story about the product. (Be cognizant that the media wants a story, not a plug about your products.)
Send a press release before the event and one after the event. Ensure that your headline captures the theme of the event and has some sizzle – you want to pique the media’s interest.
In addition to press releases, create posters for distribution and handouts for your customers and each should reiterate the tagline. Handouts should be distributed with each purchase leading up to the event. Posters can be distributed to other businesses for cross-advertising.
Email customers, suppliers, and business associates and invite them to your event. Offer incentives: draws, contests, complimentary gifts to the first one hundred customers, how-two demonstrations, meet the designer, “one on one” consultations with the experts, etc.
Include family and friends on your guest list – you’ll appreciate the support.
You don’t have to hire a band (but you could) but it does make an impact. Never overlook entertainment that highlights your product or service: how-to demonstrations by expert guests; podcasts; videos; power point demonstrations; brand demonstrations set up at different points in your store; book readings; dance lessons; fashion shows with tips and advice from the best-dressed in town; the list is only as short as your imagination.
Hand-Outs or Complimentary Gifts
If you distribute hand-outs or literature about the new product launch, your customers can take them home to read at their leisure because an informed customer can lead to a decision to buy. Customers will always appreciate information especially if the information supports “difficult to grasp” technology.
Complimentary giveaways or grab bags should be considered. If requested, many suppliers will donate small tokens or gadgets as a marketing strategy. Some will donate tee shirts, cloth bags, CD cases, key chains, magnets, pens and other small items. But if you don’t ask, you will not receive.
Consider the small details that have huge impact: parking, greeter, flowers or decorations, welcome speech, thank you speech, photographer (photos for website and after event press release) and thank you notes.
Anyone can hold a promotion. Not everyone will elevate the promotion to another level. An event is really just a promotion – with sizzle. Events can transform an ordinary product launch into something extraordinary. Customers will support an event; customers will ignore a promotion. With a little creativity and imagination, you and your staff can host an event with sizzle – you’ll receive some free publicity, raves from your customers, and respect from your fellow business associates.
More importantly, you’ll establish your business as an expert in the field and that will encourage sales in the long term. That sounds like a winning formula for a successful marketing campaign.