Developing a new product can be fairly daunting, but launching it onto the market brings a whole new set of challenges.

Developing a new product strategy can be fairly daunting and launching it onto the market brings a whole new set of challenges. This is why many brands opt for a product launch event – it’s a single piece of experiential marketing that announces that new product to the world, to the media and to its key audiences.

And not all launch events are huge, explosive and expensive, either. Low-key launches can still be memorable and achieve the goals you had in mind.

But no matter what your budget, an event will often be the linchpin of your product launch strategy.

Just remember some of the key issues involved:

• What are you trying to achieve?

There are different types of launch event – the trade event where you invite industry influencers; the media event (e.g. a press conference) where you give media the chance to try/experience the product; and the consumer event where you introduce it to customers old and new (e.g. offering your new beer at a stand at a sports event).

There can be overlap, but it may also make sense to have separate launch events for each audience. What you need to ask is what you want the event to achieve – is it media coverage, brand awareness, sales etc?

• The venue

Some companies announce new products at a high-tech trade show like E3, while others might host an upscale cocktail party. It depends on what the product is, certainly, but even more on what the brand – and particularly the new product – is trying to say about itself.

• The multi-channel event experience

At Collider, we’re big believers in combining events with social, digital and experiential marketing. So even if people can’t be there, they can still take part (using their mobiles) to tweet, like, and share content, videos and photos.

Social media campaigns can also benefit from being built around an event. Take the launch campaign of The Shard in London. The spectacular party and laser show experience we organised let people get physically involved and then share their own photos, videos, stories, and experiences – which resulted in a longer, more meaningful two-way conversation (and 95% positive sentiment on Twitter).

• The follow-up

Importantly, a launch event doesn’t end when everyone goes home. Successful product launches involve brands following up with their audience, because the launch event should really only be one part of the product launch process.

What should be clear is that there’s a good reason most brands choose to launch new products at an event. It gathers the right people together and lets them experience the new thing in an environment that resonates. But the first step, as always, is to know who you’re trying to reach and what you’re looking to achieve.

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