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Event marketing | 2 November 2018

17 Powerful Product Launch Event Ideas

Bizzabo Blog Staff

Give your products the launch they deserve. Discover product launch event examples from leading brands like Google, Moz, Apple, and more.

New product on the way? Congratulations! This is an exciting time for your company. All your hard work is about to pay off — if you handle the launch correctly, that is. You do have a launch plan, right?

One of the most successful ways to release a new product is through an event. But don’t worry, product launch events don’t have to be scary. Whether you are planning an in-person event or one that is powered by virtual event software — they just take a bit of strategic planning.

In this blog post, we’ll look at 17 product launch event examples and why they could be so effective for your company. 

What Is a Product Launch Event?

A product launch is when a company brings a new product or service to market. A successful product launch starts well before the actual release date and the effects of one will be felt long afterward. It will build anticipation, facilitate an initial influx of sales, and establish momentum that a company can then expand upon.

One of the best ways to launch a new product is through an event, and some of the largest companies in the world have been doing it for years. These product launch ideas and user conference tips will help your company host an amazing event. Some are traditional product launch events. Others are user conferences with a product launch element. But each has been extremely successful and there’s a lot to be learned. Let’s dive in.

1. Build Anticipation: Apple Worldwide Developers Conference

graphic of #WWDC21 with emojis and memojis

We’ll start with the biggest company in the world: Apple. What can we learn from their conferences and events? A lot, actually. Take Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Before the conference takes place, nobody (outside of Apple, of course) knows exactly what will be announced. This is typical for all Apple events and is a great example of building anticipation. Both the media and the general public go crazy speculating what the tech giant has up its sleeve.

This tactic works because Apple has such a long history of satisfying customers. The company earned the right to be mysterious and build anticipation in this way. What about your company? You may not work for the largest brand in the universe, but your customers hopefully are enthusiastic and curious about your brand.

2. Create a Specific Atmosphere: Pulse by Gainsight

Pulse is one of the “biggest Customer Success learning and networking conferences in the world.” That’s quite a claim, but Gainsight backs it up, year in and year out. How?

One of the most ingenious elements of the event is the atmosphere that the organizers of Pulse create for event attendees. Pulse is a ton of fun. Sure, the best minds in their respective field share invaluable insights and there’s a lot of knowledge to be gleaned. But the conference doesn’t feel like work. It’s a retreat; a break from everyday life. Case in point: the legendary afterparties Gainsight hosts.

Ask yourself: How can your company create an intriguing atmosphere for your product launch? Answer that and your event will be well on its way to event success.

3. Add Exclusivity: Eureka! By Sisense

Eureka - Product Launch Event Ideas

Photo: Sisense

How do you make a conference about a mundane topic like business analytics and complex data sound exciting? Do what Sisense does and make it exclusive and invite only.

Growing up, were you ever not invited to a friend’s birthday party? For whatever reason, everyone else got an invitation except for you. Remember how badly you wanted to go? On the flip side, being one of only a few people invited to a special event is something to be cherished. Why? Because exclusivity can be a strong driver of awareness and attendance for events.

How can you add an exclusive element to your product launch event? Maybe you only invite your best customers. Perhaps you invite anyone willing to buy a ticket, but reserve a special lounge area for honored guests. There are many options to explore.

4. Find the Difference: MozCon

MozCon - Product Launch Event Ideas

Photo: Moz

Moz is synonymous with marketing expertise, so it’s no surprise then that MozCon is consistently one of the top-rated marketing conferences of the year. What’s its secret sauce?

Besides being incredibly knowledgeable and generous with that knowledge, Moz has a distinct style all its own. From co-founder Rand Fishkin’s legendary Whiteboard Friday segments to company mascot Roger the friendly robot, Moz is totally unique.

Ask yourself: What makes your company different? Are there any fun quirks you can promote? Doing so will help your product launch event stand out and endear your brand to its customers.

5. Personalize the Attendee Experience: HR Redefined by Namely

Source: Namely

When hosting your product launch, event engagement is key. HR software leader Namely nails this element with its HR Redefined conference, which brings together HR professionals to learn from industry experts and empowers attendees to make data-informed decisions to build a better workplace.

For example, at 2017’s HR Redefined conference, attendees received a customized nameplate from Brooklyn-based design firm Dirty bandits, which specializes in typography. In the grand scheme of event planning, small details like this may seem trivial, but personalization goes a long way in showing attendees how much your brand values them. Ask yourself: How can your company personalize the attendee experience at your product launch event?

6. Create a Branded Hashtag: Dreamforce by Salesforce

Salesforce - Product Launch Event Ideas

Source: Salesforce

Dreamforce is a massive annual event, boasting more than 2,000 sessions on a range of topics. How was Salesforce able to grow this conference to such a large scale? One of the keys to its success is its strategic use of social media.

Event organizers do a fantastic job using hashtags to create a large collection of user-generated content (UGC) and comments. Something as simple as the hashtag “#DF22” can go viral if every event-goer is encouraged to use it.

Your product launch event can use social media strategically by creating a branded hashtag to help drum up excitement — both before and during the event.

7. Amplify Your Message: The “Made By Google” Event

In 2018, Google hosted a product launch event named “Made by Google” in New York City. At the gathering, Google announced its new line of devices. In order to build awareness and anticipation for their big announcements, Google contacted major media outlets and news spread quickly.

While your company may not have the same clout as Google, there are plenty of blogs and media outlets that would be willing to write about your product launch event. Strategically email them with the details of your event, why they should care, and cross your fingers that they help spread the word.

8. Provide a Hands-on Experience: IKON

Source: IKON

IKON is the largest gathering of Infusionsoft and Keap users in the world. Attendees get to learn from world-class experts and improve at their craft over this multi-day conference. Guests get hands-on experience with the company’s software. Not only does this provide event-goers with enhanced skill sets, but it also helps new, possibly on-the-fence users, become die-hard fans.

At your product launch event, let guests try out your company’s new offering. Put it in their hands and allow them to experiment. They’ll love it.

9. Put Technology to Work: MAX by Adobe

  

MAX, a creativity conference for users of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, is quite the spectacle. Not only do event-goers get front row seats to the latest Adobe product and update announcements, but they’re also treated to an impressive array of visuals and technology.

Speaking of tech, let’s talk about one of the biggest MAX benefits: archived content. Recordings of every keynote and many of the individual sessions are posted online right after the conference has concluded. This allows attendees to “relive” their experience.

Ask yourself: How can your product launch event better utilize technology? Whether you decide to record the whole shebang and post it online or use event software to make sure your launch runs smoothly, tech can greatly improve your release.

10. Go Virtual: Digital Agency Day by HubSpot

Source: Digital Agency Day

Digital Agency Day is a joint effort, but that’s not the lesson we want to learn here. No, we want to talk about how this event is hosted online. That’s right, DAD is a digital conference. HubSpot gives attendees valuable information from industry leaders, including Google, LinkedIn, Sprout Social, and more. Perhaps your product launch event would be better hosted virtually or as a hybrid experience.

11. Put Networking Front and Center: Social Media Marketing World

 SMMW - Product Launch Event Ideas

Source: SMMW

Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) is the world’s top social media conference. Attendees hear from industry experts about the best social tactics and cutting-edge strategies. But most event-goers would agree that the real value is in networking. SMMW is designed to facilitate relationships by offering Slack groups, table talks, and networking exercise classes. They even have dedicated staff ready to help attendees make connections.

Ask yourself: How can we facilitate networking opportunities at your product launch event? Even a simple email invitation notifying your tribe about confirmed expert guests may be enough to convince people to attend. The networking opportunity will be too good to pass up.

12. Hijack a Larger Event: South by Southwest (SXSW)

 SXSX - Product Launch Event Ideas

Source: SXSW

SXSW is a music and film festival, tech conference, and business networking event. It has a little bit for everyone and that’s the beauty of it.

Ask yourself: How you can bring different people together to create an exciting, diverse atmosphere? For example, a SaaS company could invite its top customers, local business leaders looking for investment opportunities, and tech writers looking for their next big scoop.

13. Get Competitive: TechCrunch Disrupt

TechCrunch Disrupt is an annual conference for startups hosted by TechCrunch. In the past, the event has played host to amazing speakers such as Marc Benioff (Salesforce), Jessica Livingston (Y Combinator), and Steph Curry (NBA Superstar).

One of the conference’s biggest draws is the Startup Battlfield. In this competition, early-stage startups compete to receive advice, coaching, and the chance to pitch a panel of top-tier investors, as well as a prize of $100,000 and media coverage. Past winners include Dropbox, Zenefits, and FitBit.

Ask yourself: Could your event benefit from gamification or competition? It doesn’t have to be in-depth; a quick trivia game with the winner earning your company’s new product for free would work just fine.

14. Feature Star Power: “I Create Music” Expo by ASCAP

ASCAP is a performance rights organization that represents Beyonce, Justin Bieber, and Meghan Trainor, among thousands of others. Every year they host a conference called the “I Create Music” Expo to inspire and train songwriters.

One of the biggest reasons musicians keep attending, year after year, is because ASCAP partners with famous artists and industry titans to host can’t miss sessions. Oftentimes, aspiring songwriters have an opportunity to learn from and even meet their heroes. Although your company may not be able to bring in a world-famous celebrity, you may be able to partner with local experts (inside or outside your company) to share valuable insights with your product launch event guests.

15. Tap Into Your Local Community: GrowCo by Inc.

GrowCo is an annual conference for entrepreneurs. Founders go to learn from industry heavyweights like Daymond John (FUBU, Shark Tank) and Cal Henderson (Slack), network with their peers, and get empowered. Inc., founded in 1979, was able to grow its event to its current status partly by leveraging its decades of experience.

Ask yourself: Has your company supported community projects or partnered with other companies in the area? These are things you can leverage to improve your product launch event.

16. Inspire: Next Gen HQ Summit

Earlier we said that your product launch event has a better chance of succeeding if caters to a specific group of people. That’s exactly what Next Gen HQ Summit does. But they don’t just cater to youth — they inspire them.

Speakers at Next Gen HQ events include company founders, star athletes, and corporate game-changers. Attendees learn a lot, but more importantly, they’re inspired to go create their own dream business. This is powerful. Inspire your product launch event guests by showing them the amazing potential of your company’s new offering.

17. Feature a Live Performance: 3686 by Launch Tennessee

Launch Tennessee is on a mission to make Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the Union. Its annual event, 3686 (the map coordinates of Nashville), accomplishes this by educating and inspiring business owners. But no Nashville event would be complete without live music. 3686 hosts numerous after-parties and brings in national touring acts to entertain conference attendees.

Your product launch event might benefit from some sweet jams as well. You don’t need to go all out a talented local artist may be all your gathering needs to set the mood.

Key Takeaways To Deliver a Next-Level Product Launch Event

That’s it, 17 product launch event ideas you can use to improve your next launch. Let’s quickly recap the key takeaways:

  • Build up anticipation before your event. Exclusivity, well-time press releases, and competitions can help build buzz.
  • Create an intriguing atmosphere. Your event brand is what people will think of when they think of your product launch event. The venue, the speakers, the design, and the speakers will all contribute to the wow-power of your event.
  • Know your target market. Whether your company is B2B or B2C will influence the tone of your event and how you personalize the attendee experience. 
  • Personalize the attendee experience. Through event technology, hands-on sessions, and one-on-one access to product experts at your company product launch events have the potential to create a meaningful experience for attendees.

You won’t be able to use every single one of these tips. The good news is, you don’t have to. Even just a few of these tactics can improve your event. So choose a product launch example that works best for your company and go for it. When putting together a product launch event, it helps to have the right event software features on your side. Demo the world’s most loved event software and see if it’s the right fit for your needs.

 

Editor’s Note: This blog article was originally published and 2018 and has been updated for relevance.

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