Today’s event marketing landscape has shifted and now interactive product launches for video games, technology platforms, and hand-held devices demand consumer touch and feel. They require the creation of a brand aura around the launch and unfettered hands-on trial. You supply the experience, and your users supply the PR. User-generated PR is far more powerful than anything your agency can create.
If you’re on the fence, think about this: Infinity Ward and their partners have mastered this multi-layered approach and landed over $300 million in sales during Modern Warfare 2′s first 24 hours on the market.
Today’s consumers expect to battle test your product, and read the reviews of others during the product launch. Confidence in your product is generated as consumers step behind the marketing veil to experience your product and tell others of their experience through the social media pipeline: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the blogosphere. You must influence this process.
We’ve learned that experience sells. Product experience, brand experience and execution experience are now required to sell. Product launches certainly must be accompanied by the air war of mass market ads. However, the actual creation of scalable (meaning repeatable across the social network) brand experiences now acts as the ground troops of product launches within the technical product domain. And I don’t think this approach just applies to technology products, they simply represent the tip of the spear. Technology focused products and their respective consumers rely on word of mouth and user-generated reviews rather than a high profile spokesperson or shotgun ad hitting a sedate market. Technology products merit – in fact require – transferable proof your product meets expected levels of experience, quality and satisfaction. And if you don’t provide such proof, expect to be ridiculed in the user-generated press.and
Technology product launches differ from traditional first-time product trials as consumers tend to be more sensitive and invested in their technology. Unlike traditional sampling trial events (such as food or drink products) where the goal is to have consumers try a less-known product for the first time and convert them into buyers, the experience with technology is usually for an (often highly) anticipated product which consumers have built an expectation for. If expectations are not met both from a performance and an emotional standpoint it can result in lost sales. When I showcase a technology product for the first time, the environment and user experience is vital to make sure it meets or exceeds consumer expectations. Below are my five keys to achieve this:
1. Venue and event selection – the venue is an important part of the experience and event attendees must closely align with your.
2. Setting and atmosphere – does the environment fit the audience and product branding? Music, lighting, furniture, layout, food and beverage, staff, uniforms etc. all play a part in creating the right ambiance.
3. Demonstration and user interaction – the product must be used in the right context so consumers can better relate to the experience. Try and demonstrate the product in a way that not only boasts its attributes and benefits but also in a way which makes sense to your core consumer.
4. Supporting elements – green screen, premiums and giveaways, and special guests or performances can greatly enhance the user experience from an emotional standpoint.
5. Extending the experience – promotion through social media both before and after the launch with tools such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more traditional PR to share user experience for those who could not attend the event, but want to share the excitement of a product launch.
Craig Goldstein is the Chief Operations Officer and Founder of UCG Marketing, which is an award-winning full service experiential marketing and promotions agency based in Boston. Email him at email@example.com