Propel A Product Launch With A Trade Show

Launching New Product TradeshowTrade shows are a proven method for finding business and making new connections. They’re a natural gathering of your target audience, ready to listen to what you have to say. Since most companies are aware of this, it can lead to a fair amount of competition for the eyes and ears of attendees. So how do you make the most of the opportunity that launching your product at a trade show gives you?

Pre-show planning

You’ll want to put together a calendar with tasks that need to be completed before the show and product launch. It should extend out at least a month prior to the show and include all of your product completion activities along with finalizing the product itself and establishing your marketing materials.

It’s important to use industry publications to grow a pre-show buzz for your product. Most run trade show editions, so you’ll want to contact the publishers to see if you can get a write up on your company and get some attention for your new product. Remember that most magazines have long lead times before issues, so make sure to contact them early for the best results.

Media coverage of your product launch should be a top priority. Contact trade show organizers and obtain the media list as far in advance as possible – at least two weeks prior to the show. Remember, you won’t be the only one launching a new product. If you can’t get a media list for the show, or they don’t provide one, try doing a search for articles about the show from years past. The same reporters usually cover the show from year to year. Send them an email; even if they’re not covering it this year, chances are they know who is. Your goal is to preview your product to select journalists in advance of the event by means of an interview. This way, reporters can break your story before your product launch, building anticipation with the attendees.

You’ll want to build a micro-site or place a landing page on your website specifically geared to your product launch at the show. All show related materials should include the URL, and you should also link to it from your main site. You want your content to be up and running at least a month prior to the show with information relevant to your product launch. You also need to be able to update your site while you’re on the road or at the show.

Trade show managers will often set up temporary sites on social networks, so be sure to check out Facebook and LinkedIn. By connecting to these communities, you can also network with anyone else who might have interest in the event or your industry.

Managing your launch at the show

  • Put together a well worded product announcement that indicates your product launch will be taking place at the trade show. This can be the key to generating publicity for your launch. You’ll want to find out from trade show organizers if there is a newswire sponsor for the show that you can give your announcement to.
  • Schedule your product launch as close to the beginning of the trade show as possible – you want to capture as much buzz as possible.
  • Your booth is the ground floor for your product launch, so where you’re located matters. You want to be in the areas with the highest traffic so you get the most attention.
  • You want your booth to be a sales tool you can use to offer education and a hands-on demo of your products. It must be professional and make an impression on anyone who sees it. Your images and branding should be cohesive with all of your pre- and post-show marketing materials. You’ll want to place your new product at the center of your booth so that it can be seen from all angles – this also draws people into your exhibit space.
  • Staff your booth with the right people. You want seasoned, informed product managers that can make sales and inform prospects. They should be able to demonstrate your new product or answer questions about your new service.
  • Use your landing page or micro-site to provide up to the minute information when the product launches. Make sure it contains all your marketing materials, including your official product announcement, fact sheets about the product, and photos or video of the launch itself.
  • Bring copies of your press kit to hand out to reporters, vendors or other key attendees. Not having a properly made press kit makes it much more difficult for reporters and bloggers to spread the word about your launch. What do you expect a blogger to do without a photo of your product? Draw it in MS Paint? Preparing press releases, photos, and other materials help the media do your marketing for you.
  • Keep your marketing materials to a minimum. You’ll want to use promotional items more than anything else. They stick with your audience longer, which ensures your product launch is memorable. They become items that people live with and are far more cost effective than other marketing materials.
  • Use guerrilla marketing to get extra attention at the show. Have someone dress up as your product and mingle through the crowd, passing out promotional items.
  • Consider holding a special event off-site to follow up your product launch at the trade show. This can be a lot of additional work, but it can also help to position your new product in the market. The event could be more educational in nature and provide deeper information about how your product works, as well as its intended uses. Not to mention, you can actually make sales there. Most trade shows prevent vendors from directly selling their products at the show.
  • Try to book a speaking engagement. Participate as a possible keynote speaker or as part of a panel. They re-quire more planning on your part, but can be a great way to further promote your new product in a creative way. Don’t focus only on topics related to your business, though; branch out beyond the expected subjects to draw your audience in.

Conclusion

Launching your new product or service at a trade show can be very productive. They’re a lot of hard work and require a lot of planning, but the opportunity that they afford is second to none.





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Posted in Marketing, Product Launch Marketing, Trade Shows Marketing

 


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