The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things when it comes to sales and marketing. From remote sales meetings to online product updates and virtual trade shows, marketers have made a massive move online when it comes to getting their message across in a time when face-to-face events are off the agenda.
We have prepared a full guide in order for you to get more information on virtual product launches. You can browse through the different parts of the guide by clicking on the links below:
- It doesn’t matter what you make, you can launch it online
- Virtual product launches can be bigger and better
- Planning for your virtual product launch
- Build momentum by sharing
- Create a product demonstration video
- Choosing a video conferencing platform
The same goes for new product launches. Despite the shift away from traditional events, only around one in 10 new product launches have been cancelled in 2020, with the remaining launches either proceeding as planned (41%) or rescheduled for later in the year (48%).
Whether it’s B2B or B2C, more marketers are looking to virtual events to launch products and maintain their presence in an environment of rapidly changing business and consumer habits.
It doesn’t matter what you make, you can launch it online
From app makers, such as the brains behind VSCO, shoemakers such as ASICS who used virtual reality to launch some of their latest runners, and perfume makers such as Calvin Klein, who showcased a new range of fragrances via a virtual mall, product launches are making a splash online.
In July, camera giant Canon held an online-only live stream of what it described as its “biggest ever product launch” with the release of its new range of EOS cameras.
The event, which ran for an hour, featured multiple Canon ambassadors and product managers talking about the new products — much as they would at a traditional launch event.
The difference was the company only needed to produce a single event for all of its international subsidiaries which not only ensured a consistent message, but saved a lot of money when you consider the cost of flying journalists, ambassadors, partners, resellers, VIPs and other attendees to various events around the world.
Virtual product launches can be bigger and better
Another advantage of virtual product launches is that they’re not limited by time, travel and other logistics that restrict the length and format of traditional launch events.
That not only means you can get more bang for your buck, but your event can be a whole lot bigger, it can run over a longer period, and it can feature a whole lot more — and more varied — content.
Take the Virtual Design Festival, for example, which featured product launches for more than 150 leading design companies from around the world.
Managed by architecture and design magazine Dezeen, the online design event was launched to complement and support fairs and festivals around the world that were postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19.
Over three months, the event featured a rolling program of online talks, lectures, movies, product launches, as well as sessions exploring how the industry can adapt and respond to the extraordinary circumstances the pandemic created.
The festival’s first day featured self-recorded video messages from more than 30 architects and designers from around the world, as well as a live interview with trend forecaster Li Edelkoort.
Over the three months, the event proved a huge success with 2 million video plays, more than 600 posts and 50 live interviews.
Planning for your virtual product launch
Like any product launch, whether it’s virtual or not, it’s important to put the necessary time into planning to make sure your event is a success.
Start by establishing your target audience and building your contact list so you can determine the most accurate and effective approach.
When you’ve worked out who you’re talking to, identify the problem your product will solve for them.
The best way to reach your customers is to appeal to them on an emotional level, so create a narrative that explains how your product fits into the context of their business. Telling a story will also help them better relate to your brand.
Build momentum by sharing
The more you raise awareness of your product launch, the more registrations and attendees you’ll attract.
Create a landing page that you can link to from your online messaging.
Post several times in the build-up to the event on every social channel you’ve got. Make sure the message suits the medium and varies across your channels.
Include content about your launch in email newsletters and send out an invitation and a reminder in the lead-up to the event itself.
Use a blog, or blogs, to publish content that creates a narrative around the problem your product will solve, and the benefits that could be achieved by overcoming it.
Hosting a Twitter chat or Facebook live event with a product developer in the lead-up to your launch can be another effective way to build momentum.
Videos can also be an effective way to build anticipation, share industry insights and provide information to attendees before, during and after an event.
Create a product demonstration video
If your product launch includes a demo it’s worth thinking about pre-recording a demo webinar which can avoid any logistical or technical issues that might be hard to deal with in a live broadcast.
Webinars can be shot in a studio and take advantage of multiple camera angles, and professional sound and lighting. They can also be interspersed with short, sharp commentary from first time users, beta testers or product experts to add a range of voices to your overall production.
Choosing a video conferencing platform
The quality of video conferencing solutions today has come along in leaps and bounds thanks to the growth of the cloud, and advances in the quality and affordability of software and hardware. But while there are more to choose from, they’re not all the same.
When it comes to choosing a technology provider for your product launch, it’s important to determine:
- How big will your audience be?
- Where will they be joining from?
- Will it be a live or pre-recorded event, or a blend?
- What type of interactive elements will you use, for example, live chat, Q&A session, breakout rooms?
The best online video conferencing services can be easily customised for different event formats – such as a pre-recorded webinar or a live studio broadcast – and use a suite of different functions depending on your requirements.
The ability to share files such as product information, videos, images and brochures should go without saying, while the best video conferencing providers offer more complex options such as multi-camera support, green screens and autocue.
Live chat, one-on-one interviews, panel discussions, live polls and Q&A sessions can make your product launch more engaging – which is the best way to keep your audience from tuning out.
Make sure you cater for the audience size and the number of video feeds you’ll need – while some platforms offer an unlimited number of participants, others can be restricted to as few as four.
It’s also important to make it easy for your viewers to connect. Some platforms require participants to dial in, while others operate only on computers and require software and plug-in downloads. The most user-friendly platforms can be viewed on any device, require no downloads, and simply ask participants to click on a link to join the event.
The bigger the event, the more important reliable technology and support will be. Some platforms include live operator support, while with others you might be left to work out any tech problems yourself.
So whether you’re launching shoes, furniture, perfume or even plumbing supplies, you’ll find that the virtual space not only lets you reach customers you otherwise can’t meet, but can create a whole range of new ways to effectively get your product in the spotlight.