Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Picture Perfect Launch Party

Launch parties may be one of the toughest events to plan - and host.  The pressure is definitely on when you are "launching" something new.  Whether it is a new book, product or service, it most certainly needs a very special introduction in the form of an event.  Here are some key steps to follow if you are planning your own launch party this year...

1.  Think hard before you start planning.  If you have a marketing team supporting you, they should be completely hands on with this event.  After all, they know the audience, their needs and what will appeal to those people.  If you don't have this luxury, seriously consider hiring a consultant.  This is the first time people will see what you have to offer, and you want it to be effective and drive sales!  My advice is to build in the cost of this consultant to your event budget.

2.  Get creative help.  You need to enlist many different event professionals for this special affair.  From entertainment to design, don't be afraid to hire help.  They will be worth every penny.  And, they are seasoned and can help fill in the blanks when you can't.

3.  Believe in your own instincts.  This "thing" that is being launched means a lot to you.  So, always go with your gut and be unique.  You have to really shine at this event - especially if you want the publicity that every "launcher" desires.

4.  Invite!  Yes, you should invite potential customers first and foremost.  But, what about your family and friends?  What about your favorite local contacts?  Invite those people too! You never know who knows who - so also offer the opportunity for each person to bring a guest.  It may cost more money, but you want all the eyes and ears you can get to hear about what you are offering and introducing. {don't forget to invite the press!}

5.  Favor your guests.  They need a take away that won't be thrown away.  Think hard about this one, and really make it spectacular.  This is the only thing they will have after they leave your party.  It is important, no matter what anyone says.

6.  Feed the masses.  You have to have food and drink, so don't even think about omitting it.  Wine and beer, at the least, need to be available.  You are creating a reputation - and no one wants to be labeled "cheap".  There are plenty of ways to make it chic and affordable.

7.  Have and RSVP plan.  Take the time to follow up and get a true guest count.  You want to be overly prepared and on the top of your game.  You don't need any surprises on the day/night of the launch.

8.  Create a timeline.  You should have the event schedule on paper for all the key players.  This is important for any speeches or demonstrations that might need to happen.  Don't fly by the seat of your pants because, again, your reputation is at hand.  If planning isn't your thing, use your professional team to put this together for you.

9.  Enjoy your success.  This time is for you and showcases your hard work.  Try to savor the moment.

10.  Prepare to get feedback after the event.  Surveys are wonderful - and there are some really creative ways to do these. This will help you gain something from those that have seen firsthand what you have created.

Bonus Tip: Create something interactive for guests to actually use/feel/see/etc whatever is being launched.  This can be in the form of booths or stations in the room.  Let them really dive in! {don't forget to include amazing signage all over the room!}

Much success to all those launching a new venture in 2011!

Boldly Yours,

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