Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
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It Is your Product Launch. So What's In It for Me?  

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With more than 250,000 new products launched globally each year, chances are you are likely to fail in this grand endeavour, if you do not chalk out a path that is going to lead you to success. Lynn Dornblaser, an analyst at market research firm Mintel who tracks new products, says that 85% to 95% of new product launches usually go bust.

But, that does not mean yours' have to... if it is done right.

As we all know, trade shows are the obvious gathering grounds of the like minds. It is a proven method of finding new business and expanding existing businesses. You have un-divided attention of this mass of population who are the industry leaders, key decision makers and influential architects.
Here are some key points to consider, before the big veiling your new product or an existing product with serious enhancements at your next show. Also, here are some lessons from famous brands that you want to take note of before you launch your next 'best product.'

Know your market. Do not Disappoint your Audience.

If the product is truly revolutionary, make sure that the market is ready to make the leap. The launch of our Skyline Windscape® was the grand finale of intense customer knowledge and their pain points. We knew that the market was ready for this industry-transforming product because, we had listened to our marketplace for about 3 years, before we launched this game changer. And, when we finally did, it was an unprecedented launch that exceeded out aggressive sales forecast by 38%.

I only say this to draw your attention to another story – what happens when you disappoint your audience. Remember, Dean Kamen and his Segway. Both investors and general public were dumbfounded and disappointed. Why? Because, Kamen made them believe that, it was nothing less than an "alternative to the automobile." When the real product was unveiled it was no more than an enhanced scooter. "It took 5 years to sell 24,000 of these scooters as opposed to 10,000 per week, as originally predicted." No surprises there.

Engage and encourage your brand team, your marketing ninjas, your sales warriors, your advertising and PR team for some valuable feedback that can either propel a launch or, if necessary, can terminate it. You can have the best product in the planet. If the market is not ready for it, or if it is the victim of false perception, your product will not go anywhere.

Build Trust. Disperse Generosity.

It is crucial to any product launch. Endorsements and brand recognition helps, but to have access to direct confidence is invaluable.

Launching the idea of your product at a pre-trade show event will help you do that.

Gather a cross-functional team of existing clients, high-value prospects and industry influencers. Create a pre-show messaging without revealing the specifics. Create a sense of anticipation as you talk about what is so cool about it. Announce the launch date and the ship date. The idea is to have this core group spread the word about your launch. And of course, lavish your existing users with something worth talking about. Why do you think Apple give their existing users a free upgrade to more iCloud space before doing a major product launch?

Before your launch date, get the media list from your trade organizers in advance and get an interview preview session with one of them. At the trade show when you finally do the launch, be sure to follow it up by a press conference the same day or the next morning.

Place the new product at the center of the exhibit to draw the audience into your space. Formulate a gmaing theme around this product launch .Create compelling presentations to explain this new product and what it does. Stream it live. Sponsor an evening of educational event featuring power users of your new technology. Produce a microsite dedicated to your product launch that will collect all input from your attendees. Encourage your visitors to tweet about your launch with a catchy hashtag. Be sure to follow up the launch with a comprehensive post-launch marketing plan.

If you are launching your product to be in keeping with the 'fad of the time' here is a story for you.

When Coca-Cola launched C2 with a 50 million dollar advertising campaign, its' target audience (mostly men) did not go for it. Why? because, they wanted all the flavor of original Coke with no calories or carbs, not half the calories and carbs, as the product was designed to be. C2 was a failure. A year later, it paved the way for Coke Zero, a no-calorie, full flavor product that adorns the shelves today, long after the death of the 'low-carb trend'.

Moral of the story: "Test the product to make sure its differences will sway buyers."


Do not launch your product at trade shows. Instead, use your trade show and event venues as testing grounds for product research and product development. Use it for building buzz and developing consensus. Highlight, how others are using your product. Make the goal of your trade show booth not about your product but a staging ground for the successes that your customers had with it. "People engage with personalities, not product features."

In 2011, Ford wanted to change the perception of its Focus, "the rental car that nobody wanted." In an attempt to build buzz about the car in the United States, Ford gave 100 digitally connected people a Fiesta for six months. Each had to create a themed video every month, while also documenting their time with the car on social media. Ford then put the content up in real time, unedited and unfiltered, essentially turning over the brand to its consumers.

As Chris Garrett puts it, there are two aspects to a product launch. There is the technical side, and then there is the tactical side. "The technical side involves setting up everything that you need so people can buy from you. And then there is the marketing and strategy side, where you need to set up your launch so that it appeals to people {why should I care, how will it better my life}, they know what to do and so that it makes sense to them."

After all, if I remember it right, walkman was quite agreeable until Steve Jobs introduced us to iPod.
With a simple benefit statement that this digital music player "lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go," changed the whole music industry as we know it.

Learn more about launches from product-launch guru Jeff Walker and branding expert Donald Miller.
Read the book: The New Launch Plan. It just might be the blue print of your launch success.

© 2015 by Sarmistha Tarafder