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Advertising Design Intern

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David Kratzke

Director, Digital Marketing

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Virtual product launches are the future, and the future is now

The coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down. It has forced quarantines, shaken the economy, left many worse off, and canceled event after event. Our world will be reshaped when it reopens, and your company’s marketing plans going forward will be different too.

Some have suggested that we never shake hands again, which seems crazy as shaking hands is customary in closing business deals. Trade shows and conferences have been canceled everywhere, and convention centers have been repurposed as makeshift hospitals. It’s hard to know when large gatherings will be allowed again and when trade shows will be open for business.

With the possibility of no handshakes, less in-person interactions, and no opportunities for prospects to experience your new products and truly grasp their value on the trade show floor, we have to evolve.

It’s been said by Greek philosopher Plato that, “necessity is the mother of invention,“ and these words ring truer than ever.

Now we must improvise, adapt, and overcome. We have to rethink our approach and launch products in a way that can reach even more customers without relying on large gatherings or prospects attending events. Now is the time to prioritize virtual product launches as the centerpiece of your marketing strategy.

virtual product launch

Digital trade show booths or product videos are not revolutionary ideas, but they were typically thought of as nice add-ons to support a company’s trade show booth. Similar to how display ads (then called web banners) were thrown in as added value on the publisher’s website when you purchased print ads in a magazine.

We must bring virtual product launches to life by embracing digital solutions that can still generate the new product buzz you desire. Here are five marketing tactics that must be shifted to the top of your marketing/trade show budget. Doing so will insulate your company and its product launches against future interruptions.

Embrace new product video presentations
Apple and Google have used this platform to draw large audiences and give customers a front-row seat to each company’s latest product innovations for years. Steve Jobs, dressed in his signature black shirt and blue jeans and standing on a simple stage, introduced the world to the iPhone at MacWorld in 2007. He presented in a large auditorium, but the real power was sharing the video online to millions of people.

You don’t need to be launching an iPhone to do this, and you don’t need to present to a large audience at a trade show or conference. You simply need a conference room or studio where you can film your product engineers presenting their latest creations. By editing some slides into the video and relying on the passion of your inventors to shine through while they tout key product benefits, you too can make an impact with your customers.

Upgrade your e-commerce experience
It’s more critical now than ever to utilize your website to sell products, and yes, e-commerce works for B2B companies as well. E-commerce grows more powerful by the day, so build or improve your online ordering system or website shopping cart to give customers the means to continue to buy your products without interruption.

Retain customers via email marketing
This is key to reaching your current customer base. They are a captive audience that is ready and willing to receive information about your products, especially new products. Email is the perfect vehicle to share exclusive new products with the ones most likely to buy them. Everyone wants to grow sales and gain new customers, but that starts by solidifying your existing customer base.

Video conferencing is the new handshake
The world of video conferencing has gone from 0 to 100 in milliseconds, so put down the phone, get yourself camera ready, and start video conferencing with your customers. This is a great way to build your customer relationships at a time when we are losing personal contact, and quite possibly, the art and comfort of a good handshake.

Be a social butterfly
Don’t be afraid to feature new products on social media before and after the event. In the past, lots of companies have worked toward a big reveal at a trade show to build anticipation and draw traffic into the trade show booth. Instead of building hype, let the products themselves create the excitement by unveiling them on social media before and after the event. If it’s a worthy introduction, trade show attendees will want to see it in person. And if there isn’t a trade show at all, then mission accomplished, as the new product is already launched.

While these marketing tactics may not be groundbreaking, when they are prioritized and executed properly, they can fast-track your business to deliver successful virtual product launches. Maybe the world returns to normal and future trade show attendance soars, and that’s certainly the hope as one pandemic in a lifetime is enough. But if future trade shows are canceled again, or attendance sags, you’ll already be light years ahead of the competition.

Looking to create some energy for your latest innovation, Contact SWBR to see how we can help your business rev up your virtual product launch.

David Kratzke

Director, Digital Marketing

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