Product launch events: how to successfully plan using 4 essential steps

You’ve been working on a product for weeks, months, or maybe even years—and now, it’s time to launch.A product launch event can serve multiple purposes: for you and your team, it’s a time to celebrate all of the work you’ve done, and to get hyped for the next iteration. For the press, it’s a peek into the future of your industry. And for your customers—the most important audience of all—it’s a time to learn and ask questions about a (hopefully) exciting new product.

With any kind of event planning, the key to success is being extremely organized. To be clear—organization doesn’t ensure a great event, but you can’t have a successful event without it. When it comes to planning a product launch event, getting everyone aligned, motivated, and productive is a tall task.

Transforming cross-functional product launch management

Our advice? Write. Everything. Down. You might be tempted to slack on documentation, but if you record every last detail and decision, you’ll end up with a single source of truth for your whole team—and a guide for your next product launch event, too.

If you’re ready to start documenting your plans, you don’t need to start from scratch—check out our product launch template and collection of event planning templates.

Read on for the baseline steps to putting a product launch event plan in action, or use the table of contents to jump to a specific area of expertise.

What is a product launch event?

A product launch event is like a debut for a new product, introducing it to the market as well as the media circuit. You’ll present your product in the most flattering and exhilarating way, with a goal of generating both buzz and sales.

A successful product launch event introduces and builds interest in a new product, and serves as the foundation of a successful sales and marketing initiative. As a kickoff to a long-term marketing campaign, the product launch event sets the tone and acts as a foundation for the rest of your campaign activities.

How to create a successful product launch event (4-steps)

Your product launch event should be worthy of the product itself—whether it’s an intimate dinner with VIP customers, or a multi-day conference. Use these best practices to keep your planning on track.

Step 1: Find the perfect venue

The location you choose to host your party should neatly align with your product and brand. Are you trying to foster one-on-one conversations, deliver an elaborate presentation, or get a dance party started? Are your customers urban Zoomers, busy parents, or chill octogenarians? Find a venue with the appropriate ambiance, layout, and location. 

Sometimes you need to think beyond the conventional to find the right spot. You might be surprised by what types of venues are open to event rentals: local museums, libraries, greenhouses, even private residences.

Hint: To visualize where various venues are in relation to each other, use the Airtable map app.

Step 2: Effectively promote your product launch event 

When you build momentum for your product launch event, you drive both attendance and advocacy for the product itself—even those who don’t attend can still be exposed to your promotional efforts. 

Depending on the size and importance of the launch, you might send press releases, issue formal invitations, or even—on occasion—place ads in print media. But for most product makers, digital marketing is the most effective (and least expensive) way to spread the word about a product launch event.

Keep in mind that event promotion, or event marketing, is often the sole responsibility of an individual or entire team—it can be a big job. But at a high level, digital marketing might involve email marketing, social media marketing, promotions, contests, countdowns, and paid ads. Demos, webinars, and videos are other great ways to spotlight a new product in advance of (or at) the event. Learn more about event marketing best practices in this article.

If you don’t already have messaging locked, now is your last chance to finalize guidelines around your product messaging. This will help keep every aspect of your product launch promotion consistent. Create a shareable doc (or database) with your messaging rules, or whatever feels relevant to your attendees, marketing folks, and event organizers. 

Transforming cross-functional product launch management

Step 3: Plan your event experience

Your event’s attendee experience will reflect (positively or negatively) on the product you and the team have worked so hard to release. Elements like lighting, decor, seating, and tech support can make or break your event.

At this point, you’ll want to consult with an events professional who can help you think through the details. Are your guests allowed to drink? Do guests who don’t drink have something to… well, drink? Thoughtful event production ensures your launch lives up to the hype you build. 

Tedious as it may sound, take the time to think through the attendee experience—from the moment someone arrives until they leave, what do you expect them to see, taste, or do? Visualizing each step may expose flaws in your plans. Say you’re launching a line of women’s dresses, and at the launch party—a fashion show and pop-up—you’re hoping to sell quite a bit of product. But you haven’t considered how women will try things on. Without dressing rooms, they won’t commit to the sale. 

Your product launch event might reach a much larger audience than just the people who show up in person. Between swag, social media photo ops, and social media mentions, you create opportunities for attendees to advertise and advocate for your product beyond the four walls of your event and long after the launch.

Caption: What’s your budget for this event? Airtable’s Event Planning Template has a built-in view for writing down exactly what you spend.

Step 4: Follow up after any product launch event!

One of the biggest mistakes novice product-launchers make is to consider their job done when the last guest leaves the room. To make your launch a success, there’s still work to be done. Following up with your audience serves a few critical purposes:

  1. It secures a positive impression of your product in minds of potential customers and evangelizers

  2. It gives you an opportunity to gather feedback from attendees

  3. It gives you a format for rolling out post-launch promotions, building on the momentum and generating additional sales

Keeping track of attendee contact information enables you to follow up after the event. Airtable’s Event Planning Template has a built-in view for attendee info.

As you get feedback from event participants, you can gauge next steps in your larger marketing plan and translate those insights into practical guidance for your sales team.

How to organize a successful product launch event 

You’ll know your event is successful when everything comes together—the event experience, the mix of people, the buzz the event generates, and, of course, the product itself. Starting with a well-organized event plan makes a big difference.

Airtable is an excellent tool for all aspects of organizing a  product launch event, including venue and vendor logistics, marketing campaign execution, and organizing critical insights in a readily accessible format so you can make it a truly splashy product debut.

To engage Airtable’s solution for organizing a successful product launch event, download Airtable’s Event Planning Template and get started!

Transforming cross-functional product launch management

About the author

Airtable's Product Teamis committed to building world-class products, and empowering world-class product builders on our platform.

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