Students of marketing first heard about the “4 P’s” in the 1960’s, when the term was introduced by Jerome McCarthy [1]. He used it to describe the four key elements that contribute to the framework for marketing decision-making:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

As with every legacy that has survived into the 21st century, the 4 P’s have evolved to include the customer perspective: you could argue that power to delight the customer is the fifth element.

People at the heart

When you are planning your marketing events, especially something as significant as a product launch, it must be considered from a different perspective than that of an internal meeting or hospitality event. A product launch is an existential manifestation of the 4 P’s, with the emphasis on promotion. It breathes life into the product, demonstrates its features and benefits in a 3-dimensional show.  It’s an example of real “Show Business”!

Every corporate event with a focus on the customer adds power to your marketing. A product launch is the ultimate celebration of your brand, as your marketing proposition (another P!) is brought to life.  A live event gives your audience a unique experience and an insight into your brand values. It reinforces your market position (there’s another one) whilst also creating valuable relationships and hopefully increased loyalty.

Although the article may seem dated because it was written when Steve Jobs was alive, Neil Patel highlights key points about the power of a launch that puts the spotlight on the customer [3].  The points, which include drawing out suspense for just the right amount of time, turning the launch in to a social event or show, and getting opinion leaders on board early, are still totally valid and provide a reminder that live events can give a personality to the brand and connect that personality with the lifestyle and aspirations of the target customer.

Play on the potential

A creative event agency will help you to make the most of the potential that a product launch has to influence your target market and emphasise your superiority over your competitors.  A product launch is an opportunity to add the wow factor to your company image, to entertain and inform, and eventually to inspire people to buy from you.

There are some serious questions to ponder to ensure that your product launch fits into the overall marketing strategy [2]. As with any event, applying the discipline of Event ROI methodology to the planning process is vital. Big budgets are often allocated to product launches, but it is equally relevant to ask what the event will do for your company’s reputation as well as its future sales. Choosing the right place for a product launch or similar business presentation is critical. Selecting the right environment will positively reinforce your brand values and corporate profile whilst also making a strong impression on those who are invited to attend. Publicity around the product launch can extend the marketing message well beyond the elite invited audience and will help to attract attention and stimulate interest in the wider marketplace.

Plan every step

A report into product launches by McKinsey [4] highlights the importance for covering all three stages of your product launch: planning, precision and post-launch activity. It says:

“What turns out to really matter is having in place a specific set of core capabilities, the most important of which are team collaboration, incorporation of market insights, rigorous planning of upcoming launches, and growing talent.”

At PAEM, our experience of product launches is that they require the same rigorous approach to research and planning, co-ordination and control as any other event.  The main factor that makes them different is their promotional nature.  Anticipation and excitement are generally intense around product launches.  All that hysteria must not be allowed to overtake common sense and a continued focus on a successful outcome.

The power of marketing does indeed revolve around the original 4 P’s, but there are many more P’s that can be just as important to your marketing strategy.