Thirteen years ago, Bill Gates opened the Consumer Electronics Show as keynote speaker. And, though it wasn’t his first CES presentation, it was one that secured a spot among the worst product demos.
Gates, on-stage with comedian Conan O’ Brien, attempted to demonstrate Microsoft’s Window XP Media Center Edition. The aim was to show funny pictures he and Conan had taken the night before. But, as he clicked the button to begin, nothing happened. Gates solemnly looked around for help and continued to press the remote control with no luck. All the while, Conan made jokes at his expense (and Microsoft’s) to take some heat off Gates and lighten the mood.
It wasn’t the only technology failure (which we know aren’t uncommon) during Microsoft’s timeslot. But, met with humor and a seamless transition, this fiasco was a little less awkward. There’s no doubt he would’ve preferred a smooth presentation. Yet, the fact is, the best product demos are made of elements like these.
The B2B buying process rarely excludes a product demo. And, they’re just as significant for B2C brands. That’s because, despite the popularity of online retailers like Amazon, people still prefer to shop in-store. A visit to a brick-and-mortar location comes with one major benefit its virtual competitors don’t have– the ability to see, touch and feel products. This is the number one reason people are willing to make the trip, despite easier options. Still, it’s perplexing to learn almost a third of them will return home to actually make their purchases, leaving physical retailers without the sale.
At the same time, brands launch thousands of consumer packaged goods each year. In fact, in 2016, consumers were introduced to over 20,000 foods and beverages and near 19,000 non-foods, per the USDA. This makes cutting through the clutter and reaching consumers difficult for both new and old products.
No matter the industry or the age of the product, event marketers should execute product demos. When done right, they put products center stage, upping their chances of being chosen over the competition.
To improve demos or to launch new products in the most effective ways, event marketers must put these four elements at the forefront.
Nothing will kill a product demo faster than a spiel about your product’s features. Any good salesperson will tell you the best way to highlight your product’s ins and outs is to translate them as benefits to your consumers. This is especially helpful when they address a problem your product solves.
For example, sharing a bed with someone can sometimes result in more exhaustion than sleep. When your significant other crawls onto their side or rolls over during the night, it can disrupt your slumber. Tempur-Pedic, realizing the problem, had a solution and launched a now-infamous campaign to share it.
It started with a commercial, which showed people jumping on the brand’s memory foam mattress. The surprise to viewers was a glass of red wine that sat still – on the same pristine mattress – during all this activity. It was hard to believe. So, mattress retailers jumped on board, inviting people to test it for themselves in store. The approach not only proved the ad’s claim, it engaged consumers in the effort to deliver a memorable experience.
Oftentimes, benefits aren’t as easy to demonstrate or as impressive as Tempur-Pedic’s mattress. And, this means other elements must step up to bring the enthusiasm your product demo needs. At the same time, extraordinary benefits or not, the points must be delivered as so. Understanding their critical role, event marketers must carefully choose their product specialists.
Selecting the right product specialists means many things. First, it means finding event staff knowledgeable about your industry or product, or who are capable of learning. These may be responsible bartenders for alcohol promotions, or electronics “geeks” for tech demos. Event marketers need event staff that can speak to consumers’ existing knowledge of the product.
On top of expertise, product specialists must have the personality to interact with participants and to personify the brand. And, they should be quick on their feet to address questions and overcome obstacles. In short, the ability to shine the best light on your product will depend on how bright your product specialists shine.
When UK-based company, Soap & Glory, planned its intro to the U.S. market, they did so with much forethought. The beauty brand knew its best approach was to let consumers experience the benefits of its products. This left the brand to find the right locations for their campaign. The answer was to partner with iHeartMedia, which hosts various music festivals for the brand’s target consumers. With its locations secured, the next step was to find its “Glory Girls.” These were to be female product specialists with a passion and aptitude for beauty products. Yet, they must also embody Soap & Glory’s style and values. But once the eight critical roles were filled, the important work was far from done.
It was now time to train the “Glory Girls” on the brand’s key messages, goals and product demo details. Though they had the skills, personalities, and look for the job, instruction on the campaign was necessary to ensure their success and, most importantly, Soap & Glory’s. And, the same is true for any brand aiming to host the best product demos. Product specialists must know what you expect so that they may perform in accordance.
Other considerations for preparation include event tech, such as that for lead capture. Ensuring its seamless use for consumers should be top of mind in planning.
A second key component of the Soap & Glory campaign was product sampling. When product specialists weren’t giving demos (makeovers), another objective was to distribute samples. And, it’s proven time and again to be a smart move by brands of all kinds. In fact, one study showed a 475% boost in sales of a sampled item following demo. Even better, sales for all products in the product line increased “as much as 177 percent” that same day. And, 58% said “they would buy the product again after trying.”
The trick to know if your sampling effort is successful is in its tracking. This is why some brands opt to hand out digital offers for samples. Another tactic is to give the sample in person and then incentivize to take a next step, such as download of a digital coupon. And, when brands require info for redemption, they are able to capture invaluable consumer data without being overbearing.
In the end, it’s simple strategies like these that deliver maximum results and land brands among those giving the best product demos.
At Elevate, we have the right talent to execute any product demo. Contact us to learn how our product specialists can put your brand and product front and center.