You’ve Got Your App… Now What? Chapter II : Launch Party

The time has come to throw a strategic, mini launch party… and have some fun! In Chapter I, we discussed the importance of crafting your internal communications for generating awareness around your mobile app program initiatives.

A very clever, logical step in preparing cross-functional teams for roll-out is to create a mini-event or sample meeting that leverages mobile app touchpoints, disguised as a launch party. This is two-fold, a launch party is going to be fun and get people excited about your progress of course, but it also serves as a proof point.  

Crafting a mobile app program is not a small investment, so naturally, it deserves an exciting launch with some internal fanfare.

You’re Out of Your Mind, Why a Party?

You’ve done your homework and put in the time, getting your team informed about the app and product you will serve. Now you must get them amped up and excited. The best way to do that is to have a mini-product launch.

A great way for people to understand the value you’re trying to create with a mobile-led customer experience program is to have them experience it for themselves. Treat guests, and attendees from your organization like a customer so they get first-hand experience on how the program will be a useful tool for enhancing overall satisfaction before, during, and after a meeting or event.

It’s important to remember that while everyone should have fun, you also have a mission and goals to accomplish so don’t lose sight of them. To ensure a successful roll-out of your app, it’s a great idea to use the launch party to get your ducks in a row.

Here, are some ways to make sure that mini-launch party is beneficial to everyone.

Design the Experience

You should use you traditional meeting set-up procedurals to create the party but also begin to use the app. This helps people familiarize themselves with the features of your app, the mechanics, and gives you a better idea of the user outlook.

For example, invitations, instructions, etc. can all be set-up inside the mobile app. Just as you would use the app to invite customers to your briefing center, so too you should invite ‘attendees’ to your launch.

Every step in the launch party can be mirrored through the mobile app: agenda, location, speakers, promotional banners, social feeds, eContent etc. Take advantage of each of these sections for your launch. You can come up with a special hashtag, share moderated posts in the activity feed, or even upload a custom on-boarding document to the eContent section so people can reference your carefully planned notes at any time.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box here. Furthermore, find a way for your partygoers to submit feedback which you can use to further improve your app.

Here are a few test-run objectives you can activate for you launch:

1.     Get App Installs. Encourage attendees to downloaded and use your app so they get the full experience when they attend your party. Should you need an incentive, consider running contest or competition that gives everyone an incentive to use the app right away.

2.     Be Inclusive. To ensure maximum exposure for your launch party, be sure to include cross-functional team members and make accommodations for time and location to best suit the largest audience. Be sure to provide a virtual presence so remote stakeholders can also be a party of the party.

3.     Create A Journey. Plan your launch party carefully. You want each activity to mirror a typical path a customer may take at your location during their customer experience journey. Highlight who and what they interact with. From the parking lot, to check-in, to the meeting room, have built in experiences at each stage via the mobile app through features like VIP check-in, beacon messaging, indoor mapping, polls etc.

4.     Capture the Event. Not everyone you invite - including some important players - will be able to attend. Therefore, ensure you have some way to include them like a recap video of the experience or a private test session so they get time with your app too and can ‘replay’ the experience themselves.

Prep the Guest List

The more obvious people to invite to your launch party include your team members, key stakeholders, and C-level management. These groups are not only crucial to the success and vision of your app, but also any future support you plan to offer, including updates, customer service, and more. They are the backbone of your organization, so they need to be there. Plus, they’ve probably had a long waiting period while you worked on the app experience, all leading up to the launch. They deserve to have some fun!

You can also think more broadly, and bring on other divisions like sales, marketing, social, tech, and more. The customer experience mobile app program is key for customer briefings, meetings and events, but it can also be used for perpetual engagement with your customers which is beneficial to other groups who can use the app as a sales enablement tool as well.

These cross-divisional units have a direct stake in your company’s successful customer experience program too.

But ultimately, the more that are interested and aware, the more app stickiness you have to work with.

Ultimately, the goal is to get your app in use and bring on initial exposure. Therefore, it’s also a great idea to invite industry influencers, media and press, social media stars and more. It’s also a time and place to promote your product.

Deliver a Visionary Speech

Before you start the festivities, you’ll want to open everything up with an introduction. Take the opportunity to deliver a visionary speech from either you or a trusted team member. Explain why the digitization effort is important for your company and your future success.

Furthermore, paint a picture of how it will benefit your customers and why they would want to use something like you’re offering. Do you have any quotes from customers, direct feedback, or notes from your Net Promoter Score you can leverage?

Try to identify pain points from the customers point of view for your company and your industry, then align each with the app pointing out benefits that address each of these pain points. Is it giving your visitors a takeaway? Is it providing sales teams with more stats and data? Is it just modernizing your customer experience program? Reveal what problems you’re trying to solve… then solve them, with your mobile app program.

People don’t just fall into a state of hype and excitement, you have to stir it up or push them, so to speak. That’s exactly what your speech should be about.

You want your team, attendees, executives, and more importantly your stakeholders to get behind you. You need a complete and total organization buy-in and that means the full support and confidence of everyone.

Welcome and Collect Feedback

It’s important that you allow your attendees the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on the experience, but also that you collect and review this information later. Really spend time listening and giving weight to what they have to say. Not only does this make them feel empowered and responsible for the success of the mobile app program, it helps you get everything working just as it should.

Sometimes, when you’re working on the launch of a piece of software or app you have your head pressed down in the sand so deep. Your focus is on finishing the task at hand that it’s easy to overlook some of the flaws and problems you might have to fix, or that your users may encounter. The launch party event is a great time to highlight and identify those issues, so you can make some quick last-minute fixes.

Again, tie it back to the mobile app. Leverage features like polls and surveys to aggregate feedback. This is the same form in which your customers will be providing feedback to your briefing team, so make the experience come full circle and show how effortless, yet valuable these in-app features will be for the success of your program.

Provide Food and Drinks

It’s a party, and what are parties notorious for? Food and drinks, obviously! Feed the souls - and bellies - of your attendees with more than just knowledge.

It should be said, people often come for the food and stay for the talk. You know the old morning doughnut trick, it’s effective. So, go ahead and put a little effort into providing snacks, hors d’ oeuvres and some cocktails. Think of it as a post-meeting mixer or a little tasty fair to get people to at least show up. Either before or after your party, food serves as a ‘water cooler’ where people can continue the discussion, ask questions, etc.

Remember, depending on the timing of your launch party, a lot of people attending the event will be doing so after a long day at work. You need something that’s going to entice them to stay longer and participate. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go overboard and things have to go wild, but the core focus here is fun.

Just make sure everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves, and that it doesn’t feel like additional work - even if they are contributing in some small way to the overall project.

Enjoy the Party and Have Some Fun! 

Once you have everything running, it’s time to kick back and enjoy yourself. Just make sure that launch party activities are running smoothly and you should be good to go!

Next Steps?

At this point you’ve distributed internal communications, shared business objectives, and hosted a ‘mini’ meeting disguised as a launch party. This should increase internal on-boarding and buy-in from your organization within. Now let’s look outwards…

In the next chapter, we’ll discuss the importance of external communications for your customers and other audience members, the true core of your mobile app program.