Posted by: Kristen Beireis, Trust Marketing Expert

No, I haven’t gone off the deep end!  As someone who has been involved in theater since I was 8 years old I have  a lot of experience with putting up a show.  As I continue to do marketing launches for myself and for my clients I keep seeing these similarities that I just couldn’t resist pointing out.  In sharing these similarities, I hope to give my readers a bit of a “what to expect” education when it comes to launching in your business.

Kristen as clubbing girl in showcase of original musical Vivianna.

Kristen as clubbing girl in showcase of original musical "Vivianna".

1)  It’s not just a one day dealy. As with any event, a marketing campaign takes time.  I’ve done community theater where the preparation is 3 months.  The more campaigns I do, the more I want 3 months to put it together.  It seems to be reasonable for us AND for our clients.

2)  Character preparation. Yeah, you think this is just for actors, but it’s not true.  Every launch has it’s own character and every business owner needs to find what that character is.  As you create your product or program that will launch, you are stepping into a new part of who you are as the business owner, coach, and educator.  So, you need to prepare by knowing who you are stepping into being before you start the launch.

3)  Building the set. Every theater show has some sort of set.  Even the barest of stages has some design and carpentry that goes into it.  Even if it’s just lighting.  You have to program the light cues so the lighting changes when it needs to.  Same with a marketing launch.

There is architecture that needs to be built in order to hold that launch.  There are messages that need to go out, web pages that need to go up, and social networking designs that need to be put into place.  If the marketing architecture isn’t there you don’t have a launch.  You just have a product or service that is  in existence without people to buy it.

4)  Practice, practice, practice. Okay this one might be a stretch, but I’m putting it out there anyway.  An actress needs to practice her lines.  Then she needs to practice the scenes with her fellow cast mates.

Every launch we do I find some amount of checking, reviewing, and testing needs to happen.  This is like a rehearsal.  If you skip this piece you could fall flat on your face come launch day.

5)  Tech week. In my recent personal launch it hit me that the week of the launch is very much like the week leading up to opening night of a show.  For the business owner who does the launch themselves or for the team who is putting the final touches on the launch, there is a lot of time involved.

Last fall I did a show and, because of my past experience, I knew my life for tech week would be centered around the show.  So, I didn’t have anything else scheduled.

A launch is the same.  My team and I prepare to spend extra time on projects for launch week.  Inevitably we end up fixing, tweaking, and having to re-do something that technically didn’t work right leading up to the launch.  So, we create a light week for ourselves in order to deal with whatever comes up.

6)  It’s opening night! Launch day is like opening night.  The show is solid and ready, but there is always something to trip you up.  Little quirks or unexpected technical issues always happen.  You know this going in and you do your best to stay in character and keep the show going, no matter what happens.

Launch day is exactly the same.  No matter how much we plan, practice, and put our efforts into the launch…there’s always some little thing that trips us up and we need to quickly jump in and fix it so that the rest of the day goes smoothly.  Just like a show where the audience doesn’t exist until opening night, many things go live on launch day.  All moving parts cannot actually be tested until that moment.  So, you need to be prepared to handle it.

So, as with any show, you want to go into the launch knowing what to expect.  Be prepared for each piece above and you will have MUCH less stress for your launch.

How does this compare with your experience of launches?  Did I miss something?  Leave your comments.  I’d love to read them.



Comments

  1. 1
    Lissa Boles // July 28th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Love the theatre metaphor - entirely works for me.

    And your list seems right on the money to me. We beta-launched a new community platform the middle of last week, choosing to invite a small, select group to join us with our complements as we test the platform.

    Kind of a trial run, to continue the theme?

    This is giving us the breathing room to tweak and fix what fritzes out or doesn’t do what we expect - and check that what we plan to offer works for people, what we’ve built in terms of features works for people, and generally get some energy and interaction rolling before we open the doors to the public.

    What I’m noticing in particular is that who you ‘need to be’ to launch is different from who you ‘need to be’ after the launch has happened - and future-casting so you’re able to anticipate and plan for that a little bit (or connect with and pick-the-brains of those who’ve been through it themselves).

    Another thing that might be of benefit is to decide - in advance - how much of your time you want/are willing to invest post-launch.

    It’s so easy - especially with a new launch/venture - to loose that dynamic balance we all want…

  2. 2
    Kristen Beireis // July 28th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Great point Lissa…the post-launch is just as important as before the launch. And yes, it’s a totally different character.

    Love it that you’ve given yourself some breathing room to tweak and fix. Every day I see the huge benefits of a “pre-launch”. I’m about ready to start requiring it! lol! :)

  3. 3
    Schelli Whitehouse // August 16th, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Hi Kristen - I just found your site and really like your style of communicating.

    As a former professional thespian myself I totally relate to this analogy of a launch vs. ‘opening night’!

    Also what you offer in terms of marketing support is akin to what the theatre crew (lighting & sound techs, set design, costumes, props, writers, directors, etc…) provides for the actors on the stage. All of that is continually running in the background in order for the actors (your clients) to deliver their powerful, entertaining, life-changing message!

    Brava my dear!
    ~Schelli

  4. 4
    Kristen Beireis // August 16th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Oh Schelli, now you’ve opened a can of worms! I had never thought of it that way. So, my brain immediately starts filling in the rest of the positions for a coaching company. Not only do you have the crew to make the coach shine (their marketing team), but you’ve got the Producer & Director as well. The Producer is the Business Manager who handles all the finances, publicity and making sure everyone in the company has what they need. The Director is the Business Coach who helps the coach find who they are within their role of the business and how to capitalize on it so that opening night they have an amazing show. Fun! Thanks for pushing me to think further on this. I appreciate that. :)

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