Should You Launch an Event in Under 9 Months?

Recently I was ruminating about a conversation I had many years ago with Vinnie Polito at SISO in Cleveland. At the time, I was in the midst of a client launch and sought marketing support. I also wanted his general take on the do’s and don’ts of fast launches. Vinnie’s philosophy was much more adventurous than mine, and he had a track record of execution that was second to none!

Remembering this conversation has inspired me to envision the conditions that warrant a quick launch and the keys to successful execution.

Should you do a fast launch?

Yes, if:

1) You must take advantage of a market opportunity that you are likely to miss if you waited.

2) You’re confident that you can get the top 5-10 companies in that market to support the event.

3) You can capture the mission of the event on a single page of paper, describing the event’s importance, relevance, superiority to what already exists, and intended audience.

4) You know you can reach the minimum attendance required by the top supporting companies (with a documented marketing plan to support that confidence).

5) You can make a sensible and cost-effective decision about a venue.

6) You have major industry influencers who will support your event’s launch.

7) You have capable staff who can be assigned to the event and will do what it takes to be successful.

8) You are positioned to afford a financial loss or a loss of reputation, should expectations not be met.

No, if:

1)  You can afford to wait 12+ months (my standard timeframe on a launch) to be successful and that time could improve the event and/or or otherwise better ensure its success.

2) You need time to get top companies to support the event (e.g., synch with their budget cycles, etc.).

3) You have yet to capture the clear differentiation between your event and anything else in the market.

4) You lack a crisp, clear, and cost-effective marketing plan, or there’s uncertainty about meeting a minimum attendance number.

5) You cannot find a suitable venue that is consistent with your brand and budget.

6) Initial market support for the event is short of what you believe is necessary.

7) Internal staff support is insufficient to ensure likely success.

8) Your company risks its future with a poor event.

9) You cannot look at yourself in the mirror with confidence that you can make it happen.
Clearly, you need the confidence and the experience – as well as the iron stomach – to be able to fast launch an event. Stress will take its toll. Given the risks and the opportunity, should you step up and try?

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