How We Launched AudiencePlus Like a Media Company

How We Launched AudiencePlus Like a Media Company


We received a ton of positive feedback about how we launched AudiencePlus to the world. I thought it would make sense to document our playbook in case there are any learnings here for other marketers.

Because the truth is launching a company is really hard.

At the earliest stages, most companies do not have the resources (nor the share of voice) of much larger businesses who can invest to break through the noise. There would be no OOH campaign, barely any press coverage, and no top-tier sponsorship at an industry conference.

However, there is immense value in executing a powerful launch moment. What Christopher Lochhead and the Play Bigger team refer to as “lightning strike” moments can spark a movement within your category, position your brand as the thought leader, and mobilize an audience of customers or would-be customers to validate and amplify your positioning.

That’s what we wanted to do with AudiencePlus, but started the creative process just like every other marketing team — with a blank whiteboard.


Inspiration Found in a Weird Place

Our business sells to marketers, and beyond that, is built on a conviction that companies need to act more like media companies in order to build a direct relationship with their audience. So like everything else we do in marketing, we asked ourselves, what lessons can we draw from traditional media?

Our brainstorming led us to two reference examples — SpaceX launches and, of all things, The Bachelor.

Please don’t judge me on the latter point.

We were fascinated by the “pre-show” production that SpaceX and other companies do in order to build hype ahead of the launch of the rocket — filling time with expert opinions, behind the scenes footage, all with a clock counting down to the big moment.

We were equally, and awkwardly, fascinated by the “post-show” production on The Bachelor — a popular dating show here in the US. In what is referred to as After the Rose, the host brings the cast on stage to debrief what happened in the latest episode, capture audience reactions, and reveal never-before-seen footage from the main event.

Both of these event formats had a space in the collective consciousness of our market as consumers, but have never been truly applied in the B2B setting — at least as far as we understood it.

That’s where the idea clicked.

What if we hosted an Apple-esque keynote reveal of the AudiencePlus platform? Could we create enough hype ahead of, and directly after the presentation, that this would feel like so much more than just a “webinar” — but rather, a moment for our industry?

So we launched the landing page for AudiencePlus Meets World — a four-hour LinkedIn takeover that had three core elements:

  • A live pre-show with a celebrity host that facilitated interviews with key buyer personas, sharing category best practices.

  • A pre-recorded keynote (that we agonized over for months) that delivered our news and positioning to the world.

  • A live post-show (with the same celebrity host) interviewing customers and investors, getting live reactions from influencers within our niche, and an exclusive Q&A with our founders.

It was a bold idea on paper.

Would people actually give us four-hours of their workday to watch our launch event? If the answer is no, then our failure would have been fairly public as LinkedIn doesn’t hide viewership count.

But since the bar for company launches is so low — at least in B2B — it felt like a reasonable gamble to prove our owned media hypothesis. Candidly, we did not anticipate just how impactful the program would become for the business.


What Happened Next

AudiencePlus Meets World drove 908 total registrations on LinkedIn, and thanks to the virality of the platform, was viewed by nearly 3,000 unique viewers on that platform alone. WE had over 204 peak live viewers at any one time, and over 150 viewers who watched for the entire four hours.

That last metric was staggering to me.

The engagement during the event was extremely high, with 524 comments and 31 shares from our live viewers. Today, AudiencePlus Meets World lives on as a collection on AudiencePlus where thousands of viewers are interacting with the content every week.

In terms of outcomes, nearly 500 unique companies filled out the waitlist for our product, 78% of which indicated they currently have an active initiative for owned media (our category). Enough pipeline to keep this founder-turned-AE busy for some time.

Beyond the quantitative measures of success were several comments, both in public and private forums, indicating that AudiencePlus had pulled off one of the best company launches ever seen in our industry. We’re humbled and appreciative to have worked on something as special as this launch, and feel an obligation to share our learnings with the industry.

So if you are an early stage business planning a company launch, or maybe even a later stage company planning your own “lightning strike” moments around a brand or product launch, here are some of the specific tactics that worked really well for our program.


Takeaways on Specific Tactics that Drove Our Launch

With live events of any kind, the sum of the experience is greater than the individual parts of planning. However in reflection, these are some of the specific tactics that contributed greatly to the success of the program.

Audience Building Ahead of the Show. It’s extremely difficult — if not impossible — to execute a successful event program from a standing start. We had spent about seven months building an audience of 3k subscribers before our event, so that when we did launch, there would be people paying attention.

We had also spent the better part of a year developing equity relationships with advisors who had agreed to be speakers at the event and amplify the program (and our news) on LinkedIn. We closed a couple dozen customers who had agreed to support our marketing efforts by providing quotes and the right to use their logo.

Without putting in months of effort in developing relationships with our audience, advisors, and customers, the launch moment would have been much less impactful.

Choosing LinkedIn as our Event Platform. This one may seem random coming from the owned media guy, but we strategically made the decision to stream the event on a rented channel and then host the content post facto on our owned channel. The key reason — the promise of virality. We had over 3x more attendees than registrations which will NEVER happen in a closed network — likely credited to the 31 shares of the event from our viewers.

Note we do not plan to make a habit out of hosting events on LinkedIn — the management experience was really difficult and the product itself leaves a lot to be desired. But for a one-time “moment” intended to send a shockwave throughout the industry, it was exactly the tool that we needed.

Influencer and Speaker Activation. We equipped our speakers with social cards, pre-written posts, and other prompts in order to promote their participation at the event. LinkedIn also had some specific features such as adding speakers to an event (limited to 10) and allowing confirmed speakers to invite their networks to register (limited to 1000 invites per week). To amplify our company news, we put a hold on calendars of all our advisors with a Google Doc that had enablement materials.

The chorus of third-party voices created the sense that a “movement” was being initiated on LinkedIn that day — and validation that our brand was leading the charge behind this exciting new vision for the future of our industry.

Celebrity Factor. I think every great event needs one “draw” who can create buzz, drive registrations, and add some entertainment value to the program. As a marketing team, you’re able to leverage FOMO, a powerful and emotional lever for driving participation at events.

Now again, as a super early stage company we did not have budget to get an A-lister to host the event, so we leveraged our relationships and were able to negotiate a reasonable deal to have Danielle Fischel (who played Topanga on the hit 90s show Boy Meets World) host our program. Her per diem was in fact one of our only expenses in producing the entire event since we owned all of our production equipment and leveraged software that we had already licensed for the year.

Danielle was the perfect host for us. She was willing to send us a selfie video to promote the event and drive registrations. She was game to participate in a fun skit with me to open the show (forgive my acting). And even participated in an exclusive meet and greet with our attendees — which I’ll explain later.

Best of all, Danielle helped us tap into an emotion that perhaps is even more powerful than FOMO — nostalgia. Her affiliation with the event had an outsized impact on the success of the launch.

Paying it Forward. We wanted to look for opportunities to live our values from our earliest days as a business — including with highly visible programs such as this one. One of those values is Childlike Joy, and in the background, we had been working with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital to set up a childlike joy fund that supports family life programs such as animal therapy, music therapy, tutoring, spiritual life services, and other initiatives that help spark joy for children who are patients at the hospital.

We decided to donate $1 for every registration on our LinkedIn event page, leading to a $1,000 donation to the hospital. Our team was able to spend part of launch week volunteering at Phoenix Children’s as well as a reminder of the commitment to our community. While this wasn’t meant to be “marketed” necessarily, I think it did give our audience a window into our values and culture as a company.

Relentless Promotions & Exclusives. I’m pretty sure I posted every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 8:00 AM PST for the three weeks that built up to our launch. We had created a “hype video” as a teaser to the program, static cards to announce Danielle’s participation as host, static cards to announce the agenda, and even a walk-and-talk video explaining the event and why people should join us. There’s something to be said about relentlessness in promotions during the build up to a major event — even if that comes at the cost of some unsubscribes or slightly-annoyed followers.

One lesson that I learned producing the Pulse conference at Gainsight was the importance of creating urgency in order to drive registrations. But since our launch event was free, we couldn’t expire an early bird pricing SKU or suggest the event was about to sell out.

So instead, we leaned on our friend FOMO and launched a campaign promoting an exclusive meet and greet with our celebrity host Danielle for only 25 people who registered by the Friday before the show. This allowed us to manufacture a deadline ahead of the event itself and drive urgency in our communication that led to a spike in registrations.

Traditional PR. The launch event did not come at the cost of the traditional PR playbook around launches, but rather was meant to be an “and” to those efforts. We contracted with a great PR agency that had startup-friendly packages for companies at our stage, and were able to land a TechCrunch exclusive covering our news, five other pieces of earned media coverage, and three newsletter inclusions. The PR coverage added credibility to our launch since it wasn’t just folks within our echo chamber talking about AudiencePlus, but the industry at large that was paying attention.



No marketing launch is perfect — I’m sure that our list of things we would do differently would be just as large as the one above. Hopefully there were a few insights from our experience that can be helpful as you think about orchestrating a launch moment for your company, brand campaign, product line, or whatever news you’re hoping to break.

The biggest takeaway? Owned media is a powerful lever for creating larger than life moments for your audience. We’ll continue beating this drum, but hopefully with events like AudiencePlus Meets World, we were able to prove it as well.

A huge thank you to the incredible team at AudiencePlus that pulled this program off with less than one month of planning. A special thanks to Justin Siegel who was instrumental in every detail and execution of the event.



Anthony Kennada | About the Author

Founder and CEO, AudiencePlus

Prior to founding AudiencePlus, Anthony served as the CMO of incredible companies like Hopin and Front. He was the founding CMO of Gainsight where he and his team are credited with creating the Customer Success category -- a novel business imperative, profession and software category that helps subscription companies grow sustainably by becoming customer obsessed. By focusing on human first community building, content marketing, live events and creative activations, they developed a new playbook for B2B marketing that built the Gainsight brand and fueled the company’s growth from $0 to $100M+ ARR, and eventual acquisition by Vista Equity at a $1.1B valuation. You can follow him here.


How We Launched AudiencePlus Like a Media Company

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