Planning a meticulous product launch strategy on top of launching a product can be hectic, not to mention risky. Big companies launch new products or ventures on a regular basis. Very few of these successfully make it to the market, and fewer still generate any revenue for the company.
As per a Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, over 30,000 new consumer products are launched in the market every year, with barely 5% of them amounting to anything worthwhile. Christensen believes it to be a lack of preparation that prevents companies from producing desired results.
As it happens, an impeccable product launch strategy is crucial for a successful product launch. It makes it easier for product managers to set goals, mitigate risks, and align team members around a common messaging. Luckily, there are a few key elements product managers can incorporate in their launch plans to their product launch a smashing success!
How to create a product launch strategy?
Here's discussing the 10 key ingredients that result in a successful product launch.
1. Market Research
Making sure you have a stellar product is only half the job done; the other half is ensuring your product is exposed to the right market. Once you've conducted in-depth research and investigation of your market and learned about the likes, dislikes, interests, and purchasing habits of your audience, you can direct your product launch efforts appropriately.
When Target decided to foray into the Canadian market, they moved aggressively without testing their launch plans and launched about a hundred stores. As a result, the company lost billions of dollars and had to pull out eventually.
It is important to discard every assumption you may have about the market and replace it with data-based facts to drive actionable decision-making. In this manner, your product will not just be positioned before the right target audience but will also be able to quantitatively and qualitatively address their needs in the long run.
2. Resourceful Relationships
It's important to get your product launch in the first go. So, now's the time to leverage any relationships you may have developed with influential individuals and non-competing businesses in the industry. You can reach out to your vendors, customers, and manufacturers to assist you in your product launch by maximising exposure. For instance, you could request them to share your product announcement with their contacts, post about it on different social media platforms, or make a mention of it on their newsletters and company websites.
Encourage them to share it with their friends, colleagues, and families. As per Neilson, nearly 56% of survey respondents rely on friends and family recommendations to learn about new products.
3. Clarity with respect to goals
Given the number of teams and departments that need to come together to implement a successful product launch, it is imperative that the underlying processes be streamlined and crucial information be shared across the entire pipeline. This can be made possible by facilitating seamless coordination across cross-functional teams and keeping communication channels open to allow free flow of information. By doing so, you are providing team members uninterrupted access to resources, key documents, and project blueprints.
With clarity on goals and priorities, everyone can work efficiently to fulfil strategic objectives.
4. Effective marketing strategy
If you've already acquired a customer base, an effective product launch can enable you to achieve two important marketing goals at once — increasing brand awareness and boosting sales. However, if you are new to the market, you need an effective marketing strategy to maximize visibility and drive sales through engagement.
Another reason why a product launch requires strategic marketing plans is to attract new customers. So, whether or not you have an existing customer base, your focus should be to locate new revenue streams for the company. This would mean increasing your budget and ramping up your marketing efforts to enhance your reach.
5. Talented sales team
Your sales team, like every other contributing team in the organization, should have clarity with respect to product goals and marketing objectives. As representatives of your brand, it's necessary that they get the messaging right to drive a positive brand image.
Keep them updated with the latest developments and provide rigorous training so they have answers to every possible product-related query. Equip them with necessary tools, documents, FAQs, and spreadsheets for easier accessibility to information. In this manner, your sales team will be able to push trending products and provide faster resolutions in case anything goes wrong.
6. Performance Indicators
Not measuring the progress of your marketing strategies regularly makes it difficult to assess how effective your plans are. On top of that, there's a good chance that your marketing efforts will go off course in due time.
Make sure to track key metrics through cutting-edge tools and technologies to ensure your product launch strategy is delivering desired results. If not, you can apply corrective measures and adjustments to get yourself back on track.
7. Risk Management Plan
New initiatives and products increase the likelihood of risks down the road. Given the uncertainty in navigating uncharted territories, it's difficult to anticipate what might go wrong and prepare for it. Not to mention, your budget could take a huge hit if you do not have an effective risk management plan.
The solution to this is to rely on data-driven risk analysis tools. They help you gain an objective and comprehensive view of your product launch strategy. Using these predictive analytical technologies, you can assess potential challenges and resulting financial losses to zero in on a product launch strategy that will get you the best returns.
Tracking both technical and commercial elements of your product launch can help you move ahead with robust, risk-proof plans.
8. Customer Feedback
As your marketing efforts drive search traffic and engagement, you can leverage this interest to get feedback on your product launch strategy. Create a landing page with a subscription form for early adopters to submit their contact details. You can now send them personalised emails, newsletters, and latest updates on your product to keep their interests alive. In this manner, you'll have acquired customers even before you launch your product.
Market research can often be deceptive but by directly communicating with your customers, you can assess their response to your product and refine your launch strategy.
9. Mock Press Release
You can have a mock press release to test the waters before you launch your product into the market. It will allow you to gain first-hand insight into how customers will perceive your product. You will also find out if your press announcement has enough substance to generate widespread interest.
10. Launch Rehearsals
It's understood that there will be a ton of factors beyond your control when launching a new product. However, by practicing, you can control those elements of the product that are in your control. It also allows you to eliminate potential risks by training everyone collectively, from sales reps to management workers and board members.
When you finally launch your product, make sure you pick the right channel, one that maximizes exposure and drives engagement. Keep in touch with influencers and media persons, as well as customers by answering any queries they might have.
Ensure that you don't lose momentum even after the launch. Keep evaluating your progress to gain insights into how you can improve your products. Work on increasing brand visibility and taking your sales to the next level!