Keys to a Successful Product Launch

There are some products that take a long time to gain traction in the marketplace. Those are the exceptions for two reasons:

1)      There are few companies that can afford to sustain a new product that does not gain immediate traction

2)      Newer products will often improve upon prior iterations by the same company or competitors and so will crowd out older products with little market share

And so we can determine that most successful products are successful early in the post-launch phase of their life.

Product Lifecycle

A typical product lifecycle has four distinct stages:

1)      Launch

2)      Growth

3)      Maturity

4)      Renewal or Decline

These are the same, more or less, as the lifecycle for a business. And each phase involves a number of key decisions that a company must make to succeed.

In order to effectively get to the growth stage, first you have to have a successful product launch. If you are responsible for getting your product out the door and into the marketplace most effectively, here is a checklist you can use to improve the likelihood of a successful launch.

Product Launch Checklist

  • Has the product been fully tested and come through without any bugs?

  • Have you tested your product with customers to ensure it solves a real need in the market?

  • Do you have buy-in from senior leadership throughout the company?

  • Do you have sales and revenue targets for the first 30, 60, 90 days after launch? Do you know what to do if you fall short of those targets?

  • Has the advertising budget been approved that you need to meet your sales expectations?

  • Have you communicated with all departments so that they know everything they need to know to better serve the launch? Marketing, sales, customer support, finance, analysts?

  • Have you given the marketing team enough lead time to have all of their campaigns built and ready to deploy on day one?

  • Have you done press outreach to gain publicity around the launch?

  • Is the messaging on your website ready to go live?

  • Do you have a plan? Is there a document that people across your organization can refer to if they have questions?

So much of the success of any product is in the launch. The more planning you do in advance, the more you can ensure that both the product and the marketing are ready to go, the better your odds of a successful launch.

Best of luck!

Don’t Wait for Perfect

We can spend hours, days, and weeks waiting for something to be perfect. Whether it’s an advertisement, a new product, a logo, a training program or a new hire, we have to learn to ignore that voice in our heads that is afraid.

A little fear and doubt can be good for us. They cause us to look at things in more than one way, to take the big picture into consideration and question the how and the why of what we’re doing. It gives us the ability to judge something, good or bad.

But that fear can be paralyzing. To be a perfectionist in a business sense is to delay launching. And launching has to be the goal.

There is no such thing as the perfect product. The best companies in the world, with the best products in the world, are not perfect. And they know it.

Google’s search engine isn’t perfect. They are working 24/7 to improve it. But that doesn’t keep people from using it.

Apple’s iPhone isn’t perfect. They fix bugs with each new release. But that doesn’t keep people from buying it.

If you are waiting for perfect, you’re going to miss your opportunity to succeed.

 

Launch and iterate.

If We Could All Launch Like Apple

Every business owner dreams of a world where millions of people tune in every time they have an announcement to make. They pray for coverage in every major news outlet. They would sell their souls for the opportunity to sell out on pre-orders.

And yet somehow, Apple has managed to do all that, and then some.

The world stops. We all pay attention. They announce a new product. And it sells out.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

They have built a world in which they command our attention. They have a community of fans, customers, and evangelists that will do anything for the brand. Apple can’t lose.

They’ve created a demand that is unparalleled.

It’s a marketer’s dream!