A product launch comprises the organized efforts required to successfully introduce a new product to the market.
The main goal of a product launch is to make the product available to customers and build sales momentum. However, it serves several other purposes inside a company, defining the key marketing aspects and sales strategies that will ultimately lead to the success or failure of the product.
While many businesses focus 90% of their attention on the launch event, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The product launch is not a one-time-only event but a process. Viewed as a lifecycle, it moves from the stage of preparation to execution and follows through post-launch to gather early customer feedback and bring improvements.
Time is the first thing to consider when launching a product. Given the process’s complexity and the high number of departments involved, launch preparations should start 4-5 months before the date in mind.
At the beginning of this period, teams from product development, marketing, sales, finance, HR, and customer support need to establish a cohesive strategic vision and pin-point the quantifiable goals of the launch.
The departments will check for any inconsistencies between the product roadmap and the current state of the product in development to ensure they are on track. After product testing, they’ll update accordingly.
Next, the marketing team needs to polish the USP and messaging, matching the product’s features with customer wants and needs. At this time, they’ll also prepare all the necessary marketing collateral and plan the launch event itself.
Building on the marketing team’s strategy, the sales department will outline their approach and establish prime lead generation sources. Simultaneously, the customer support department will stream vital information from the other teams and get ready to answer any inquiries.
Once the entire organization is up to date, teams will coordinate once again to decide what metrics they should follow post-launch, how to track user behavior and how to gather feedback.
A risk management plan is also essential for a product launch. Addressing the biggest problems that could arise will equip your business with the know-how to stop them in their tracks.
A successful product launch aligns the final version of the product with market expectations and enables customers to easily get their hands on it.
Sales are the most basic indicator of a successful product launch. However, each company needs to evaluate success according to the specific metrics defined in the preparation stage.
The product management team needs to review the goals they set, then track results to establish if they’ve achieved their objectives.
On a more subtle level, the success of a product launch translates into how well departments collaborate and share information. When a product does well in the market, that reflects a strong company mindset and culture based on transparency.