Companies rise or fall on the success or failure of a new product launch. So do careers. As the marketing leader, you play a pivotal role in bringing the new offering to market. You own product launch. It’s your job to confirm the before, during and after is executed flawlessly. Unfortunately, most marketing leaders don’t know or under-estimate what’s involved.
Here are four steps to ensure you get it right:
STEP #1 – FINALIZE STRATEGY
A successful product launch starts with a good strategy. In Step #1 you should prioritize the opportunity that exists inside your prospect universe for the new product. What are the verticals, regions, segments to target? Are their new markets to enter?
Step #1 also involves selling the concept internally. You will need to secure resources: time, talent & money. Be prepared to test your concept and vet it with a business case.
Finally, you should exit Step #1 only when you have:
- Successfully demonstrated the new product’s market potential
- Gained internal approval to move forward
- Commitment of required capital investment and resources
STEP #2 – PRODUCT MANAGEMENT
The next step to a successful product launch is building a cross-functional team to test and validate product development. You need to ensure it works and delivers as promised. The team should include stakeholders from sales, marketing, channel partners, product development, customer service and operations. The goal of this step is to confirm deployment readiness.
A few must-do items in this step:
- Target Ideal Customer Profile for new product
- Target Buyer Persona Profiles
- Buying Process Maps for target personas
- Pricing Guidelines
- Channel Strategy & Sales Goals
- Training material/courseware for sales team
- Early stage marketing collateral
- Field Marketing Strategies & Demo Decks
You should only exit this phase when deployment readiness has been validate by all stakeholders.
STEP #3 – LAUNCH READINESS
Step #3 to successfully bringing products to market is Launch Readiness. Don’t skimp on this critical step. To be prepared is half the victory.
Launch Readiness includes:
- Quality assurance and product testing validated
- Inventory and supply chain readiness confirmed to fulfill anticipated demand
- Direct sales team and channel partner communications and training complete
- Marketing launch plans (global & local) finalized
- Trade publication placements finalized
- Website, social, digital media, postings to sales and channel portals
- Campaigns and demand generation programs ready
- Support tools and customer service capabilities verified
STEP #4 – LAUNCH, MEASURE & ITERATE
The fourth and final step to a successful product launch is Launch, Measure & Iterate.
Launch: You have completed Steps 1-3. Set the date and officially launch the new product.
Measure: You need to review early performance indicators vis-à-vis forecasted outcomes.
- Evaluate early customer responses
- Monitor Pipeline
- Review early wins and losses
- Gather feedback from field and channel partners
Iterate: Based on early indicators and feedback, refine your demand generation programs and campaigns. Optimize go-to-market programs to close forecast gaps. And as the new product gets into the hands of more customers, look for possible future product enhancements. Learn and iterate.
CALL TO ACTION:
Companies rise or fall on the success or failure of a new product launch. So do careers. As the marketing leader, you play a pivotal role in bringing the new offering to market. Have you unsuccessfully launched a product recently? If so, download the Roadmap and follow the four step above to ensure you get it right next time.