Get started on the path to a successful product launch with these six key principles.
Launching a new product can be an exciting and risky proposition for any company. On one hand, data shows that approximately 40% of new product launches fail (McKinsey). But those that are successful can invigorate sales and fuel unparalleled business growth.
For many companies, developing an effective product launch strategy can feel especially intimidating. Why? Because the stakes are often high when launching a new product – and so are the expectations for results. Follow these six key principles to help you get started on the path to a winning product launch strategy.
Principle #1: Think of it as a process – not an event
Some companies become so focused on developing the product that they overlook the need for a holistic launch strategy. They often think of a product launch as a marketing activity tied to the big reveal.
A product launch is more than just that “big bang” moment when your product is introduced to the world. It’s an orchestrated process with many players and requirements. And that process involves extensive research, testing, monitoring and optimization. Don’t wait until after your product is developed to start thinking about a launch strategy. Allocate the necessary time and resources early in the process.
Principle #2: Do your homework
Market research is an essential part of any effective product launch. In fact, a study from McKinsey showed that market research was one of the top factors contributing to a successful product launch. So, before you develop your launch plan, know the answers to these key questions:
- Who is the target audience for your product?
- How does your product address their key needs and pain points?
- How does your product compare to competitors in the market?
- What key insights did you learn from customers during beta testing?
Principle #3: Know your target audience
Creating buyer personas is a great way to turn your market research into a practical marketing tool. Buyer personas are especially helpful for a product launch because they provide a snapshot of who your target audience is and what’s important to them. They typically include demographic and behavioral characteristics, primary goals, key pain points and marketing preferences.
This snapshot can be a valuable resource to help drive product messaging, positioning, and promotion strategy. Buyer personas can really help you to identify the right message for the right audience. They can also help you avoid communicating a value proposition that’s too broad to an audience that’s too diverse.
Principle #4: Nail your value proposition and messaging
Successful product launches have a compelling value proposition combined with messaging that resonates with buyers. Prospective buyers should immediately grasp how the product benefits them, and why it’s unique or better than other options available. If it’s not clear what value your product or service will provide to customers, that’s a red flag. You’ll want to stop and revisit your market research, consider additional beta testing, or even re-think your product idea.
It’s also important to incorporate your company’s core values into your product positioning. This helps to drive consistency from a brand perspective, and it will foster a sense of trust with your audience.
Principle #5: Conduct a soft launch
If you don’t launch new products very often, you may want to consider testing the waters with a soft launch. The goal of a soft launch is to learn as much as you can about how your product will be received by your target audience. If the initial reaction doesn’t align with your expectations, a soft launch gives you the opportunity to address challenges and make course corrections along the way.
The insights you gain from a soft launch can help you learn from mistakes and optimize your marketing approach (tweak messaging, update creative, etc.). Then you can maximize impact – and avoid pitfalls – when all eyes are on your new product.
Principle #6: Don’t forget about internal audiences
Employees play a critical role in the success of any product launch. Leverage them as ambassadors for your new product with a purposeful internal launch plan. Your objectives should be to generate internal excitement, help employees understand how they can support the launch, and keep everyone informed about the latest product developments and activities.
Your sales team should also have a clear understanding of your product goals and marketing objectives. They’ll need to know what their responsibilities are during the product launch, plus have access to robust training and sales tools. Finally, they will need to understand who to contact for product support or questions, and how to report and resolve problems or technical issues.
Here at GrowthMode Marketing, we can help you build a product launch strategy designed to achieve your objectives and grow your business. Contact us today to learn more.