A product launch is a very critical activity for any company. It can make or break the product in which a lot of investment has already been made. Thus, it is important to ensure that the launch is delivered well and caters to its target market. It needs to leave a mark and create a buzz. This is why a product launch requires a lot of planning and often needs a team of competent people with creative ideas and the means to implement these ideas.
Launching a product successfully relies on a proven framework that lets you measure your goals and success. In marketing there’s what we call the 4 Ps, which lists the elements that need to be identified, communicated and agreed upon to be able to successfully bring a product to the market. In launching that product, you have another set of 4 Ps to focus on—product, people, plan and post-implementation.
The product being ready is the most critical prerequisite to a product launch. This means that the product should have passed quality assurances tests and should have a reliable supply chain which can support the demand. For quality testing, you can conduct alpha and beta testing if you can afford to do so, as this will allow you to see how the market responds to the product before mass production. For instance, your alpha and beta testing can reveal that your customers do not like the packaging of your product and that can affect their buying behaviour. With this information, you can make necessary adjustments before the product is launched onto the market.
If the product launch is to be managed in-house, you’ll need a project manager to oversee the execution from start to finish. The project manager will be in charge of enlisting the help of people from different departments, identifying measures for success and creating a timeline and task lists. You can have a representative from product development, financial analysis, product supply, customer marketing knowledge and more. Having each of them in the team will allow you to identify any potential issues early on and will prevent you from losing a lot of money in the process. If you don’t have enough members of staff to facilitate your product launch, you can outsource some or most of the work to a professional planner. Good communication is essential to this part of your product launch.
A product launch can take from 3 to 6 months of planning. You’ll need to plan your strategy, product readiness checks, training and resources to deliver each of these elements. Bear in mind that while you can set a timeline for your plan, you should have a certain level of flexibility to make room for any events outside your control that could affect this timeline.
When you plan your launch, you’ll have to identify the marketing tools you will use to create a buzz for your product. Will you be extensively using social media networks to promote your product? Will you create TV ads, billboards or any strategy which will make the people anticipate your product? If you are holding a major launch event, how will you entice people to go? Who are the key personalities that you will invite and how are you going to invite them?
Make sure that you leave enough time to create awareness of your product before your actual launch. Many companies put teasers on social media platforms or as website adverts to pique people’s curiosity about their products so that by the time the products are officially launched, many people have already heard of them.
Once you have launched your product, it will be ideal to gauge the success of your launch based on the measures you have set at the start. Did the product launch translate to higher sales? Was the product supply able to meet the demand for the product? Were there a lot of out-of-stock incidents? A post-implementation check can help you properly assess how well your strategies worked and what improvements you can make on future product launches.
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