Product launches are stressful. While success can propel your company to new heights, a botched launch can cripple your business. On top of all that pressure, pulling off the perfect launch is a complicated process, with plenty of room for error. With of new consumer goods considered "highly successful" (i.e., exceeding first-year sales of $50 million), what can you do to ensure that everything goes smoothly on launch day — and beyond?
10 Mistakes That Will Derail Your Product Launch
1. You view your launch as an event, not a process. Launch Day isn’t the end, it’s the middle. In addition to months of product launch planning, the weeks and months following your official launch are critical for sustaining momentum, building even more buzz, and scaling your efforts if things go well and the product takes off.
2. You assume an innovative product is enough. If there's no market or need for your solution, no one is going to spend money on your product no matter how cool you think it is. Conduct product launch analytics before sinking resources into developing a product that won't sell.
3. You don’t know your customer/market well enough. Do you fully understand your customer's pain points? Their buyer’s journey? Do you know the kinds of keywords they search when looking for a product like yours? If you don't, the time to learn is yesterday.
4. You don't involve marketing, sales, and PR far enough in advance. Successful marketing and PR campaigns don’t happen overnight, and if you don’t plan ahead you’ll be left scrambling to maintain or accelerate momentum.
5. You announce too early. Unless you’re Apple and your product launches are shrouded in hype and speculation, announcing a new product too early could lead to waning customer interest as time passes, or give your competition a head start on their response.
6. You make the launch date a hard deadline, even if you’re not ready or your product is buggy. It's far better to delay a product launch (even a hotly-anticipated one) in order to deliver a product that performs at or beyond customer expectations.
7. You don't do a test run with sales. Let one or two of your sales people start selling the product before launch: what feedback and questions are they getting from customers? How are they positioning it? What support do they need in order to sell it?
8. You spend your whole budget on the product, and don’t have sufficient resources left for marketing, PR, and other promotions. If you're counting on word-of-mouth buzz to fuel customer interest and sales, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.
9. You don’t create a story around your launch. Why should people care about your new feature or product? What social or industry narratives relate to your product? Make sure the story is centered around your customers, not you, and include case studies if you can.
10. You don’t create a detailed launch day plan. "Winging it" is not an option. If launch day involves speeches, practice them beforehand in front of a test audience. Create a launch day schedule that covers exactly what needs to happen and when, plus the one person who’s ultimately responsible.
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