Every company wants to see its product release go as smoothly as possible, but failure remains a very real risk. Only 11% of organizations report that all their products meet 100% of their launch targets.
A project launch is a very complex yet delicate operation. Even one missed step during a product launch can lead to a domino effect with disastrous consequences.
A comprehensive product launch plan can mean the difference between success and failure. Here’s how to plan effectively so your next product launch is a success.
Planning your product launch strategy
Having a well-planned product launch strategy is vital for a smooth, stress-free launch. Some experts recommend starting your product launch plan at least 4-6 months before your expected launch date. But, before you can detail the steps of your launch plan, you need to outline your launch strategy.
Your product launch strategy should answer the following questions:
- Who is your target audience for the new product?
- Within your target audience, who are likely to be early adopters?
- How will you access them? (I.e., social media, email campaigns, etc.)
- How will you measure whether or not the launch was a success?
Your strategic product launch plan may also include how you’re going to ensure your new product is right for the market and ready to be released. This plan may include simulating the launch or having a beta launch as well as creating and managing a risk register of what might go wrong and how you and your team will respond.
Product launch steps
To make an actionable product launch plan, you need to break it down into clear steps of tasks, prioritize these actions, and assign them to the correct team members.
Your launch plan should account for everything and everyone that needs to be involved with the launch. This includes all activities related to the launch, from marketing to user training and support.
Typically, a product launch plan can be broken up into three main parts:
The steps included in your product launch plan will vary depending on your product, industry, target market, and more. However, some common product launch steps include are:
- Set a date and time for the launch and communicate it to stakeholders
- Design how the product will be packaged and presented to the market
- Price the product
- Create a creative brief that outlines the product’s vision, functionality, and value
- Create marketing content and launch your promotion campaign
- Complete all product documentation, including FAQs and user guides
- Conduct internal training for customer support and troubleshooting
- Update the sales team on product selling points and value.
- Test the product functionality and resolve/ debug any issues before launch
- Have a final go/no-go meeting to approve the launch
- Launch/distribute/release the product
- Release any launch day marketing materials, promotions, demos, etc.
- Staff your sales and customer service teams to meet expected demand from the launch
- Capture data on how the launch is going (i.e., number of inquiries, number of sales, number of returns, etc.)
- Monitor customer issues and track and resolve user-identified bugs
- Capture lessons learned and how to improve the next product launch
- Solicit user feedback and testimonials to use for future promotion
- Compare your metrics to your goals to assess how the launch went
- Retarget potential customers who showed interest but didn’t convert
5 effective product launch tips
Here are five product launch tips to ensure your next product launch goes off without a hitch:
- Break your launch into phases. A launch requires a lot of steps. By breaking it down into phases, it can appear more manageable and less overwhelming to your team.
- Get your team on the same page. With a real-time, collaborative workspace, everyone can see what their teammates are doing and can easily align efforts for improved communication, greater efficiency, and, ultimately, a growing business.
- Use visuals to manage resources and dependencies. Gantt charts are a great way to ensure there are no resource conflicts and to manage dependencies, so nothing is delayed or missed. Dashboards can also help you quickly monitor and assess overall progress.
- Streamline communication. Product launches involve a lot of discussion and teamwork between a variety of departments. Use software to keep communications in one channel, so nothing is missed, and there is a record of decisions and conversations.
- Make accountability clear. To help everyone know what is expected of them, make sure product launch steps are clearly defined and assigned to the right people. Each task should include what is required, what deliverables are expected, and when the work should be completed. Then, assign the responsible or accountable person to the task and @mention those who need to be consulted.
Using the Wrike product launch template
Wrike has created a product launch template that breaks down the launch into three phases: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. This structure allows you to plan more effectively for each phase of the release, quickly group tasks together, and make sure your project launch strategy is complete.
The launch template also includes a preconfigured dashboard that enables you to see which tasks are in progress, completed, not started, on hold, or canceled.
This product launch template is designed to help you get up and running quickly, and ensure you don’t miss any key launch steps. You can use it as your reference for managing your next product launch from end-to-end with Wrike.
To see how Wrike can also help streamline your communication, boost collaboration, and improve resource utilization, sign up for a free trial today.