You should realize that every important event merits some form of planning, and events as important as a new product launch needs you to meticulously detail strategic planning and a risk mitigation management process that ensures its success.
Planning out every stage and facet of your launch ensures that your brand entrenches its new line of products well into its market. So, what sort of planning is best?
Note that I’ve written before about how to market a brand new product and explained why its crucial that you should already have your marketing goals nailed down early on. This should happen well before your product is implemented and your launch is planned.
Marketing is all about identifying your niche or customer segment then targeting product features which customers will want. It therefore informs your product design as well as the various activities when launching/advertising later on.
Educating Stakeholders: Your First Step in the New Product Launch Plan
Your first concern on how to launch a new product is typically where to begin. There are many generic answers, but the real place you have to begin is educating key stakeholders about your new product’s benefits. Without support, the launch will inevitably fail however grand and intricate the plan initially was.
Your new product launch plan does not technically include the phase where the business corresponds with critical players that hold an interest in it. But it remains an integral foundation-building first step. No matter which strategic planning models you are using, communication is going to be an essential part of any plan. In fact, having a well-defined communication plan devised incorporation with stakeholders is often highly recommended.
The steps on how to launch a new product might not begin with the act of maintaining strong relationships with your stakeholders, but the possibility of a launch is only possible through that. On top of this, balancing the many interests of your multiple stakeholders is crucial.
Putting it bluntly: Your new product launch plan is doomed to fail without stakeholder support.
Going Through the Stages of the New Product Launch
After establishing good relations and gaining the support of your stakeholders, what is your next step? Different businesses entail varied stages for launching something new, but they follow a similar pattern that usually ends with, or at least incorporates, product launch marketing and perhaps a product launch press release campaign.
It is worthwhile reviewing your own strategic documents and/or business model design canvas to ensure that the goals of your product launch are in line with development strategies and your overall business model.
Before you get to the product launch marketing stage however, you need to go through the following:
- Diagnosis. Your diagnostic process entails market analysis analyzing your products impact and its potential performance. Here is where your information gathering and communication between departments is critical and must be objective. Your quality control & assurance plan should already have identified known issues and possible bottlenecks with your product.
- Strategy planning. Planning the actual strategy comes after getting an overview of your market landscape. Using information obtained from the diagnostic stage, your overall strategy should be able to deal with contingencies and emergencies.
- Creative thinking. Creative planning is not a separate stage, but something incorporated within your strategy planning and the next stage (i.e. implementation). Nevertheless, it is quite important. Through creative planning and thinking your strategy can take into account the human factors that pervade the business and its market.
- Implementation. The launch implementation is a heavy element on your product launch press release campaigns and other similar awareness-building activities. In marketese, it is often referred to as building hype, which in the long run should still be aligned to your never-ending branding effort of any respectable business.
- Evaluation. Evaluating how a product launch went focuses on the good and the bad, the what could have been and the what is. Again, like the first stage of the new product launch strategy, this last stage is objective, intent on identifying your focus areas where benefits can be garnered or improvements can be made by your team.
Product Launch Checklist: A Final Touch
If you think you have cooked up an effective new product launch strategy, then it is time you put it to a small test.
Build a checklist of self-assessing questions and cross reference it with your overall plan. The questions correspond to your main goals; if your overall strategy fails to answer some of them in a positive light, then some tweaking by you might be in order. Likewise, if total quality management control is fundamental to the product success (e.g. in online betting systems) then your checklist should focus on extensive testing stages.
You’ll find this sort of product launch checklist will differ from one brand to another, dependent on the product, business, goals, and metrics. However, here is a handy overview checklist that can help guide you with what sort of items to put in yours:
- Does your plan have enough support? Going back to the first steps even before strategy planning, ensure that you have enough support and backing from your stakeholders.
- Does your strategy present the most cost-efficient means to your business and launch goal? An obvious checklist item, but the key term here is cost-efficient.
- Does your strategy present the best timeline for such a launch? The timeliness of your launch is just as important as the timeline, by the way.
- Does your strategy play out well for the new products target demographic? The success of a new product is heavily dependent on how well its target audience receives it.
- Does your strategy present the new products main hook or core offer in a way that makes it viably marketable? Virtually all products in our modern society perform a function that something else (or a combination of other things) can perform poorly in comparison. The important factor here is to make the bottom-line of your product viably marketable.
Remember: These activities should have sub-items dependent on your particular new product launch circumstances. Make sure your strategy can answer your checklist and that you can properly implement what you planned, and you can be sure to reap the rewards of what you sow.