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New Product Launches

Many new products earn a large percentage of their sales and profits much earlier in the product life cycle than company leaders might realize. After an early window of opportunity, new products are often smothered by copycat competitors rushing to market, price pressures and purchasers unable to distinguish the product through all the competitive clutter.

With the correct launch, new and innovative products have great advantages early in their life cycles—competition is light, sales channel enthusiasm is passionate and buyers are energized by the novelty of the product’s promised solutions. In the Internet Age, getting your product to market first is absolutely critical to your sales and profit success.

“9 Product Launch Essentials”

1. Ensure a launch process is in place.

A successful launch is a process, not a special event. Too many companies focus all of their energies on the announcement and maybe a first trade show and then wonder six months later why they missed their sales goals. A successful launch process must include buy-in from all levels of your organization in order to synchronize and integrate company efforts. A Launch Team should be established. A clearly written, comprehensive Launch Action Plan should then spell out individual responsibilities and overall objectives, strategy, time-frames and requirements.

2. Establish objectives and success measurements up front.

You should know where you’re going and how to recognize if you’ve gotten there. In other words: “What does success look like?” Gather and analyze market intelligence, assess your current situation and then determine what you want your launch to accomplish within the market, company and with prospects.

3. Develop a comprehensive “Product Launch Plan”

The Product Launch Plan should address the following components:

  • Define launch objectives
  • Gather intelligence
  • Develop launch strategy, action plan, budget and timeline
  • Craft a supportive PR strategy and plan
  • Effectively position the product
  • Ensure product readiness
  • Guarantee sales channel readiness
  • Create critical marketing and sales tools
  • Track, monitor and report on execution
  • Measure performance

4. Monitor and track execution.

This works better when you assign a launch team and consistently establish ways to easily track progress.

5. Invest upfront in the right positioning.

Do whatever it takes to identify your prospects before engaging in a launch. Make sure your beta version of the product works and goes to the right reviewers. Do your homework and establish the exact message you want to convey to the market. This message will be the banner your new product carries to the world. Invest in the right advertising, collateral materials and sales tools.

6. Have a solid public relations strategy and plan.

You must capture attention by educating opinion leaders and editors. These are the people who will be carrying your flag. Once you’ve won them over, you gain credibility and acceptance from the marketplace.

7. Ensure channels can effectively sell right out of the blocks.

Your sales channels are equally as important as analysts and editors. It’s critically important to continually educate the sales force about what the product does, not only in terms of features and functions, but in terms of its real business value to customers. You should treat the sales force just as attentively as you would prospects and customers.

8. Involve the company.

Touch everyone within your organization with your zeal for the new product. Educate them, communicate the plans, goals and progress, use the launch as a way to build morale and unify the team through a common cause. Let everyone share the glory of successes along the way. Identify what’s working and what isn’t and share this information throughout your organization. Be flexible, be nimble, and be willing to adjust your plan as results are tabulated. Remember that a launch is a process, not an event.

9. Ramp-up the launch.

There are millions of excuses for why the launch can’t occur in the established time frame. Don’t give in to them. Track and monitor the plan every day. Anticipate bottlenecks and have elimination solutions ready to implement. Hold all contributors accountable. And finally, gain the support of top management so they will eagerly use their influence when complex issues threaten to slow the process.

Need help with a new product launch?
Level Marketing can help!