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Introducing a new product is one of the trickiest things a marketer will do.  New products have a poor success rate. Only about one in five survives longer than a year, and new product launches are six times more expensive than line extension launches. The result: As many as 95% of new products introduced each year fail, resulting in massive losses

Some of the common reasons for product failure are a a result of incomplete homework about the demand, market potential, clarity around the target market.  Understanding the market, opportunity, and creating the demand fall within Marketing’s domain.  Once you have this information, the important step in successfully bringing a product to market is your launch plan.  A successful launch is about generating sales velocity.

Give Your New Product a Fighting Chance

Give Your New Product a Fighting Chance

How do you know if your product launch stands a chance at success? Use these seven guidelines to successfully pull off a new product launch. 

  1. Establish success measures for the product launch: It is important to have clear idea of how you will measure the success of the launch. Here are two metrics we recommend.  If you’re initial plan is to market your new product to existing customer, then establish a specific target rate of adoption of the product by a specific set of existing customers. If you’re initial plan is to market your new product to new customers, then a rate of adoption by this group or  some specific number of new customers who trial the product might be appropriate metrics.  The key is to establish how success will be measured as early as possible, preferably as part of the business case for developing the product.
  2. Formulate a launch strategy: When we are working with companies who are launching a new product we ask them to share their strategy. Typically what we receive is a launch checklist and a list of activities, such as new content on the website, a press release, etc. A list is not a strategy. There are numerous strategies, for example bundling, kingpin, tipping point, and more.
  3. Give the organization time to mobilize: Bringing a major new product to market probably takes more effort than bringing an upgrade or enhancement to an existing product to market. Regardless, in each instance, the organization, whether accounting, customer service, sales, technical support, training, shipping/deployment, all need to be prepared to support the launch and the interest that follows. Create a detailed timeline and associated milestones associated with the launch. Hold an “all hands on deck” meeting to review the strategy, plan, and timeline at least six months prior to the launch.
  4. Train the field: Your sales team needs to be trained about the new product long before the launch.  Training includes more than creating a power point and an email about the new product.  Sure they need to know the features. More importantly the need to know:  
    • what market and customer problems the product solves
    • how it solves these problems better than what’s available today
    • who is most likely to need this solution
    •  where the product fits with your existing portfolio
  5. Build the plan around the customer personas and their buying process and journey: Make launch planning decisions and activities based on what’s important to your target users and buyers and how they buy. If the buyers rely on analysts in the selection process, then analyst meetings need to be part of the launch. If this isn’t a resource for buyers but they rely on members in their channel to help them with buying decisions, then this needs to be a key part of your strategy and tactical plan. Learn more about personas and mapping the customer buying journey.
  6. Inform key stakeholders including existing customer of the plan: All key stakeholders should be informed about the launch, its objectives, strategies, timelines, and how success will be measured.  Your existing customers are among your key stakeholders so be sure to keep them in the loop.
  7. It takes a sponsor and team to launch a product. Generally a single person cannot successfully manage a launch. Create a team, preferably a cross-functional one with representatives from sales, marketing, customer service, product development, manufacturing, training, etc. to own the launch.  If the product is critical to the success of your company then the launch warrants having a member of the executive staff serve as the executive sponsor for the launch.

Invest the time up front and use these guidelines. Launching a product in the absence of these things will hinder yours and the product’s success. If you’re company doesn’t have extensive experience in launching products secure expert help. That’s far less expensive than failure. 

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