How to Plan a Successful Product Launch

20 September 2022

The way a product is introduced can be just as important as the product itself. You could have the single best product ever to be sold but if it flops on launch it’s quite likely it’ll never see any real commercial success. Luckily, we’re here to help. Here’s how you and your company can make sure your product gets the launch it deserves.

What is a Product Launch?

A “product launch” is the consolidation of a business’s planning and coordination in their effort to bring a product to market in the most profitable way they can. These debuts are usually designed around building anticipation for the product. Whilst a product launch obviously has the benefit of generating revenue for a company, they’re also capable of attracting industry recognition, giving a company momentum, and gathering feedback.  

Types of Launch

Broadly speaking, there are three different types of product launch. The launch you select will most likely be based on product availability and how important customer feedback is to the success of the product launch. If you’re looking for as much feedback as possible prior to your product being widely available, you’ll likely want to conduct a Minimal Viable Product launch (MVP), a barebones style of launch which consists of releasing your product with only its core features and functionality with the intention of allowing your potential customers to get an idea of what the finished product will look like, whilst also giving you the opportunity to collect feedback to support prior testing. 

The second variety of product launch, a Soft or Beta Launch, is when a company releases a preview of a product under a set of defined circumstances, usually to a select number or group of people. Similar to MVP launches, this style is great for producing feedback from your customers and can also be good opportunity to give your product some momentum by encouraging early reviews, as well as giving you time to make any last-minute changes based on feedback.

The third and final type of launch is a Full-Scale Launch. Often referred to as an Official Release, Full-Scale Launches are, as you might expect, when a company makes a product fully available for purchase. This all-or-nothing approach is designed to make a big impact and is usually undertaken with the intention of getting sales moving as soon as possible. A product should only be launched in this way when it’s absolutely ready to go to market, otherwise you could end up risking the company’s reputation and lose out on sales.

How to Prepare

As with all things in business, proper planning is essential to a product launch. Of course, every business is different so there’s no exact blueprint from which you can work when planning your launch. That said, here are some steps that every business should take before debuting their latest innovation:

  • Quality Assurance – If your product is faulty on launch it has the potential to leave a long-lasting negative impression on both the product itself and your company as a whole. Conversely, if the products that your release are consistently of a high quality on launch your company will gain a reputation for your reliability.
  • Training – Make sure both your sales and customer service teams are trained on your newest product. Customer service should know at the very least how to fix most major issues customers might face whilst using your product, whilst sales should be able to inform potential customers as to how your product is better than from your competitors’, as well as what problems it solves. The more informed these two teams are the better
  • Communication – Make sure the entirety of your organisation is informed about your product’s debut. Having a plan is pointless if everyone isn’t on the same page. Consider creating a new product briefing or holding meetings with your individual teams to make sure they’re up to speed on what is expected of them and what will need to be done
  • Predicting Problems – Conduct a launch pre-mortem with your product team to see if you can predict any problems that might hurt your launch and put together a plan of action in case any of these problems come to pass
  • Feedback – If possible, track customer behaviour and feedback throughout your launch. They will be able to report malfunctions in your product that you might not have been able to spot prior to your debut and offer insights as to how to improve your product
  • Customer Journey – Go through the customer journey and make sure that each stage is as smooth as possible. There should be as few steps as possible between your customer hearing about the product and being able to purchase it

Setting a Goal

It’s important to have a goal in mind for your launch. Obviously, you want to make sales, but as we’ve already stated there’s much more to a launch than that. Do you want to build brand awareness as part of your launch? Create additional sales opportunities? Get your product’s name established? You need to ask yourself these questions before your launch goes live. When setting goals, we recommend using the SMART system. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For example, “to achieve a 25% increase in sales within the first three weeks of the launch when compared to the first three weeks of our previous launch.”

How to Promote Your Launch

You can promote a product launch much like any other facet of your business. Pretty much any general marketing strategy will help you get the word out, whether it be a social media campaign, referral programs, or increasing organic visibility through optimised meta descriptions and keywords. However, when it comes to promotions, we’ve found that you’ve got to stand out amongst the competition. You need to let your customers know that you’re not afraid to innovate.

A great way to achieve this is by organising an event. Events are incredibly versatile when it comes to promotions, making them very easy to tailor to your business. When organising such a promotion it’s important to take your company’s scale into account beforehand. You don’t want to be organising a conference with a several-thousand-person capacity when you’ve a customer base of a few hundred. Once you’ve got a scale in mind it’s time to decide on what kind of event you’re trying to put on. If you’re a B2B company who only really only sells to a small number of businesses, a private showcase could be a good option: simply invite all of your most active buyers to a small-scale, intimate venue and talk them though your product. Assuming you have quite a close relationship with these clients, you could even tailor your presentation to their specific needs. Alternatively, say you’re a large scale B2C organisation. You could hold a conference open to the public to showcase your product directly to your most avid customers, as these are people most likely to attend such an event. It is usually a good idea to invite members of the media and influencers to generate authoritative coverage and additional buzz. Such events can also be held virtually, either as a standalone event held online or in combination with a standard event via livestream.

Things to Avoid

Of course, a lot can go wrong when launching a new product, and while we can’t list every possible mistake a company might make during such an undertaking, here’s a few things that you should keep an eye out for when launching your product.

The first is not focusing enough on customer feedback. Of course, you should take internal feedback into account, especially from shareholders and investors, but a company’s success is dependent on its customers. As such, their feedback should be considered as high or even higher a priority than that of said stakeholders. Making this clear to everyone at your company is imperative for creating an effective launch so be prepared to resist any potential pushback on the matter.

On a similar note, not following through on customer feedback is a rather common mistake made by companies during a launch. Treat every piece of feedback your company receives as an opportunity: negative feedback when properly compiled and organised will give you a better idea of what about your product needs fixing prior to your launch, whilst positive feedback can be utilised in advertising material to further promote it.

As we’ve said earlier in this article and in so many of our others, planning is absolutely crucial to business, which is why we’re reinforcing it once again here: avoid poor planning, both in the launch itself and the marketing surrounding it. Far too many businesses still operate under the assumption that they don’t need marketing, and whilst this might be true for some of the largest brands, they will still hold many campaigns, and said campaigns will be planned meticulously.

Finally, avoid making promises you can’t keep. Assuming that you’ve performed thorough and proper testing of your product you should have a good idea of what its capabilities are. As such it’s important to not advertise functionality beyond these capabilities. When promoting your launch, remember to stay grounded so that your innovation can deliver on your customer’s expectations. Generate excitement about a new product, not outrage at unfulfilled promises.  

Whatever the product you’re trying to launch, we at Inconnection are here for you. We’ll use our decades of events expertise to make sure your key customers see just how amazing your latest innovation really is. For help organising the launch of your next product, contact us using the link below.