Imagine you’re going to be launching a new product or service and now your brain is starting to spin. There’s so much to do in so little time! How are you going to build, launch, and get people to actually use it? Take a deep breath…
With proper planning and a step by step guide, you can ensure your product launch goes as smoothly as possible. In this article we will take the daunting task of successfully launching a new product and break it down into a series of actionable steps you can take to ensure the launch is nothing short of a success.
Before you start planning your product launch, there are four key factors for success.
Let’s dive into the first and arguably most important step: the vision and strategy. A product vision serves as the guiding light for your product. Your product vision statement should be forward thinking and describes what you ultimately want the product to become in two to three years. On the other hand, the strategy is the blueprint for how you will achieve that vision and includes details around the roadmap and milestones that will get you there.
The next step includes the details of what is included and when. There are several questions you can start to ask yourself when beginning to mentally outline all the pieces you need to consider from the start.
This may seem like an obvious question, but nonetheless it’s important. Having a clear description of the product or service you are providing is essential. What does the lay of the land look like? How does this product stack up next to your competitors? How is it different?
Begin by outlining who you’re actually building this product or service for. Define who the target market is — get specific on the demographic. What are their personas? List out anyone that is excluded and why. Outlining these details now will help you later on create your positioning statement.
List out a description of the product or service including the value proposition for users. What do they gain from using this product or service? How will it make their job or life better? Calling out who it isn’t for or what it doesn’t do is an important part of setting expectations for users of your product.
Your go-to-market (GTM) plan answers a few big questions. How will you position this product in the market? How are you going to train internal teams? How will you educate, advertise, and bring the product to market for customers? What is your rollout plan?
Now, you’ve identified who the product is for and how it works. You can take that information and craft a positioning statement. A positioning statement includes a brief description of the product and value, who it’s for, and how it fills a market need. If you are lucky enough to have support from product marketing, this would be a great time to start to connect with them on developing a strong positioning statement.
Properly training and educating internal support teams is critical to the success or failure of your launch. In this phase you want to make sure that internal teams like customer support, customer success, and sales are in the know early and understand how the product works. Providing training and any materials to reference will help internal teams ramp up and be able to support your product and the customers using it.
How will you market your product to customers? It’s in this phase that creating your product positioning is key. You also need to determine how customers will become aware of its existence.
Some ideas you can consider are:
How you plan to introduce this offering to the market is key! Start with the end in mind. When and where do you want to be at the end of your launch?
When I’m planning a rollout, data plays a huge role. Using data can help you identify how many people will benefit from the product based on the use cases and demographics you laid out.
Now all the pieces are falling into place. You know what you’re building, how you’re bringing it to market, and all the steps in between. It’s time to figure out one of the most important pieces — instrumentation.
You should consider what quantitative (aka data) and qualitative metrics you want to track. Determine your “north star” metric and any additional ones you or your engineering team will monitor.
I recommend outlining these metrics up front to ensure that if there are any gaps in data you have time before launch to revise your metrics.
Some examples of quantitative metrics you may want to consider include:
For qualitative metrics ensure that your customers have a means to relay feedback to you. This could look like adding a “feedback” button within the product, conducting a survey with customers, or establishing a space internally for client support and sales to relay feedback they are hearing from clients (if a B2B product).
To help keep your sanity, I recommend using a product launch checklist. This checklist helps you remember all the steps we went over above so you don’t accidentally skip anything. Feel free to expand or remove any sections that may not apply for your specific launch:
Need more help or something a little different to use? Based on your budget, timing and needs, there are a large number of tools out in the market that can help you with a product launch template.
Products like Asana and Monday.com offer a streamlined approach to managing your checklist through collaboration with other key launch members. Tools like these allow you to hold people across the organization accountable for help through assigning them tasks and due dates.
Phew, that’s a lot to consider when launching a product. Don’t sweat it though. This is all totally achievable with proper time and preparation. Use the template provided and steps listed above as a guide to your next launch.
As a best practice, I really recommend a few key things — start prepping as early as possible, frequently communicate with stakeholders and cross functional teams especially if anything comes up that changes the product or launch times, and start informing customers early of the product so that you can start to generate excitement and anticipation from the start.
Featured image source: IconScout
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