How To Create a Product Launch Plan Road Map
One of the biggest undertakings a company can make when promoting a new product is the product launch and the plan itself. Without a solid product launch plan, there is a high risk of the execution going south with dismal results or not taking off at all.
A product launch plan entails impeccable scheduling. Every step toward the event’s preparation, execution, and follow-up need to be organized with great attention to detail. The end result of the launch itself doesn’t end on a high note on its own merit. The post-launch gestation is just as important to the campaign’s success.
Your company has already spent exponential time and energy developing a product worthy of a significant launch, so there’s no excuse to diminish the quality of your work with a poorly executed launch.
The result can be detrimental to the brand in that audiences become confused about the product’s purpose, or maybe they don’t regard the product at all.
Nor does planning for the launch happen overnight. It’s a process that can take months to perfect. This is because the timing of the launch and the quality of the product need to be synonymous for a smooth transition into the sales market.
Additionally, everyone in and out of your company’s circle should be aware of the product and its purpose before and after the launch. That means your company and partners, employees and the target customers should be preempted in order to generate positive buzz through alignment.
Three Types of Product Launches
Once everyone is on the same page, it’s time to decide which type of launch your company is ready for. There are three different kinds of launches depending on where the company is at in the planning process.
The Soft Launch
If a product launch were the 4th of July, the soft launch would be sparklers, not fireworks. This launch is appropriate for products being sold from one company to another when audiences need more time to process changes in those products.
The minimal launch is suitable for smaller products worthy of attention without allocating more money than necessary to the launch.
This is the finale of the fireworks show. By this time, target audiences need to know about your product because it’s offering something amazing and fresh. In this case, more time and monetary value are required.
Unfortunately, in some cases, not all launches are created equal, and some will occasionally fail. The primary factor in a launch’s downfall is preparation. Oftentimes in business, entrepreneurs or managers run wild with an idea before considering how to make it profitable.
A new product may have the innovative spark audiences want, but the rush to get it to market crashes and burns. Studies show that the majority of consumer-packaged and retail products fall flat on their ROI within the first year.
Only about 25 percent of retailers successfully turn a profit. Had those former companies studied the market research, they would’ve understood American consumers are loyal to previously favored brands.
Four Factors that Can Ruin a Product Launch
Only three percent of new packaged goods exceed the standard goal of $50 million their first year. And yet, even those products may founder if the launch plan doesn’t exceed the first-year mark.
So, why are so many companies failing to support their own progress?
The Rusted Star
Don’t snuff out a star before it’s ready to shine. Too often, companies think an idea is so great it doesn’t need time to develop. Inevitably, the faster they will try to get a product to market, the quicker it’s rejected by audiences. Audiences reject the unfamiliar and need time to acclimate to new ideas.
Even when the product is on par with current trends, nurture your product and allow space for the audience to try it out.
As we should know by now, trends die out, which is why leveraging alongside them can prove a mistake.
The Growth Conundrum
If, in a wonderful twist of fate, the timing is perfect and your product is a smash hit right away, make sure your company can support immediate growth. When demand for a new product is higher than the company can keep up with, production is outsourced.
The result is usually a lesser quality product that makes audiences feel cheated.
The Education Disconnection
Imagine the year is 2006, and your parents want you to teach them T9 on their Motorola Razr. It feels a lot like that, but with millions of dollars at stake.
The education disconnect means your product is in a new category all its own, and the concept is hard to grasp. When consumers are confused, your ROI will look confusing.
The Market Mark-It
When it comes to having an amazing new product that could revolutionize an industry, have questions prepared for that product. Once you’ve answered them, check the boxes and move forward.
You need to know who you’re marketing toward and why they will buy this product before you launch it. The more you know your audience, the less likely a product is going to feel foreign to them. Keep your marketing targeted, tight and simple to eliminate possible misconceptions and make research trustworthy.
In any process during a product launch, there are going to be risks. We know that timing and people are two key areas to concentrate on. Testing is often overlooked and similarly requires a sufficient budget, but the goal here is to have a consistent message that resonates with customers. It’s exciting preparing to launch a product, which is why it’s important not to get ahead of ourselves. Stay focused on the phases of launching your product.
Phases of a Product LaunchM
To Be or Not to Be
We know that 70 percent of product launches bite the dust, which is how you separate your brand from failure. Learn from past mistakes and choose to disseminate a product that is necessary or wanted.
The way you launch a new product is going to have a major impact on your company because customers are going to develop a relationship with you during this time. It’s a moment to ask yourself if you want to risk it all for right now or make a stable investment for the future.
A great example of a successful product launch is one developed by Nütrl Vodka Soda, whose team realized their target audience was struggling to grasp how simple their ingredient list is. They decided to do the research and realized 45 percent of people spend an hour or more online, which made a better online presence a great channel to disseminate awareness, build trust and increase sales.
Switch Your Positions
What’s great about positioning a new product is that there are so many opportunities to get it right. You get to ask yourself how this product is going to solve the audience’s problem and how it compares to other products.
Answering these questions continues to add support to your platform and give you better leverage against the competition. The more value you add, the more people will want to know about you, and therein lies your chance to position for success.
Sustain the Game
Planning a successful launch is definitely not the time to tighten your purse strings, but you don’t want to go over the limit either. Budgeting for the right guest list and amount of online clout can help your investment roll over.
Always allot an amount for marketing or other designated metrics to raise awareness of the event.
Actions Have Consequences
Actionable decisions are going to make a splash for your launch. There’s a lot that goes into promotion, so keep an aligned, daily log of what needs to happen. A log also acts as a blueprint for how the event should be progressing.
It can also help foreshadow potential riffs in the future, giving you a head start toward solving the problem.
Having an actionable plan takes the grunt work out of planning because everyone is on board and on the same page with reaching a similar goal. In addition, it provides more time and availability for the audience and concentrates on their needs.
Regularly reacquainting your team with the personas of target buyers significantly alters the way your brand can pivot when necessary. During the preparation for the product launch, contribute to cross-functional alignment by getting to know your audience again.
Among other positives, you’ll have a reinvigorated sense of where to allocate primary focus in your campaigns and how to discuss the product, such as what problem it is meant to fix.
The Y Behind U
During a product launch, it’s good form to remind the team why their hard work has been so important. You’re celebrating an idea that has a purpose, but a launch isn’t the time to lose steam.
There’s no time or budget for that, which is why every resource has to be directed to the strategies with the most impact.
How Harper+Scott Can Help
Harper+Scott helps brands establish their voice in an increasingly saturated marketplace, and give them unique identities that accentuate their strengths and values. We can support product launches via influencer mailers, branded merchandise, POP and POS displays, and more. Our creative and design capabilities are trusted by hundreds of brands for their effectiveness and ability to create brand awareness.
The future is bright, and Harper+Scott is ready to help you get there. Contact us today to learn how we can help launch your product.