Launching a new product is a big day for your business. It doesn’t matter what the product is: a financial tool, software, an online service or a physical product, it’s taken a lot of investment and market research for you to get your new product development right, and now you have to launch it on a waiting world, and hope that you recoup your investment.
If you don’t launch it successfully you risk losing the resources you invested, as well as the reputation you’ve already accrued by creating great products that meet your customers’ needs. The perception of success is as important as solid products, and the perception of failure is as damaging as the real thing. A great product with a poor launch that doesn’t enjoy its hour in the sun is as much a millstone round your neck as a poorly designed non-functional product.
The first step is to make sure you have a clear launch window. If you and a rival try and launch similar new products at the same time you’ll reduce the opportunity both of you have to make a profit off the early buzz around your products. Just look at the summer movie release schedule, as different blockbusters jostle for a position that gives each one a free shot at the box office.
Market research companies, as well as helping you understand your market, can also help you understand and predict your rivals, and working with one to help set a schedule is a vital step. This helps you ensure your product gets a chance to generate the maximum buzz, and doesn’t force your customers to choose between you and a rival, or get confused between two overlapping marketing campaigns.
With a date set, you need to plan your marketing push. A new product can be the best in the world, but unless the right people actually find out about it, it won’t do you any good. You need to prepare a marketing campaign that doesn’t just say you have a new product launching but emphasises the unique things about it that will appeal to your specific customers. Once again, you need data here: your own instincts, or mere anecdotal evidence don’t go far enough. Learning what they’re looking for and ensuring those qualities are front and centre in your marketing will ensure your product has the best chance to launch successfully and acquire the following it deserves.