Product Launch Best Practices for Go-to-Market Success
Successful product launches are one of the most important contributions a marketing team can make on behalf of their organization. Product launches are a dynamic, exciting opportunity for marketers to shine––but they are also a highly collaborative and risky endeavor with multiple moving parts, any of which can go sideways.
Thankfully, there are ways to minimize uncertainty and make your next product launch a success. Aventi Group President and Co-Founder Jeff Thompson sat down with Helen Dwight, Global VP and Head of Marketing Intelligent Enterprise and Industries at SAP, for an #AventiLive Chat on best practices for go-to-market launches. You can listen to their full conversation at the end of this post or read on for some of their key suggestions.
Messaging, Messaging, Messaging
The first thing you want to do when planning a product launch is to define exactly what it is you’re launching––and to whom. You can broaden your target segment as you go along, but make sure your messaging covers that specific group first. What are their needs, wants, and pain points, and how does your product address them?
Once you’ve determined your audience and answered these key questions, craft a message that will make your story relevant and compelling to that group. Don’t go into too much detail, however––your messaging should be simple as well as memorable. Can you describe your product concisely, or does it require you to memorize a long list of adjectives? If you can’t remember your pitch, chances are your customer won’t, either.
Endorsements are Key
In order to hone your messaging, talk to the early customers that have been working with your product development team. Their endorsements will give you proof to back up your value proposition, and they will give you plenty of unique, funny, or even newsworthy stories to make your product stand out from the rest.
As an example, Helen Dwight mentioned an early analytics customer that used SAP software to track bear attacks in British Columbia. This use case was a clear departure from other early customers, so it was a great example that was guaranteed to make potential customers remember their product.
Make a Plan B (and C, and D…)
It’s also important to realize that even in the best case scenario, things won’t always go as planned. Your key spokesperson or customer can’t make it; there are technical difficulties (which are becoming more and more likely in the current day and age); the venue will cancel or change, and so on. So always play out as many possible scenarios as you can, and always have a plan B––or even a plan C, D, etc.
For example, many organizations are now going totally virtual with their launches, or providing a hybrid backup plan just in case. While virtual launches can present a whole separate set of issues––did someone say technical difficulties?––it’s smart to have at least one set of variables accounted for beforehand. (For more on planning a successful virtual event, read this earlier Aventi Group blog post.)
Start with a Small Team
Having the right team of people around you makes all the difference in planning and implementing a successful product launch. You’re going to be working under a lot of pressure, so collaboration and communication are key.
One good strategy is to start small. Choose a core set of people that need to know, then reinforce the roles, responsibilities, and timeline with them. Be sure to keep all of your stakeholders informed of the plan to avoid any surprises down the road, but expand the active team slowly and strategically by bringing others on board at the right point in time.
The Big Day
In terms of actual execution, even the best-planned product launches depend on one key thing: having the product easily available to customers. So as the big day approaches, make sure all the key logistical pieces are in place for your launch. Is your content ready? Do you have enough inventory for your event? Have your sales and customer service teams been trained on the new product, how it benefits customers, and how to use it?
While you’re checking on those final essential details, build anticipation by running launch announcements via social media, email lists, press releases, etc. Use all of the platforms available to you to get that carefully crafted message in front of your potential audiences’ eyes and drive sales.
Focus on the Basics
Product launches can be unpredictable, tricky, and time-consuming to plan. But a successful product launch can also be the key to putting your new or updated product on the map. As Helen Dwight reminds us, make sure you lock in the basics first.
Product Launch Essentials:
- A differentiated, compelling messaging
- As many early customer endorsements as you can get
- The right set of people and skills around you
- A backup plan––or two
Once you have those key pieces figured out, you can get creative with your offering––can you schedule the launch at a venue in your main competitor’s hometown, for example? Or find a conference that’s focused on the exact need your product is addressing? Because remember: product launches are supposed to be dynamic and exciting, both for the attendees as well as the team putting them on. So get your plan locked in, buckle in, and enjoy the ride.
Get more details on product launch best practices by downloading this free eBook. You can also check out the #AventiLive Chat below. We hope you enjoy it.