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Make Product Launches Great Again

By Adrian Lee | May 09, 2019 | 0 Comments

Product Management

It Doesn’t Sell Itself

Even the most well-designed products can’t sell themselves. It needs help to get to market. It needs an introduction. And it’s time to make product launches great again.

Successful product launches require product managers (PMs) to leverage the insights of product planning and development. PMs must provide products to the market at the right time, through the right sales channels, at the right price, targeting the right customer segment. Success requires support from all stakeholders and the right promotion and messaging to convey the product’s value proposition to potential customers.

So Many Ways to Fail, So Little Time…

The 2019 Gartner Product Manager survey shows that products get to market on time in 55% of all new launches. You heard it right, one of two new tech products are launched late. Even more disturbing, up to 42% of launches that do happen on-time still suffer from product launch failures. In the present epoch of digital product management, product development trends point to increasingly shorter development cycles (via agile methodologies, APIs and linguistic data repositories). A compressed time to launch can, in turn, dramatically increase the points of failure.

While there are plenty of ways to miss the targets set for a new product launch, below are a list of the most common. Product launch failures can include any combination of the following reasons:

  • Lack of formal launch processes
  • Delays in product development
  • Noncompetitive pricing or costing
  • Missed market opportunities
  • Lack of sales enablement or training
  • Failure to meet customer requirements
  • Product quality or supply problems
  • Poor positioning and/or messaging
  • Resources being wasted
  • Creating collateral and sales tools that buyers do not use.

It Doesn’t Matter If It’s Your First or the Nth Product

Whether it’s a startup or experienced product team, EVERY launch is different and must be addressed as such. Product managers need to master and execute the below critical steps in order to ensure success for their launches. Every. Single. Time.

  • Initiate the “launch lead” and team by appointing a launch team leader and mapping out requirements from each participant in a launch schedule.
  • Scope the launch by creating a “baseline” readiness report, cataloging inputs from all functions in the launch team to determine time and scale of launch.
  • Create the launch plan with definitive, measurable goals by utilizing product marketing to produce the marketing collaterals, and promotional plan.
  • Build sales and operational readiness by ensuring sales, support and operational teams are completely trained and have signed off on sales’ start date.
  • Conduct a postlaunch evaluation to learn lessons for future launches by performing a thorough assessment and debrief of launch-related actions.

To learn about product launches and see the new research I’m launching, heads of product teams can read more here.

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