Companies invest millions of dollars each year developing new products and trying to increase their revenues and profitability. Some of these products succeed but unfortunately most are failures. Product launch activities have a lot to do with the success rate of a new product on the market. A successful launch is based on these four strategies:
Product launch must be planned early. If you start thinking about launch only when you are ready for production, you are starting way too late. Launch strategy must be planned at least 4-5 months prior to launch date, so that you have sufficient time to envision and plan your marketing activities. Plan what information you are going to release and when you are going to announce it, who you want to be talking about you and how you can create a product which people will want to talk about.
Rely on quality
Poor quality is a sure path to failure. Quality should be a priority from the beginning of any new product development project. Pressure to release a product quickly may convince business owners it is a good idea to launch a product despite the fact that it is not completely ready, on the assumption that improvements can be made later on. Unfortunately, if customers try a product and don’t like it they will not try it again and the product is likely to die an untimely death. It’s better to wait until the product is perfect even if it delays production. Keep in mind that even perceived quality could be an issue. Fitbit Force is an example of a perceived quality issue which killed a product. The Fitbit company was forced to recall the Force product following reports of users experiencing skin irritation.
Allow adequate budget
Inadequate funding of marketing activities during launch phase could sink a project fast. Marketing dollars must be part of the project return on investment calculation from the beginning of the project. Map out the budget of your entire business to determine how much you can spend on marketing. Research the best ways to reach your target market so you don’t end up wasting valuable marketing dollars. Once your product succeeds, set aside a portion of the profits for your next product launch.
New product launches almost never attain sales forecasts. Unfortunately, a large number of new product projects would not receive the green light if sales forecasts were more realistic. Sales forecasts for new and innovative products are more likely to be unrealistic since they can’t be based on past performance. To get as close as possible to the actual sales potential, look at the number of consumers in the target market, percentage expected to buy the product, anticipated timing of purchase and patterns of repeat purchases.
What are your best practices for product launch success? Do you have examples to share with us? The Triode team would like to hear your success stories!
At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.