Developing a new product is no easy task, but once you have overcome that hurdle, it’s time for the next challenge – an effective product launch. When a product launch succeeds it provides early revenue, a competitive edge and a foundation for future marketing activities. On the other hand, a product may never recover from a failed launch and your entire investment will have been wasted. To ensure that doesn’t happen to your company, take note of these common mistakes you really want to avoid:
- Not planning enough in advance – Although some companies have managed to pull off a product launch in a few weeks, this kind of tight schedule causes stress, miscommunication and poor execution. A properly planned product launch takes about four months, so your company can put all of its ducks in a row, including messaging, positioning, pricing and PR activities.
- Forgetting to plan a sustainable marketing plan – A launch event can be a great start to a marketing campaign, but it cannot hold the momentum if marketing is cut off after the event. Businesses tend to put so much effort into their launch event that they forget that the initial excitement will quickly wane unless they continue to nurture the product and keep it in the public eye.
- Launching before the product is fully ready – Many products can be improved over time (technology products in particular), so businesses are lured into thinking they can launch before the product is ready and just keep working on it. The problem with this thinking is that once customers try the product and are not satisfied they will not return no matter how many times you tell them you have improved it.
- Not investing enough in the launch – Your product may be amazing but that doesn’t mean it will sell itself. Do ROI (return on investment) research to determine how much you should be spending and don’t sell your product short.
- Overestimating results – The average customer needs to be exposed to a product multiple times until he takes action. Don’t assume you only need to reach each potential customer once.
- Convincing customers to buy from the competition – Make sure you have enough products available for purchase at launch time, or your customers will go looking for a similar product. Your marketing should focus on what makes your product unique, so that pricing or availability is not the main factor in your customers’ decision making process.
- Announcing the launch too early – Companies often announce too early because they are excited, think they will be ready for launch earlier than they actually are or are scared the competition will get an edge on them. But if you announce too long before launch time, the excitement and momentum will be lost by the time you actually launch the product.
- Ignoring product reviews – Product reviews can make or break a product. If you wait until there are negative reviews and react to them, it is probably already too late. Instead, you need to work on getting positive reviews that will overshadow the negative ones.
- Not letting your partners in on the launch early enough – Despite the risk of information leaking out, you need to let partners such as press and analysts know what you are up to early in the process. They need enough time to prepare to help you get the word out.
- Forgetting to market internationally – International revenue may be significant for a new product. It’s more cost-effective and efficient to plan marketing materials with the international customer in mind, instead of having to create a second version of them after the product has launched.
A product launch is too important to be embarked on without a lot of forethought. Plan a few months in advance so you have plenty of time to implement all the various parts of the launch including financial investment, cooperation with partners and a sustainable plan which will keep the momentum going for a long time after the initial launch.
You may have experienced other mistakes during your product launch. Feel free to contact us to discuss lessons you have learned!
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.