After all of the time and money you spent on the development of a new product, don’t leave the marketing launch up to chance. Start with a detailed marketing product launch plan.
Components of a launch plan
The major components of your plan should include objectives, budget, schedule, and metrics. During this phase, you will identify all of the activities and costs associated with launching the product. Depending on your objectives, market size, competition and the product’s and company’s market position, a successful product launch may take a sustained effort that can last more than a year. Be prepared for the long haul.
1. Set clear objectives
Evaluating the success of your product launch requires identifying the objectives. Your objectives should have a sales target. Beyond that you might focus on these areas:
- Growth – number of new customers or growth in market share.
- Conversions – number of customers that switched from a competitive product to yours
- Migration – number of customers that successfully moved to the next generation product
Identifying target dates to reach each of these objectives is also a must for evaluation of the performance of your launch activities.
2. Launch budget
Now you know what you want to achieve, the next step is to determine how much it will cost to get there. Your marketing budget may be determined based on the percentage of projected sales, projected company revenue, or the cost of marketing activities.
3. Create a marketing activities schedule
Identify all the activities and materials needed for launch and set a due date for each. The marketing activities you choose will depend on your market, type of customer, and your budget. Work back from launch date for materials needed for launch, but don’t forget to also look forward and plan sustaining activities. Sustaining activities can take you well into the future, a year or more. For each activity, you need to think about how to reach your customer and prospects.
4. KPI dashboards
Create a dashboard with metrics you need to evaluate the performance of launch activities. Plan to deliver this dashboard to stakeholders on a regular basis and provide proactive solutions where performance is lagging. Taking the time to create and keep this dashboard up to date will pay off now by alerting you to underperforming activities and help you in future product launches.
Working these four steps can set your product launch up for success and give you a methodology to apply to future product launches. Evaluating this process and the activities is crucial in learning what worked and what didn’t, so you do more of worked and less of what didn’t.